What is a consumer proposal?If you’re struggling with unsecured debt and are worried about how you’re going to repay what you owe, you may be considering a consumer proposal. It’s the most popular debt solution available in Canada, but how do you know if it’s right for you?
Can I file a consumer proposal myself?
Working with a Licensed Insolvency TrusteeBecause a consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement – meaning it can’t last any longer that a five-year payment term – it can only be set up by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT).
A LIT is a licensed debt professional empowered by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy to help people struggling with debt problems.
They will explore your financial situation, decide whether a consumer proposal is the best debt solution for you, and work with you to build a consumer proposal that is suited to both you and your creditors.
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The consumer proposal process
Discuss your options with a licensed professionalAn initial discussion will confirm that a consumer proposal is the best solution for your situation.
You will be expected to reveal all of your financial information, including your income, each of your debts, your monthly expenses, and who you owe money to.
Your consumer proposal is prepared and presentedA Licensed Insolvency Trustee will draw up your proposal and submit it to your creditors.
Your proposal will outline the amount of debt you intend to repay and how your monthly repayments and total repayment term have been calculated.
Once your proposal has been filed with the court, your creditors have 45 days to consider the action.
Any interest on the debts will cease to accumulate, and you will be protected from legal action by your creditors.
Your creditors accept your proposalYour creditors may wish to call a meeting to discuss the arrangements, but it isn’t mandatory. Only a creditor who holds at least 25% of your debt can call a meeting, and the meeting must be held within 21 days of the proposal being filed.
Your creditors vote whether to accept your proposal or not and if a 51% majority is reached, the proposal is accepted. The court will approve the proposal, and you will then begin your repayment plan.
You must attend credit counselling sessionsUnder the guidelines of consumer proposal legislation, you mus.t attend 2 credit counselling sessions to help you understand and be better equipped to manage your finances in future. If you fail to attend the sessions, your debt will not be discharged.
You complete the term, and your debt is dismissedOnce your final payment has been paid, at the end of your repayment term, and you have fulfilled each of the obligations set out by the consumer proposal, your Licensed Insolvency Trustee will file the final paperwork, and you will be released from your debt.
You may also be provided with information and resources to help you rebuild your credit and manage your finances in the future.
What debts can be included in a consumer proposal?You can include any unsecured debts in a consumer proposal.
Unsecured debts aren’t backed or secured by an asset or trustee. For example, a mortgage loan is secured by the property, which could be sold to cover costs if the debtor fails to make their mortgage repayments.
Typical unsecured debts appropriate for a consumer proposal are:
- Credit cards
- Personal loans
- Payday loans
- Income taxes
- Department store credit
- Bank overdraft fees
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
Why should I consider a consumer proposal?
No upfront feesA debt solution provider will offer free advice at your initial consultation. Any management fees associated with your consumer proposal will be included in your new single monthly repayment.
Better budget controlYour new repayment amount will be calculated in line with your income. The repayment amount will be within your budget capabilities, and the total term of repayment will not exceed 5 years.
Flexible monthly paymentsConsumer proposal payments are based on factors including your total debt and affordability, and will last a maximum of 60 months, but they’re also flexible.
If you need more time to repay you’re debt you can use the whole 60 months, however if you feel you can afford to pay more each month, you can increase your monthly payments and shorten your payment term.
Existing legal actions will ceaseYour proposal administrator will manage all communication with your creditors. Any harassing phone calls and personal visits from your creditors will also stop, in line with consumer proposal regulations.
It’s legally bindingThe consumer proposal is a legal solution, and once agreed by your creditors they have to conform to all the rules of the agreement.
You will be free of your debt on completionOn completion of the final payment, as dictated by your agreement, you will be cleared of all the inclusive debts and be formally discharged.
Will a consumer proposal impact my credit rating?Your credit report is a document that lists your entire financial history. Based on that information, people are given a credit rating (or credit score) which gives lenders an indication of how trustworthy they are as borrowers.
If you enter a consumer proposal, it will be listed on your credit report. Because the debt solution sends a signal to lenders that you have struggled to meet your financial commitments in the past, your consumer proposal is likely to lower your credit rating, making it harder for you to do certain things, from opening bank accounts to being accepted for loans.
It’s worth noting, however, that the damage a consumer proposal does to your credit rating is nothing in comparison to a bankruptcy.
A consumer proposal also shows your commitment to dealing with your debt. As long as you keep up with your payments, a consumer proposal allows you to work towards being debt free, and gradually repair your credit.
Advantages of a Consumer Proposal
- Your debt repayments are calculated to be an amount you can realistically afford to pay
- Any interest on your loans will be frozen, preventing additional debt accumulating
- Your assets, including your home, car and wages, are protected
- Part of your debt amounts may be written off
Disadvantages of a Consumer Proposal
- You have to go through a court process
- The proposal will be on public record
- Trustees are required to pay your creditors as much as possible
- You may be forced to pay back 100% of your debt
- You may be forced to file for bankruptcy, where you will have to forfeit all non-exempt assets
Is a consumer proposal right for me?A consumer proposal could be your best option if:
- You need relief from unsecured debts
- Have assets that you would like to protect
- Your income is sufficient so that you can make regular payments towards clearing your total debt amount
- You are willing to repay as much as you can afford
- You want to avoid bankruptcy
- You work in a profession that requires you to disclose if you have become bankrupt
Where can I get debt advice and further support?To be sure that a consumer proposal is the right choice of debt relief or debt removal for you, you should always talk to a debt professional. That’s where we can help.
A Fisher & Associates are a trusted provider of debt solutions. We’ve helped thousands of people like you regain control of their financial situation and get their lives back on track.
To find out more about the options available to you, talk to one of our friendly advisors today on 416-842-0040.
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