What is a consumer proposal?A consumer proposal is a debt relief option regulated by the federal government in Canada.
It allows individuals facing financial difficulties to make a formal arrangement with their creditors to repay a portion of their debts over time.
Unlike bankruptcy, consumer proposals offers a more flexible and manageable solution.
Working with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), the debtor proposes a monthly payment plan based on their ability to pay.
This proposal will be presented to creditors for their approval. If accepted, the debtor makes fixed monthly payments, typically over a period of up to five years.
At the end of this payment term, all remaining unsecured debt will be written off.
How do consumer proposals work?There is a structured consumer proposal process that debtors have to follow. Here are the key steps involved:
Discussion with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT)You consult with a qualified LIT. Licensed Insolvency Trustees are financial professionals who are empowered by the government to administer consumer proposals.
There is no cost to consult with a LIT.
They will assess your financial situation, including your debts, assets, income, and expenses, before drafting your proposal.
Proposal draftingThe LIT creates a formal proposal outlining the terms of your repayment plan. This includes determining an affordable monthly payment based on your income and expenses.
They will also prepare and file the necessary documents with the government agency that oversees the consumer proposal process, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.
Proposal shared with creditorsThe proposal is submitted to your unsecured creditors, who have 45 days to vote on its acceptance.
If the creditors representing the majority of the money owed accept the arrangement, the proposal becomes binding on all unsecured creditors.
Commencement of monthly paymentsIf the proposal is approved, you begin making monthly payments to the LIT, who then distributes the funds among your creditors as per the agreed-upon terms.
Credit/financial counseling sessions
As part of the process, your LIT will arrange for you to attend two mandatory credit/financial counselling sessions. These sessions are designed to help you improve your financial literacy, develop sound money management skills, and provide you with tips on how to rebuild and re-establish your credit.
Discharge and debt write-offUpon successful completion of all consumer proposal payments and credit/financial counselling requirements, your LIT will provide you with a Certificate of Full Performance.
Any remaining unsecured debt included in the proposal is legally written off, providing you with a fresh financial start.
Am I eligible for a consumer proposal?To be eligible for a consumer proposal in Canada, including British Columbia, you must meet certain criteria:
Individual status: Consumer proposals are available for individuals, not corporations or partnerships.
Residency or business in Canada: You need to be a resident of Canada, own property in Canada, or conduct business in Canada.
Insolvency status: You must be insolvent, meaning you are unable to pay your debts as they become due.
Debt amount: Your debts should fall within the range of $6,000 to $250,000 (excluding mortgages on your principal residence).
Ability to make payments: You should have the ability to make affordable monthly payments to your creditors as proposed in the consumer proposal.
Meeting these eligibility criteria is crucial to pursue a consumer proposal as a viable debt relief option. Consulting with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee will help you determine if a consumer proposal is the right solution for your specific financial situation.
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What kind of debts can be included in a consumer proposal?Consumer proposals are an effective solution for individuals burdened with unsecured debts like:
- Credit card debt
- Personal loans
- Payday loans
- Unsecured lines of credit
- Student loans (with some exceptions)
Individuals must continue to fulfill their payment obligations to secured creditors to avoid the risk of losing their assets.
What are the benefits of using consumer proposals for unsecured debts?There are several advantages to using a consumer proposal if you have a high level of unsecured debt. We’ve listed some of the main benefits below.
Debt reduction of up to 70 or 80%When you work with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) to create a consumer proposal, they will assess your financial situation and negotiate with your creditors. The LIT will propose a reduced amount that you can realistically afford to pay based on your income and expenses.
This amount will be presented to your creditors, who will often accept consumer proposals for less than the total debt because they recognize that receiving a portion of the debt is more favorable than getting nothing at all. With a consumer proposal, there is the potential to reduce your overall debts by a significant amount, often up to 70% or 80%.
Single monthly paymentWith a consumer proposal, you make a single monthly payment to the LIT, who then distributes it among your creditors.
This simplifies the debt repayment process by consolidating multiple debts into one manageable payment.
Protection from creditorsOnce your consumer proposal is filed, an automatic stay of proceedings comes into effect.
This means that creditors are legally required to stop any collection actions against you, including wage garnishments and harassing phone calls.
It provides you with immediate relief from creditor pressure.
Interest reliefWhen you file a consumer proposal, the interest on your unsecured debts stops accruing.
This can significantly reduce the overall amount you need to repay and make it easier to eliminate your debts over time.
Legal protectionConsumer proposals are legally binding agreements. Once your proposal is accepted by the majority of your creditors, all participating creditors are bound by its terms.
This protects you from any future legal actions related to those debts.
Protection of assets
Consumer proposals allow you to retain your assets, including your home, vehicle, and other personal belongings, and protects those assets from your creditors.
This aspect is especially beneficial if you have significant equity in your assets.
Will a consumer proposal affect my credit?A consumer proposal will have an impact on your credit. It will be listed on your credit report for a specific duration.
The consumer proposal will be on your credit report for the lesser of three years after you’ve completed your payments or six years from the date it was filed.
During this time, the consumer proposal will be visible to lenders and may affect your ability to obtain new credit or loans.
However, it’s important to note that a consumer proposal can still be a beneficial option for debt relief, and with responsible financial management, you can rebuild your credit over time.
Here’s an example of how we can help
Let’s say you owe…
Canadian Tire Card
TD Bank Overdraft
Total amount owed:
Repayments reduced by 88%
* monthly payments are based on individual financial circumstances
What other debt solutions are available to me in British Columbia?In addition to consumer proposals, there are several other debt solutions available to individuals in British Columbia:
Debt consolidationThis involves combining multiple debts into a single loan or line of credit, usually with a lower interest rate.
It simplifies debt management by making a single monthly payment, potentially reducing overall interest costs.
Credit counsellingCredit counselling can provide guidance and support in managing debt payments.
It offers financial education, budgeting assistance, and debt repayment strategies to help individuals regain control of their finances.
BankruptcyPersonal bankruptcy is a legal process that can be pursued when other debt relief options are not viable.
It involves declaring insolvency and having a Licensed Bankruptcy Trustee oversee the insolvency process.
In a bankruptcy, most – if not all – of your debts will be forgiven. This can provide you with a fresh start, but it can have significant long-term consequences on your credit profile.
You should consult with a financial professional before deciding whether to pursue bankruptcy.
Where can I get more advice on debt relief in British Columbia?If you’re trying to decide which is the most suitable debt solution based on your financial situation, it’s essential to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee or seek professional advice before your situation gets worse.
At A. Fisher & Associates, you can get the help you need. As Licensed Insolvency Trustees with over 70 years’ combined experience, we can provide personalized guidance on each of the available options and help you choose the best solution for you.
For the chance to write off between 70 and 80% of what you owe and look forward to a debt-free life, get in touch with us today.
Write off up to 80% of your unaffordable debt
We’ve helped thousands of people, just like you, write off unsecured debt they can’t afford and enjoy a life free of pressure from the people they owe money to.
If you’re looking for help, or you’re worried about your ability to repay the debt you owe, A. Fisher & Associates is here to support you.
For free advice and guidance tailored to your financial situation, you can talk to one of our debt experts today. Give us a call for free on 416-842-0040