A Canadian Bankruptcy Trustee’s role in a consumer proposal can be very confusing for consumers largely because of the advertising done by Canadian Bankruptcy Trustees. These Trustees advertise a way out of debt and offer to help you out of your financial problems, almost as though they represent you and your best interests through the process.
Full stop. This is not the case at all.
Trustees need you in order to stay in business. No bankruptcies and consumer proposals = no need for the Trustee. In fact, while in a bankruptcy they are bound by pre-defined tariffs, in a consumer proposal they are compensated based on the amount of the consumer proposal. Bigger proposal = more fees for them. While they advertise the benefits of a bankruptcy or proposal and are the only ones who can administer one, they in no way represent you.
In order to be able to understand their role in the consumer proposal process, let’s look at what the duties of a Canadian Bankruptcy Trustee actually are.
Consumer proposals and bankruptcies are both very powerful tools you can deploy to put a stop to debt that has become unmanageable. Because the process to file both is legislated under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), both must be administered by a Trustee appointed by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy. This Trustee is the Bankruptcy Trustee. Their role is to ensure that a consumer proposal or bankruptcy is administered fairly and in accordance with the BIA – to the benefit of you AND your creditors.
When you meet the Trustee in Bankruptcy you may see no harm in divulging personal information to them because you feel that you are with your representative. However, that information may be considered in whatever proposal scenario they put forward. Once you disclose information to the Bankruptcy Trustee, this information can now be relayed to your creditors.
Going to a Trustee in Bankruptcy directly would be the same as being charged with a crime and meeting with the prosecutor without a lawyer. Prior to making contact with a Trustee you should sit down with a trusted financial advisor who has experience with insolvency to work through different financial scenarios – one of which may be a proposal. Because this individual is your representative, you are able to openly discuss all of the issues and then they can advise you on which options are relevant to bring forward.
Earlier in the blog we mentioned that the Bankruptcy Trustee is the only professional who can administer a bankruptcy or consumer proposal, and this is true, but it is never wise to meet with one without your own representation.
Protect yourself and your financial assets - contact DebtCare before you go to a Trustee. Call us today at 1-888-890-0888.