Bankruptcy Records in Canada: Who Will Know?

What Bankruptcy Records Exist in Canada?

The official bankruptcy records in Canada are compiled by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada (OSB) and are public records. This means that any member of the public can access them via an internet search tool on the OSB website, although there is a fee, and searches must be very specific.

The OSB sends a monthly list of new bankruptcies to each of the credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion), who record them on their credit histories of individual consumers. The OSB also sends information on bankruptcies that have been discharged (completed), and the bankruptcy record for each person is removed from that person’s credit report after a set number of years.

Will My Bankruptcy Be Published in the Newspaper?

This is not likely. A newspaper publishes a legal notice of a person’s bankruptcy only when the individual has substantial assets. In this case, the notice is placed by the individual’s Licensed Insolvency Trustee as a way to communicate with creditors. Otherwise, it is rare for a newspaper to publish information about an individual’s bankruptcy, because the paper would neither know about it nor consider it newsworthy.

How Do My Creditors Learn of My Bankruptcy?

The Licensed Insolvency Trustee in an individual’s consumer bankruptcy mails a notice of bankruptcy to each of the individual’s creditors. Creditors of a bankrupt individual record the bankruptcy when they receive this notice.

If you are applying for new credit while your bankruptcy remains on your credit bureau records, the companies considering granting credit to you may record the bankruptcy when they check your record at a credit bureau.

How Long Do Credit Bureaus Report Consumer Bankruptcies?

Equifax removes records of bankruptcies from individuals’ credit reports six years from the date of the bankruptcy discharge, and TransUnion is similar. See our page, When Does Bankruptcy Clear from a Credit Report?

How Can I Check Whether Someone Has Been Bankrupt?

You can pay a fee to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for them to search for any record of a specific Canadian individual’s having being bankrupt. To do this on the Internet:

  • Go to the OSB’s Insolvency Name Search.
  • Establish an account for searching.
  • Specify criteria for your search. These can include names and age of the person, and place of filing.
  • Each search costs $8.00, whether successful or not. If the search finds more than ten matches to your search criteria, it will cost a further $8.00 to view each ten or fewer after the first ten.

The search tool does not allow random searches. The person searching must know in advance whose record they are seeking, or the search may become prohibitively expensive.

Who Will Know About My Bankruptcy?

In most cases, only your Trustee, your creditors, and the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada will know you have filed for bankruptcy.

If you apply for credit with another lender while the credit bureaus still have a record of your bankruptcy, that lender will learn about your bankruptcy from a credit bureau.

Nobody else is likely to know about your bankruptcy, unless something causes them to suspect it and they take the trouble to search OSB records.

You need not fear the embarrassment of your friends or relatives seeing any bankruptcy records about you, except those you choose to tell. With this reassurance, you can contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee near you now, for a free, confidential consultation. Your first appointment is free.

Ready to Get Out of Debt?

Schedule a Free & Confidential Consultation

CONTACT A LICENSED TRUSTEE