Are Bankruptcies Part of the Public Record in Canada?

Transparency in Financial Matters: Who Can Find My Bankruptcy in Public Records?

Financial adversities may lead individuals to the brink of bankruptcy, a situation that many deem as a personal and economic failing. However, the reality reveals a different picture. Bankruptcy, in fact, can provide an escape route from the burden of overwhelming debt, offering a fresh start. But, a common concern among those on the verge of filing for bankruptcy revolves around the question, “Are Bankruptcies Part of the Public Record in Canada?” This article aims to dispel myths and present a clear picture.

Bankruptcy: A Public Affair?

Yes, to answer succinctly, bankruptcies are indeed part of the public record in Canada. However, accessibility to this information isn’t as straightforward as one might assume.

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada (OSB) assumes responsibility for compiling a list of bankruptcies and updating the same on their website database. The public can search this list using an individual’s or a business’s name. Yet, to conduct a search, one must create an Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) account.

The process is such that, upon submitting a search request, the OSB website reveals any matching results. Viewing these results, however, requires a small fee. The cost is $8 for every 10 (or fewer) results. Therefore, if there are 20 results, the cost would be $16, and so on.

Interestingly, the list also includes companies that have filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) since September 18, 2009. Note that to file under the CCAA, a company must owe creditors a minimum of $5 million. Notably, there is no charge to view these specific records.

Delving into the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records Search

The Bankruptcy and Insolvency database houses a wealth of information:

 

  • Information about all bankruptcies and proposals registered in Canada since 1978;
  • All receiverships registered with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency office since January 1993;
  • All petitions recorded at the office;
  • Information on all companies that have been granted protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) since September 18, 2009.

The Role of Canadian Credit Bureaus

The OSB communicates a list of bankruptcies to the Canadian credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, on a monthly basis. If you file for bankruptcy, this detail will remain on your credit report for six years post-discharge. If you declare bankruptcy more than once, the record stays for 14 years.

Communication with Creditors

Once you declare bankruptcy officially, your Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) has the responsibility to inform all your creditors. This could be positive as any communication or legal action from your creditors ceases once they are aware of your bankruptcy.

Employer’s Knowledge of Your Bankruptcy

In general, your employer won’t be informed about your bankruptcy. Exceptions exist, such as when you’re dealing with wage garnishment and your LIT needs to contact your employer. However, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act ensures you cannot be fired for filing for bankruptcy.

Certain industries, like financial services, where you handle other people’s money, may see an impact due to bankruptcy. While it might not hinder your employment, it could affect the nature of your role.

In some industries where you are bondable (typically in the financial sector or banking), you might face some difficulties. You cannot be bonded until your bankruptcy has been discharged. To avoid issues, it’s advisable to consult your LIT about other debt management options, such as a Consumer Proposal.

Who Else Would Know About My Bankruptcy?

Typically, the only people privy to your bankruptcy are your LIT and those you tell. The average person needn’t worry about their bankruptcy becoming public knowledge. For someone to find out, they would need a strong motivation to create an ISED account, conduct the search, and pay for the results.

Confidentiality of the Licensed Insolvency Trustee

Your LIT, bound by a strict code of ethics, will only disclose your bankruptcy information to the OSB and your creditors. They can only reveal your information if mandated by law or if you grant them explicit permission.

If the fear of public exposure of your bankruptcy is causing hesitation, your first step should be to consult a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. A LIT can guide you through the process and help alleviate your worries. Remember, professional help is available. Reach out to BankruptcyCanada at 877-879-4770 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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