Skip to Content

How to File Bankruptcy

A Step by Step Guide to Filing Bankruptcy & Getting Free From Debt

1Understand Your Debt Situation

First, you must recognize that you are having financial problems, and you don’t believe you can work them out on your own.

Every individual situation is different, but the following signs are typical of money problems that warn you to take action:

  • You have failed to make one or more payments on a mortgage or loan.
  • Your credit cards are constantly at their limit.
  • You are paying bills by taking credit card cash advances.
  • Your creditors have passed your account to collection agencies, who are now calling you.
  • You have received notice of legal action against you to collect money you owe.

If you are feeling the pressure from debt, your first step is to make a commitment to explore your debt relief options. We can show you how filing bankruptcy can get you started on the right path.

Did You Know?

Both personal bankruptcy and consumer proposals can provide immediate protection from debt collectors.

125,878 Canadians became insolvent in 2016

2Select a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to Help You Understand Canada's Debt Regulations

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only people licensed by the Canadian Superintendent of Bankruptcy to administer consumer proposals and bankruptcies. In order to declare bankruptcy or file a consumer proposal you must work with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

Your trustee will provide information about consumer proposals, the filing bankruptcy processes, and other debt relief options. Also, during the bankruptcy or proposal process your trustee will ensure your rights are respected.

When selecting your trustee, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Your trustee should be local or at least easy to access.
  • You should feel comfortable with your trustee. Ask them questions about your situation and make sure you understand their answers.
  • Confirm they are licensed by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (all trustees listed at are fully licensed).

Find a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to Help You »

Did You Know?

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are experts licensed by the Canadian Government to help consumers get out of debt.

By law you must work with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee when filing bankruptcy.

3Meet with Your Trustee to Review Your Options

Now that you’ve selected your trustee you should contact them and schedule a free initial consultation. You will be asked to bring some specific details of your financial situation, including your income and expenses, assets and debts.

At your first meeting, your trustee will review your financial details, and outline the alternatives to bankruptcy that could be chosen in your case, ranging from debt consolidation through consumer proposals and including the bankruptcy process. Your trustee will provide you with information and advice on each which is best for you but the decision will remain in your hands and you will have as much time as you need.

Feeling Unsure?

Sometimes a 15 minute conversation gives you all the insight you need. You can get a free, no-strings-attached conversation with a top Licensed Insolvency Trustee*

* We only work with trustees and partners who have shown a long standing ability to help people find debt relief and are consumer advocates for debt policy reform.

Did You Know?

If you have enough income, debt consolidation or credit counseling are good debt relief options.

Consumer proposals allow you to keep your house and other assets, subject to the rights of secured creditors.

4Filing For Bankruptcy

In the event you and your trustee choose to proceed with filing bankruptcy, your trustee will provide you with an information form to complete. In order to file the bankruptcy paperwork your trustee will need:

  • Your personal information (name, address, birth date).
  • A list of your creditors.
  • A list of your assets.

After your trustee has they information, they will prepare the initial paperwork and review the bankruptcy process with you again. When you are ready, you sign the papers and your bankruptcy starts.

Did You Know?

You can be discharged from bankruptcy in as short a time period as 9 months.

5What Happens Once You File for Bankruptcy

Once your bankruptcy is filed, there is an immediate “stay of proceedings”. This means that unsecured creditors cannot begin or continue lawsuits, wage garnishees, or even contact you to request payment.

Within five days of the bankruptcy starting the trustee will send a copy of the bankruptcy paperwork to creditors, so they can file a claim.

The trustee will file outstanding tax returns up to the date of bankruptcy. Any outstanding taxes or penalties owed CRA will be included.

You will have certain obligations that you will have to fulfill including a monthly income statement and attending credit counselling sessions.

Did You Know?

Filing bankruptcy immediately halts most creditors from taking your wages.

Your Trustee will deal with your unsecured creditors on your behalf.

6What Happens After Bankruptcy?

Once your bankruptcy is discharged your debts will be cancelled (with minor exceptions). A note about your bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for a minimum of six years after the date of discharge. In most circumstances, your bankruptcy will be discharged in 9 months.

This means that for most people their debts are cancelled 9 months after filing for bankruptcy and they can start going through the process of rebuilding their credit. Your trustee can help you here as well by providing effective strategies for getting your credit back on track and helping manage your money.

Ready to get out of Debt?

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in Your Area.

Back to top