Consumer Proposal Greater Toronto Area (GTA) – Alternatives & Important Things You Need to Know
What is a consumer proposal, and is it the best option for me?
If you are looking to consolidate your debts, one option available is to file a Consumer Proposal in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This is a legal process governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act between yourself and your creditors to pay back a portion of the debt you owe. The amount of debt that you repay is mainly based on your income and what assets 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
There are some clear advantages and disadvantages of filing for a Consumer Proposal. They include the following:
- It can reduce the amount of debt you need to repay your creditors by a considerable amount
- It can be a helpful debt consolidation method in the Greater Toronto Area if:
- You can’t afford to repay all of what you owe
- You have stable income
- You have enough money in your budget to make monthly payments
- It will pause active collection on student loan payments
- Can be a good option if:
- You don’t qualify for a debt consolidation loan
- If you have debts (like high government debt) that can’t be included in a debt management program
- It is one of the last ways to avoid bankruptcy
- 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
There’s a Way Out of Debt with Help
“I had just come to the point where I had given up hope – that there’s no way I could ever repay my debt. A friend of mine suggested I reach out, and I thought I’d get some condescending person on the phone lecture me about money, but my counsellor was the most compassionate, caring person who became sort of my own personal cheerleader.”
– Charis, Actual Client
Beware of the Big Debt Rip-Off
Consumer Proposals have unfortunately become the latest way for an increasing number of debt relief companies and their sales people to take advantage of vulnerable, unsuspecting consumers. Make sure you don’t let this happen to you! Many of these companies are now claiming to offer Consumer Proposals as an effective way to deal with debt. But there’s a problem. In Canada, only a licensed bankruptcy trustee is legally allowed to deal with Consumer Proposals. These debt relief agencies charge thousands of dollars in fees but then refer you to a bankruptcy trustee who then charges his or her own legitimate fees.
How to Keep from Getting Ripped Off
Follow the three suggestions below and begin by talking to an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada (Canada’s national association of not-for-profit credit counselling organizations who never pay their employees commission). If the agency you speak to believes that a Consumer Proposal would truly be one of your best options, they’ll let you know and refer you to a reputable bankruptcy trustee in your area for free.
Speak to a Non-Profit Credit Counsellor
Only Pay a Trustee for Consumer Proposal Services
Be Careful with Commission Based Debt Consultants
How Your Credit Will Be Impacted by a Consumer Proposal
Once you begin making payments on a Consumer Proposal, a note is placed in the public records section of your credit report that states that you have filed a proposal. Anyone who you have given permission to see your credit report can also see the public records section.
Your creditors may also report a “7” rating on any debt included in your proposal. This rating indicates that they are receiving your payments through a third party. In this case, your trustee is the third party. Your monthly payment on your Consumer Proposal is remitted to your creditors once all applicable fees have been paid.
If you are paying secured creditors, like those who hold your car loan, outside of your Consumer Proposal, those creditors will report your payments on those debts separately. Creating and maintaining a realistic budget will make it easier to keep these debts paid up to date.
If you are able to show a good payment pattern on a secured debt while you’re making all of your proposal payments, you’ll be that much further ahead afterwards when you want to re-build your credit.
When you’re experiencing financial difficulty, you may think that bankruptcy is your only option. There are a lot of options to deal with debt in Canada. A Consumer Proposal isn’t the right option for everyone, but it can be a good option for some people. To find out what options might be right for you, call one of our accredited, professional Debt Counsellors today. Our appointments are either in person or over the phone. They don’t cost you anything, are non-judgmental, and are completely confidential.
For more information or to arrange an appointment to speak with one of our Counsellors, contact us in the GTA at 647-776-0485. You can also email or chat with us online right now.
Toronto (GTA) Office: 425 Bloor Street East, Suite 520, Toronto, ON M4W 3R4
Related Articles of Interest
You may find some of these articles to be helpful.
Debt Consolidation Options & Alternatives
Find Out How a Debt Management Program Works
The Differences Between Consumer Proposals & Bankruptcy
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.
- The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for Ontario
- List of Licensed Bankruptcy Trustees
- Glossary of Terms Used in Insolvency
- Credit Counselling Society Ontario office locations
The Credit Counselling Society provides not for profit credit counselling services in the Greater Toronto Area and is recognized as one of Canada’s leading debt relief services with
Our office that serves Greater Toronto Area also offers consumer proposal information in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Clarington, Aurora, Newmarket, Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Halton, Region of Peel, York Region, and Durham Region.