Consumer Proposal Quebec – Other Options & Stuff You Need to Know
What is a consumer proposal, and is it the best option for me?
Filing a Consumer Proposal in Quebec is a debt repayment option that allows some people to consolidate their debts. It is a legal process between you and your creditors to repay a portion of what you owe, and it is governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. To a large extent, the amount of debt you repay to your creditors is based on your income and what you own.
A Consumer Proposal can only be arranged and administered by a bankruptcy trustee and costs about $1,500 to file. You pay an initial setup fee, and then, if it is accepted by your creditors, you will pay the remaining balance to proceed. In addition to this, the trustee will also retain 20% of your future payments as a fee for administering your Consumer Proposal. To be legally binding, the creditors who hold the majority of your debt must agree to the proposal. Once they do, you repay the agreed amount over a maximum 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 substantially reduce the amount of debt you are required to pay your creditors
- It can be an effective way of consolidating debt in Quebec 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 private. A proposal is a permanent public record included on a searchable database
- It’s more expensive than declaring bankruptcy
- It must be approved by the Court
- Creditors can reject the Consumer Proposal – if they do, you may have to offer them additional funds otherwise your proposal will not proceed
- If you miss more than 2 payments you may need to file for bankruptcy
- Student loans can’t be included if they are less than 7 years old
- Secured debts aren’t included
- Some assets (such as your home, vehicles, or investments) may need to be sold
- The permanent record of your insolvency can put certain professional licenses at risk and may also affect future employment opportunities
There’s Life Beyond Debt for Everyone
“When debts became a problem, I felt very overwhelmed – like I could not see the end of the tunnel. Picking up the phone felt like lifting a 10 pound rock, but they were very cheerful on the other end of the line. I came in, discussed my situation in privacy, and instantly got relief knowing I was in good hands.”
– Delores, 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
Only Pay a Trustee for Consumer Proposal Services
Watch Out for Consultants on Commission
How a Consumer Proposal Can Impact Your Credit
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 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.
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 Quebec at 1-888-527-8999. You can also email or chat with us online right now.
Related Articles of Interest
Some of these resources may also be helpful to you.
Debt Consolidation Options & Alternatives
How a Debt Management Program Works
The Differences Between Consumer Proposals & Bankruptcy
Ensuring Your Interests are Always First
In everything we do, our goal is to always put the interests of consumers first and do what is best for them. Two important ways we pursue this is through transparency and accountability. We are held accountable to the highest and most demanding standards in our industry.
- The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for Quebec
- List of Licensed Bankruptcy Trustees
- Insolvency Terms & What They Mean
- Credit Counselling Society office locations
The Credit Counselling Society provides not for profit credit counselling services in Quebec and is recognized as one of Canada’s leading debt relief services with offices in communities across the country.