Consumer Proposals in Alberta
Learn how they work plus what to watch out for.

Consumer Proposal Alberta – Alternatives & Important Things You Need to Know

What is a consumer proposal, and is it the best option for me?

One option to consolidate your debts is to file a Consumer Proposal in Alberta. It is a legal process under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act between you and your creditors to repay part of what you owe. The amount you repay is largely based upon your income and what you own.

A Consumer Proposal can only be setup by a bankruptcy trustee and costs around $1,500. You’ll pay an initial setup fee, and if it is accepted by your creditors, you will pay the balance to proceed. In addition, the trustee will keep 20% of your future payments as your Consumer Proposal administration fee. For the proposal to be legally binding, the creditors who own the majority of your debt must agree to the arrangement. If they do, then you will be required to repay the agreed upon amount over a maximum term of 5 years.

Consumer Proposal Advantages and Disadvantages

Consumer Proposals contain certain advantages and disadvantages. These can include the following:

Advantages

  • It can significantly reduce the amount of debt you have to repay your creditors
  • It can be an effective method of debt consolidation in Alberta if:
    • You cannot afford to pay back all the debt you owe
    • You have steady income
    • Your budget has enough money in it for you to make monthly payments
  • Has the potential to be a good option if:
  • Will put active collection of student loan payments on hold
  • It is one of the final ways of avoiding bankruptcy

Disadvantages

  • It’s not a private matter. A Consumer Proposal is filed as a permanent public record and is included on a searchable database
  • It costs more than filing for bankruptcy
  • The Court must approve it
  • Creditors can choose to reject the proposal. If they do, you may need to offer them additional funds to convince them to proceed
  • You might need to sell some of your assets (such as a vehicle, your home, or investments)
  • You may need to file for bankruptcy if you miss more than 2 payments
  • Secured debts cannot be put into a proposal
  • Student loans less than 7 years old can’t be included
  • It can put certain professional licenses at risk, and the permanent record of your insolvency may also affect some future employment opportunities

It’s Okay to Ask for Help with Debt

“Life just happened. My debt got to the point where I started to feel like I was drowning. I didn’t feel like I could fix it on my own, and I wanted to start living my life as an adult without debt. I decided to reach out for help. Feeling relieved, I knew that everything was going to be okay – a lot of work – but okay. I had a plan to pay back my debt and continue doing the things I love to do like yoga and travelling.”

– Yasmine, Actual Client

Beware of the Big Debt Rip-Off

Consumer Proposals have become the latest method for a growing number of for-profit companies and their sales people to take advantage of vulnerable, unsuspecting consumers. Don’t let this happen to you! Many debt relief companies are now claiming to offer Consumer Proposals as an easy way to get out of debt. There’s a problem. Only a licensed bankruptcy trustee is allowed to file paperwork for a Consumer Proposal. The debt relief companies charge thousands in fees only to refer you to a bankruptcy trustee who then charges his or her own fees.

How to Keep from Getting Ripped Off

Follow the tips outlined below, but start by speaking to a member of Credit Counselling Canada (a national association of non-profit credit counselling organizations who don’t work on commission). If a Consumer Proposal is a truly good option for you, one of their agencies will inform you and refer you to a reputable bankruptcy trustee for free.

Talk with a Non-Profit Credit Counsellor

Speak to an accredited, non-profit Credit Counsellor about your financial situation first. They will go over your whole situation with you and take the time to help you explore and understand all your options to resolve your debt problems.

Only Pay a Trustee for Consumer Proposal Services

Never pay money to anyone for Consumer Proposal services except a licensed bankruptcy trustee. By law, they are the only ones allowed to provide these services and receive payment for their services.

Be Careful with Commission Based Debt Consultants

Ask how the person helping you is compensated. Many people who will seek to advise you on your debts work on commission. Make sure the “solution” they are suggesting is in your best interest – not theirs.

How Your Credit Will Be Impacted by a Consumer Proposal

Once you enter into a Consumer Proposal, a special notation is placed on your credit report in the public records section. Anyone who you allow to look at your credit report can see the public records section.

Additionally, it is possible that your creditors will report a “7” rating on any debt included in the proposal. This “7” rating means that creditors are receiving your payments through a third party. In this instance the third party would be your trustee. When you send a payment to your trustee, they distribute the agreed upon dollar amounts to all of your creditors once all applicable fees have been paid.

If you are making payments to secured creditors, like for a car loan, outside of your Consumer Proposal, those creditors will report on those debts separately. Creating and sticking to a realistic budget will make this easier.

If you are able to maintain a good payment history on a secured debt while you’re making your proposal payments, this can help you re-build credit afterwards.

Call Us to Learn More About Filing a Consumer Proposal in Alberta and Possible Alternatives

There are quite a number of options between financial difficulty and bankruptcy. A Consumer Proposal might be one good option for some people, but it’s not the best option for everyone. To find out what other options you have, speak with one of our professionally trained Credit Counsellors today, in person or over the phone. Our appointments are free, non-judgmental, and completely confidential.

To ask us some questions or to make an appointment to speak with a Counsellor, phone us in Alberta at 1-888-527-8999. You can also email or chat with us online right now.

Related Resources

Here are some related topics that may be useful for you.

Debt Consolidation Options & Alternatives

A lot of people are surprised to find out there are more debt consolidation options and alternatives than they knew about. Learn more about these.

How a Debt Management Program Works

Find out how a Debt Management Program consolidates your payments, reduces your interest rates, and gets you out of debt.

The Differences Between Consumer Proposals & Bankruptcy

Learn how Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy are similar and how they are different. Also learn what you need to watch out for.

Putting Your Interests First

Our goal is to always put consumers first and look out for their best interests in everything we do. One way we do this is through transparency and accountability. We are held accountable to the most rigorous standards in our industry.