Monday, 24 September 2012

Debt Relief in Canada Blog Series Part 4 – The Reality of Making a Debt Settlement

You may have heard about debt relief in Canada being offered by debt reduction companies or some of the government reports warning consumers about the risks associated with debt reduction companies.

The debt reduction companies that the government has been speaking out against are those who offer debt relief in Canada without a bankruptcy or consumer proposal. These debt reduction companies will offer you a program whereby you pay them on a monthly basis over a period of time with a promise at the end that they will settle your debts.

The reality of making a debt settlement with your creditors is that generally a creditor will not make a debt settlement unless you have the funds to forward them the full settlement amount at the time the debt settlement is made. In almost all cases, your creditors and their collection agencies will not accept monthly payments when they approve a debt settlement, unless it is part of a consumer proposal. For example, if you owed $1,000 and the creditor agreed to accept $600 as a full and final debt settlement, they would want to be paid $600 at once, not paid in monthly instalments.

Direct debt settlements are often made with creditors when an individual owes a small amount of debt (less than $8,000 in total).

So, making a debt settlement with your creditors is a real possibility and is something to be considered, but only if you are in a position to pay the settlements in full if they are accepted. Where debt reduction companies are concerned however, and in almost all cases, money is collected from you monthly and a full and final settlement with your creditors is not made until all of the money has been collected to satisfy any settlements that the debt reduction companies were considering offering.

In the absence of the ability to make a debt settlement, you can look at a consumer proposal, which is another viable option for achieving debt relief in Canada. The benefits to a consumer proposal are:

1.       You can usually reduce the amount of debt that you owe

2.       It is a legal process that can, in most cases, stop collection action

3.       It will result in a single monthly payment which is typically less than what you have to pay your creditors now

4.       Your money is administered by a trustee who is an official appointed by the superintendent in bankruptcy and not a private debt reduction company (who may or may not be in business when the time comes to make a debt settlement)

5.       You can re-build credit quickly because the consumer proposal is removed from your credit report 3 years from the date it is paid in full

6.       Because a consumer proposal is negotiated, once accepted the balance can be paid off at any time should your financial situation improve

The best thing to do if you need options for debt relief in Canada is to work with a Canadian provider of financial or debt consultation services that is not a trustee or a debt reduction company who administers debt reduction plans. A debt consultant will be able to assist you in establishing a plan that will help you achieve your financial goals, will be able to align you with the right professionals to achieve them, and will represent you through the process.

For more information about debt relief in Canada or if you would like to discuss making a debt settlement please contact DebtCare Canada at 416-907-2582 or visit

Monday, 17 September 2012

Debt Relief in Canada Blog Series Part 3 – Are There Consequences to Filing for Bankruptcy?

There are many options for debt relief in Canada, and one of the most common is bankruptcy. If you have financial problems, bankruptcy may seem like a scary option because of the consequences that many people associate with filing for bankruptcy. Hopefully this article will help you to understand bankruptcy better and determine if in fact it could be an option for debt relief that you should consider.

Bankruptcy is generally filed by people who have limited income or significant debt in relation to their income. Most first-time bankruptcies last either 9 or 21 months. When an individual files for bankruptcy, a trustee in bankruptcy will assess the bankrupt’s household income, assets, liabilities and personal circumstances. Personal circumstances include the number of people in the household and the number of dependents that the bankrupt has. Based on bankruptcy guidelines, if your income, once all factors are considered, is below a specified threshold, then the monthly payments in bankruptcy will last for 9 months. If the income is above a specified threshold, then it will be determined that the bankrupt has surplus income. This will result in higher payments in bankruptcy over a specified period of time, in most cases 21 months. 

Some of the pros of filing for bankruptcy are:

·         Immediate relief from collection action from unsecured creditors (such as wage garnishments)

·         A monthly payment that is less than what you are likely contractually obliged to pay to your creditors now

·         The opportunity for a fresh start to get out of debt in a short period of time, enabling you to rebuild your credit and finances

Many people don’t know that, in many cases, when you file for bankruptcy you are able to keep your home and vehicle. 

Some of the cons of filing for bankruptcy include:

·         If your financial situation improves during your bankruptcy you could be subject to additional surplus income. If there was no surplus income when you filed for bankruptcy and your bankruptcy repayment is over 9 months, surplus income during bankruptcy could result in your monthly payment in bankruptcy being extended to 21 months.

·         The bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 6 years from the date it is discharged. With that said, most financial institutions will do business with a bankrupt individual who has 2 years of re-established credit after bankruptcy.

·         Having a number of assets with equity in them will complicate things. In this case, a consumer proposal may be a better option than bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a very viable debt relief option in Canada, and while there are some consequences of filing for bankruptcy, in many cases there are many more benefits. Bankruptcy is an option for debt relief in Canada that can provide you with immediate relief, not only from collection action, but also the stress that accompanies a financial problem. If you have creditors that are currently after you, perhaps even suing you, this is relief that can provide you with a breath of fresh air, enabling you to think clearly again and get your personal and financial situation back on track. 

For more information about options for debt relief in Canada or to see if you are a candidate for bankruptcy please call DebtCare at 416-903-4000 or visit

Monday, 10 September 2012

How to Deal With Collection Agencies in Canada

Trying to deal with collection agencies in Canada can be futile, unless of course you have DebtCare Canada in your corner. Collection agencies in Canada use tactics that can be not only humiliating but also very annoying. In this short video Michael Goldenberg discusses how you can deal with collection agencies in Canada and still come out on top.

If you would like more information about how to deal with collection agencies in Canada or would like assistance from DebtCare with respect to a collection problem please contact DebtCare at 416-907-2582 or visit

Debt Relief in Canada Blog Series Part 2 – Do I Qualify to Refinance My Mortgage?

Debt relief in Canada can involve a debt settlement, a consumer proposal, budget management, credit counselling, bankruptcy, debt consolidation and more. The right option for debt relief will depend on your personal and financial situation and also the resources you have available to you to deal with your debt.  

A homeowner with home equity has more options for debt relief in Canada than one who doesn’t, as that individual can leverage his or her home equity to consolidate debt. A homeowner who uses his or her home to consolidate debt can save greatly on interest because mortgage interest is significantly less then credit card interest. With that said, there have been many changes to Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) guidelines in the past couple of years, so it is not as easy as it once was for homeowners who need to consolidate to do so. This has left many homeowners wondering “do I qualify to refinance my mortgage?”

In the past, CMHC insured lines of credit and debt refinancing up to 95% of the value of an applicant’s property. CMHC no longer insures lines of credit, and will only insure a refinancing of up to 80% of a property’s value. Also, those who want to qualify for a mortgage through the bank that is insured by CMHC must have good credit and meet both the bank and CMHC lending guidelines.

You may be thinking that you have a lot of debt, that you have missed some payments, or that the bank has already turned you down for a mortgage refinancing to consolidate debt, leaving you to beg the question how can I qualify to refinance my mortgage. If you have equity in your home, you still have options for debt relief in Canada through refinancing your home. There are many private lenders, credit unions, private financial institutions, mortgage investment corporations and finance companies who will offer mortgage financing to people who do not qualify with the bank.

This is because they will give more merit to the amount of equity in the home as it provides them with more security when considering a higher risk applicant. Generally speaking, to be approved for mortgage refinancing based on the amount of equity you have in your home, your new mortgage (which includes the amount that you borrow on your home in addition to your existing mortgage) should not exceed 75% of the value of your home now.

The entire process to refinance your home can take up to a month to complete. First, your financial consultant will have to review your finances to see if you qualify to refinance your mortgage. Once it is determined that you qualify, you will make a formal application. Upon approval of the application, if your mortgage is not CMHC insured, the mortgage lender will request an appraisal of your property. This step alone can take a week to complete. Once your appraisal has been completed and your property value has been verified, you will have to provide any documentation that is required in connection with your mortgage approval and sign the mortgage documents. At this point the mortgage will go to a lawyer and the final mortgage closing documents will be prepared. This step can take two weeks or more. Finally, you will sign all of the mortgage documents with the lawyer and your mortgage funds will be advanced.

If you think you may have too much debt and need debt relief, it is important to act before a financial problem emerges. Because the process to refinance your mortgage takes time, it is important to consider this as well as your other financial options before your debt continues to accumulate, or before you run into problems managing your payments (if you haven’t already).

For more information about options for debt relief in Canada or to see if you qualify to refinance your mortgage please call DebtCare at 416-903-4000 or visit

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Debt Relief in Canada Blog Series Part 1 – Is a Consumer Proposal the Answer?

Debt relief in Canada is a subject that is constantly in the news for many reasons, whether it is the government reporting on the fact that Canadians are carrying historically high levels of debt, reporting on debt reduction companies and what to watch out for, reporting on changes to CMHC lending guidelines to stop those who are loaded with debt from buying homes that they really can’t afford, and more… 

Unfortunately, most people who have too much debt don’t realize that they have a problem until managing minimum payments starts to become challenging, resulting in a debt problem turning into a debt emergency. There are many options for debt relief in Canada, but each one is different, and the right one for you will really depend on your own personal circumstances.

Making a consumer proposal is one option for debt relief in Canada, but the question is: is a consumer proposal the answer?

A consumer proposal is a type of proposal that is made to your creditors and is administered by a bankruptcy trustee who represents both you and the creditors that are included in your consumer proposal. Consumer proposals are crafted based on your ability to repay your debt realistically. Consumer proposals are repaid monthly, usually over a period of 3-4 years. With that being said, a consumer proposal can be paid off sooner if your financial situation changes. Consumer proposals are removed from your Equifax credit report 3 years from the date that they are paid in full, which provides a further incentive for those who are in a consumer proposal to pay it off early. Because consumer proposals allow you to make a single monthly payment that fits within your budget and enables you to rebuild your credit faster, consumer proposals are a very popular option for debt relief in Canada.

Since consumer proposals are based on your ability to make a monthly payment and not on your total debt load, oftentimes consumers can reduce their overall debt through a consumer proposal. In a simple, very general example, if your total unsecured debt is $20000 and you can afford to pay $200 per/month for 5 years based on your budget and the consumer proposal guidelines, the total value of the consumer proposal would be $12000, meaning you would reduce your debt by $8000. Each case is different, and your consumer proposal must be fair to your creditors as they have a say as to whether or not they will accept it.

When you make a consumer proposal, your creditors will receive your consumer proposal by mail and have 45 days to respond and vote as to whether they accept or reject your proposal. If a creditor does not respond to the consumer proposal within 45 days, they lose the ability to vote and the proposal is considered accepted. In addition, if the majority of your creditors accept the consumer proposal, it will be approved.

Consumer proposals are suited to individuals who have higher incomes, as they are subject to surplus income in bankruptcy.  When a consumer has surplus income his or her payment in bankruptcy will be much higher and this is what makes a consumer proposal a more attractive option for a higher income earner. Consumer proposals are also better suited to an individual who has some secured creditors and to someone who has the ability to repay a good portion of his or her debt but simply cannot manage the contractual payments that they currently have with creditors.

For more information about options for debt relief in Canada or to see if you qualify for a consumer proposal please call DebtCare at 416-903-4000 or visit