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Thanksgiving Day in Canada

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, and there are many stories in the media about how we should all give thanks. I agree. We are lucky to live in Canada. But what does Thanksgiving have to do with bankruptcy in Canada?

I have written a number of articles over the last two months criticizing some of the new bankruptcy rules. I have offered the opinion that some of the rules are unnecessarily harsh towards Canadians in financial trouble. That’s true, but there is another side to the story.

Every week I meet with many Canadians who are at the end of their financial rope. They usually tell me that their money problems got worse when they lost their job, or had their hours cut back, or they got separated or divorced, or they had a medical condition that impaired their ability to earn a living. When they visit me for the first time they are embarrassed and depressed. They don’t know what to do or where to turn.

The most rewarding part of my job is when I can show them that there are options for dealing with financial problems. Some people can re-finance or sell their home to generate the cash necessary to deal with their debts. Others can offer a debt settlement or a debt management plan. For many, a consumer proposal is the perfect solution. For a growing number of Canadians, personal bankruptcy is the only answer.

As Canadians, we can be thankful that we have so many options for dealing with debt. Gone are the days of Charles Dickens’ England where people who couldn’t pay were put in debtor’s prison. At least one each week I talk to someone who is afraid that if they don’t pay their debts they will go to jail. Not paying your debts is not a criminal offence in Canada. A creditor can take you to court and get a wage garnishment, but jail is not the result of not paying debts.

As the recession in Canada continues, we worry about our future. But today, as Canadians, we can be thankful that there are options for dealing with debt. I may not agree with all bankruptcy rules, but I do strongly support the basic principal behind bankruptcy legislation in Canada: the rehabilitation of the honest but unfortunate debtor.

You too can be thankful for your options, so contact a trustee today to review your options, and work out a plan to deal with your debts. You will be thankful that you did.