How to Find a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (Bankruptcy Trustee) in Canada
A licensed insolvency trustee or bankruptcy trustee (their name was officially changed in 2015) is an individual licensed by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy to administer bankruptcies and consumer proposals. They are required to follow the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the directives issued by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.
If you are looking for a licensed insolvency trustee near you to help figure out your debt problems, there are three good ways to find one that can provide advice on your personal bankruptcy and consumer proposals options. We also offer some additional tips you may want to consider as well.
- One of the best ways to find a trustee is to contact a local non-profit credit counselling service such as ours. There are two benefits in working with non-profit bankruptcy trustees. First, non-profits usually know who the good trustees are. They often have a good sense for who the trustees are that seem to look out for the best interests of their clients. Some non-profits even maintain lists of trustees they are comfortable with, and they remove the names of trustees that they have concerns about. Second, a local non-profit credit counselling organization is probably one of the most objective places to find out about all your debt relief options. They’re not trying to sell you anything, and they’re not paid on commission. So they can actually help you look at all your options and see if insolvency (a consumer proposal or bankruptcy) is your best option or if there is something else that might make sense and won’t leave you with a permanent legal record.
- The Government of Canada maintains a searchable database of all Licensed Insolvency Trustees (Bankruptcy Trustees) in Canada. You can search for a trustee located near you who will talk to you about debt consolidation and other options before filling bankruptcy. If going forward with the bankruptcy process makes sense as your best solution, they will then help you with these proceedings.
- You can also search for “licensed insolvency trustee” or “bankruptcy trustee” in your favorite search engine. Just be mindful that the companies or debt consultants who appear at the top of your search results have likely done the most to promote themselves and push their way to top of these search results. Other trustees, on the other hand, who focus less on sales are possibly further down the list.
What to Watch Out For
In our view, a potentially risky way of finding a trustee for bankruptcy and consumer proposal help is to go to one you are referred to by a for-profit debt relief company (this is especially true if you discover that the company only refers to one trustee). The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, the federal government body that regulates insolvency trustees, has repeatedly warned that some debt relief companies are working with certain trustees to promote setting up consumer proposals in ways that expose consumers to unnecessary risk and needless expense. This government office has clearly stated that setting up consumer proposals in this fashion is not in the consumer’s best interest. In our view, this type of practice is only in the financial interest of those who are promoting this method of debt relief. Because of this risk, our best suggestion is to find out from a local non-profit credit counselling organization which insolvency trustees they would recommend in your area. A trusted credit counsellor will offer a free consultation for you and truly discuss all your options, whether that be to proceed with filing for bankruptcy, a consumer proposal, or looking into other options.