Thousands of Canadians have their wages garnished each year for a wide range of reasons. A garnishment of wages in Canada can occur as a result of unpaid family responsibility, judgements that occurred as a result lawsuits (in Small Claims Court or Superior Court) or as a result of debt owed to the government. The most common government debt that results in a garnishment of wages in Canada is a tax debt that is owed to The Canada Revenue Agency.
Stopping a garnishment of wages in Canada that is related to unpaid family responsibility is very difficult and can only be achieved in one of three ways: 1) through paying the child support arrears, 2) through going to court or 3) the parent of the child who is owed support waives the support (in some cases).
If you have a judgement against you in the Small Claims Court, your wages can be garnished up to 20% of your net earnings. If the Canada Revenue Agency imposes a wage garnishment against you, your wages can be garnished up to 50% of your gross earnings and up to 100% of any secondary earnings.
A wage garnishment can cause financial devastation because the average Canadian will find it difficult to continue to pay for basic living expenses like shelter, transportation and food once his or her income has been reduced by 20%-50%.
Where Canada Revenue Agency is concerned, it can be difficult to get the CRA to voluntarily lift a garnishment of wages once in place. The Canada Revenue Agency will often demand that the tax debt be paid in full or that a substantial lump sum payment be made before they will consider stopping a garnishment of wages. When a taxpayer owes thousands of dollars, the prospect of raising the money can prove impossible, leaving the taxpayer feeling powerless.
Where a Small Claims Court judgement is concerned, stopping a garnishment of wages can be expensive because it will often involve returning to court and while you can represent yourself in Small Claims Court, many people will retain legal representation when attempting to get a wage garnishment reduced or lifted to increase their chances of success.
There is another way to stop a wage garnishment issued by the Small Claims Court or The Canada Revenue agency which may be possible without going to court.
Through a debt consultant you may be able to qualify under a Federal Government Program to deal with a debt that has arisen from a Small Claims Court Action or Canada Revenue Agency tax debt and that will involve stopping a garnishment of wages. When participating under one of these programs any collection action being taken against you by unsecured creditors will be “stayed” giving you an opportunity at a fresh start. The best course of action will depend on the amount of debt you have, your income and assets. Qualifying under one of these programs may end up being the easiest way for you to stop a garnishment of your wages.