Bankruptcy Records in Canada
Bankruptcy records in Canada are public records, meaning they can be accessed by the public.
When an individual or business declares bankruptcy, a record is created and maintained by the OSB – Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada.
Bankruptcy is a legal method that frees honest debtors from the burden of their debts, provided certain conditions are met.
A person declaring bankruptcy in Canada is required to “assign” (surrender) all non-exempt assets to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.
The Trustee, in exchange, frees the person from all debts.
A Licensed Insolvency Trustee is a professional with a Federal license to implement the bankruptcy process.
A Trustee is the only authorized professional in Canada to administer a bankruptcy.
The minimal assets that a bankrupt is legally allowed to possess depends on the province of location the bankrupt individual.
The process of Bankruptcy falls under Canadian Federal Law, and is governed by the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act.
To be eligible to declare bankruptcy in Canada, an individual must have lived, or engaged in business, in Canada in the previous year, and must prove insolvency.
To prove insolvency, the individual must show at least $1, 000 in debt, and prove incapability to make debt payments as required.
When an individual declares bankruptcy, the declaration is mentioned in a credit report.
The credit report will carry the declaration for many years, which can adversely impact the credibility and credit-procuring ability of an individual.
Accessing Bankruptcy Records in Canada
The OSB maintains a database of Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records.
Required records can be accessed through the search tool available on the OSB website.
A login credential is required for accessing bankruptcy records in Canada.
There is a search fee applicable (currently $8 for every search).
You can search for the records by name of the individual or the business.
You need to be very specific with your search parameters to get accurate information.
You can use the year in which the bankruptcy was filed as a search parameter for more specific results.
Other search parameters that you can use to narrow down your search include:
- Province/ territory where the bankruptcy was filed
- Exact birth date of the bankrupt individual
- The individual’s birth year period (the range of years within which the person could have been born)
View OSB’s search instructions to access bankruptcy records in Canada for more information.
Things to Know about Bankruptcy Records
- Bankruptcy records are sent to credit bureaus – TransUnion and Equifax – by the OSB. Updated record details are sent to the bureaus on a monthly basis. The bureaus then report the bankruptcy details on the credit report of the respective individual.
In case, any individual or entity has been discharged of bankruptcy after a specific period of time, such information is also updated by the OSB.
The bureaus update the respective credit history reports by removing the bankruptcy record in such cases.
- The Trustee sends a notice to all creditors of the bankrupt individual to inform them about the latter’s bankruptcy.
- Details about an individual’s bankruptcy are usually not published in newspapers unless the individual has major assets. A Trustee may use newspapers as a way to disseminate bankruptcy information to the individual’s creditors in cases where substantial assets are involved.
- Consumer credit report bureaus carry the bankruptcy information for a specific number of years. They remove the information once this period expires.
Equifax, Canada’s major credit bureau, for example, carries a first bankruptcy report for 6 years from the date on which the bankruptcy came into effect, or from the date of last payment by the debtor.
A second bankruptcy is reported for a period of 14 years.
For TransUnion, the time period of such bankruptcy reporting is 6 to 7 years, or 14 years from bankruptcy filing date.
If you are planning to file for bankruptcy, then contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee near you immediately.
You could approach a non-profit credit counseling agency in your locality to find a Trustee.
You can also use Government of Canada’s database of active Licensed Insolvency Trustees.