Bankruptcy Records in Canada: Who Will Know?

What bankruptcy records exist in Canada?

The official bankruptcy records in Canada are compiled by the federal Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) and are public records.

The OSB sends a monthly list of new bankruptcies to each of the credit bureaus, who record them on their credit histories of individual consumers. The bankruptcy record for each person is removed from that person’s credit report after a set number of years.

A newspaper publishes a legal notice of an individual’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, only very rarely would a newspaper publish information about an individual’s bankruptcy, because it would neither know about it nor consider it newsworthy.

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

Those considering granting credit to a bankrupt individual may record the bankruptcy when they check the individual’s record at a credit bureau.

How can I check whether someone has been bankrupt?

You can pay a fee to the OSB for them to search for any record of that person’s 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.

Who will know about my bankruptcy?

In most cases only your creditors will know you have filed for bankruptcy.

If you apply for credit with another lender, 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.