I Live in Canada, How Can I Stop a Wage Garnishment?

Garnishment of your wages is a real slap in the face. You lose the money, but you also lose some control of your finances and are embarrassed by your employer’s knowing your debts. If it has happened to you, or even been threatened, you really want to know how to stop that wage garnishment!

What is wage garnishment?

Wage garnishment is what happens when your creditor gets a court order for your employer to make payments out of your pay to the creditor. Some people call it having your wages “garnished”, but the correct term is a garnishee or garnishment – you have your wages garnisheed.

How does a garnishee happen?

Your creditor will sue you and ask the court for a garnishee when you owe enough for their legal costs to be worthwhile, and when they believe that you will otherwise not pay. Your creditor obtains a Garnishment Order from the court, and presents it to your employer, who then must obey the order.

Can garnishment be done without a court order?

Yes, in two cases:

  • You have given an assignment of wage to a credit union.
  • You owe back taxes to Canada Revenue Agency.

These people can garnishee your wages without a court order.

How much will be garnisheed?

The court will decide not only whether your wages should be garnisheed, but also the amount of your garnishment.

Can I stop the garnishment by agreeing to pay?

You could try to convince your creditor, but you probably won’t succeed. They only went to the trouble and expense of suing you in court because you have a record of not paying, or they have other reasons to believe that you will not pay.

Is there any other way to stop the garnishment?

Yes, there are three ways to stop a wage garnishment in Canada:

Only a licensed bankruptcy trustee can handle a consumer proposal or bankruptcy for you. In virtually all cases, these options will stop a garnishment.

If I am being threatened with a wage garnishment, should I wait and see if it happens?

The longer you wait, the more will be taken from your pay. If you are being threatened now, or believe you soon will be, you need to act immediately. Waiting longer will not make your situation better.

What should I do?

Contact a licensed bankruptcy trustee near you now. He or she will advise you on dealing with wage garnishments, and give you the advice you need to make the right choices.