Consumer Proposal Services in Saskatchewan

Navigating Consumer Proposal Services in Saskatchewan: A Step-by-Step Guide

For many Saskatchewan residents struggling with unmanageable debt, Consumer Proposal Services offer a legal process under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to repay a portion of their debts based on income and assets 1. This debt solution can be an effective method of debt consolidation for those who cannot afford to pay back all the debt they owe and do not qualify for a debt consolidation loan 1.

In this comprehensive guide, we will navigate through the intricacies of Consumer Proposal Services in Saskatchewan, exploring eligibility criteria, the filing process, and the benefits of choosing this debt relief option over alternatives like bankruptcy. We will also discuss the impact on credit scores and provide success stories of Saskatchewan residents who have found financial freedom through Consumer Proposals, along with tips on finding the right Licensed Insolvency Trustee to guide you through the process.

Understanding Consumer Proposal Services in Saskatchewan

Consumer Proposal Services in Saskatchewan are a legal process under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act that allows individuals to repay a portion of their debt based on their income and assets 8. This debt solution is administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) and can be an effective method of debt consolidation for those who cannot afford to pay back all the debt they owe and do not qualify for a debt consolidation loan 1 6 8.

Key features of Consumer Proposal Services in Saskatchewan:

  1. Debtor pays part or all of their debt at a reduced rate over a specific period of time, which must be less than $250,000, excluding the mortgage 2 3 16.
  2. To be legally binding, the creditors who own the majority of the debt must agree to the arrangement 1 8 9.
  3. Provides immediate protection from unsecured creditors, stops interest on debts, deals with all unsecured debts, and maintains ownership and control of assets 2 [45].
  4. Can be structured in various ways, including fixed monthly payments, variable payments, step up payments, step down payments, lump sum payments, payments from the sale of assets, and amendment to an existing Consumer Proposal 2.
  5. The LIT manages all communication and contact with unsecured creditors once an individual files a Consumer Proposal 2 [53].

Advantages of Consumer Proposals include:

  • Significantly reduces the amount of debt to be repaid 1 10 [46]
  • Effective method of debt consolidation for those with steady income and a budget that allows for monthly payments 1 10
  • Protects assets and places an immediate stay of proceedings on current and future collections actions, court judgements, and garnishees 2 [45]
  • Deals with all unsecured debts 2 [47]

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

  • It’s not a private matter; it’s filed as a permanent public record and included on a searchable database 1 11 [39]
  • Costs more than filing for bankruptcy 1 11 [40]
  • The Court must approve it 1 11 [41]
  • Creditors can choose to reject the proposal, requiring additional funds to convince them to proceed 1 11 [42]
  • Some assets might need to be sold 1 11 [43]
  • Missing more than 2 payments may require filing for bankruptcy 1 11 [44]
  • Secured debts cannot be put into a proposal 1 11 [45]
  • Student loans less than 7 years old can’t be included 1 11 [46]
  • It can put certain professional licenses at risk and affect future employment opportunities 1 11 [47]

Eligibility Criteria for Filing a Consumer Proposal in Saskatchewan

To be eligible for filing a Consumer Proposal in Saskatchewan, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  1. Insolvency: The person must be insolvent, owing at least $1,000 to creditors and unable to repay debts as they come due 1.
  2. Debt Limit: The total unsecured debts must be less than $250,000, excluding the mortgage on the main residence 2 15. For joint filings, the total debts must be less than $500,000, excluding the mortgage on their principal residence 8.
  3. Individual Filing: The filing must be made by an individual; businesses are not eligible unless they are sole proprietorships 3. It is possible to enter into a proposal even if one is an undischarged bankrupt 4.
  4. Income Stability: The individual must have a stable source of income to ensure they can make the monthly payments as laid out in the proposal plan 5 6 14.
  5. Joint Filings: Joint filings are possible when all or substantially all the debts of the different individuals involved are similar 7.
  6. No Prior Proposal Proceedings: There should be no prior proposal proceedings, such as a Notice of Intention to file a proposal 9.
  7. Creditor Agreement: The proposal must be agreed upon by the creditors who own the majority of the debt to be legally binding 10.

Certain types of debts cannot be included in a Consumer Proposal:

  • Secured debts cannot be put into a proposal 11.
  • Student loans less than 7 years old can’t be included 12.

To determine if you are a good candidate for a Consumer Proposal, consider the following:

  • You are insolvent 16
  • You make a significant, regular income 16
  • You prefer paying your creditors more than filing for Bankruptcy 16

A Consumer Proposal is a suitable solution for individuals who owe less than $250,000 (excluding mortgage) and cannot pay their debts in full, but have sufficient income to cover a single monthly payment 13 14.

The Process of Filing a Consumer Proposal

To file a Consumer Proposal in Saskatchewan, you must work with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) who will guide you through the process 7. The role of the consumer proposal administrator is to review your debt relief options, determine if you qualify for a consumer proposal, explain how it works, help you determine an affordable repayment plan, prepare the necessary forms, and file your proposal agreement with the government 9.

Here are the steps involved in filing a Consumer Proposal:

  1. Meet with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, provide monthly income and expense numbers, and review debt alternatives 4.
  2. If chosen, the Trustee will work with you to determine what you can afford to pay per month, file the Proposal with Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, and send copies to creditors 4.
  3. Upon filing, you will receive a ‘stay of proceedings’, which means your creditors can no longer pursue you for collection 8. Legal action regarding your debts will also be stayed 5.
  4. Creditors have 45 days to decide whether to review your proposal or ask for a creditors meeting 8.
  5. The proposal must be agreed upon by the creditors who own the majority of your debt to be legally binding 3. The main rule in drafting a consumer proposal is that creditors must be better off than if the debtor were to go bankrupt 2.
  6. If the proposal is accepted, you make your agreed upon monthly payments and attend two credit counselling sessions 8. If approved, you will be required to repay the agreed amount over a maximum term of 5 years 4 7.
  7. Once the proposal terms are completed, you will receive a certificate of full performance, releasing you from any remaining debt 8.

A trustee’s experience is crucial in drafting a proposal that has the greatest chance of being accepted 1. The Court must approve the proposal 5, and creditors can choose to reject it, which may require offering additional funds to convince them to proceed 6. If the proposal is rejected, you can contact your unsecured creditors to determine if they would accept alternate terms or file for bankruptcy 10.

If you fail to keep up with the terms of your debt proposal, the proposal will be annulled and your creditors would have a claim against you for the amount owed to them before the proposal, minus any amount you paid to them during the proposal 10.

Benefits of Choosing a Consumer Proposal

Choosing a Consumer Proposal offers several significant benefits for those struggling with unmanageable debt in Saskatchewan:

  1. Debt Reduction: A Consumer Proposal can eliminate up to 80% of what you owe to creditors 14 15. It allows you to reduce unsecured debts by as much as 75% 11, consolidating all your debts into a single fixed monthly payment 11 15.
  2. Asset Protection: Unlike bankruptcy, where certain assets may be seized 12, a Consumer Proposal allows you to keep your otherwise seizable assets 12 13 14 15. This includes your car and home equity 13, ensuring their protection from seizure to pay debts 14.
  3. Less Damage to Credit Rating: A Consumer Proposal results in less damage to your credit rating compared to bankruptcy 11. The settlement is noted on your credit history for only three years following completion, whereas bankruptcy remains for six years after completion 13.
  4. Faster Debt Recovery: You can recover from overwhelming debt faster through a Consumer Proposal 11. It provides protection from debt collectors, stops wage garnishments 3, and halts the accumulation of interest on your debt the day it is filed 3.
  5. Flexibility and Control:
    • The terms of an accepted Consumer Proposal do not change even if there are changes in your salary or revenues 12.
    • You retain control over your personal finances, and if your income rises, your payments remain the same 4.
    • No prepayment charges are incurred in a Consumer Proposal 15.
    • You may lawfully answer “no” to the question, “Have you ever declared Bankruptcy [or been Bankrupt]?” 4.
  6. Creditor Satisfaction: Creditors receive more money through a Consumer Proposal than through Bankruptcy, which is why they often accept Consumer Proposals 4. Once you have completed your Proposal, your obligation to your creditors is satisfied, and they are prohibited from approaching you for additional payments 5.
  7. Debt-Free Future: After completing a Consumer Proposal, individuals are left with reduced debt and can begin to save money and rebuild their credit 6. It is one of the final ways of avoiding bankruptcy and provides a path towards a debt-free future 11.

Consumer Proposal vs. Bankruptcy: Making the Right Choice

When considering debt relief options in Saskatchewan, it’s essential to understand the differences between a Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy. While both are legal processes that can help individuals struggling with unmanageable debt, they have distinct characteristics and consequences.

Consumer Proposal Bankruptcy
Filed as a permanent public record and included on a searchable database 1 A structured legal process that relieves the debtor of debts from creditors 5
Costs more than filing for bankruptcy 2 A Licensed Insolvency Trustee takes control of the debtor’s assets, investigates their affairs, and monitors their progress 6
May require selling some assets, such as a vehicle, home, or investments 3 Has a more severe impact on the debtor’s credit score compared to a consumer proposal 8
Missing more than 2 payments may result in filing for bankruptcy 4 Remains on the debtor’s record for 6 years after completion for a first-time bankruptcy 9
Remains on the debtor’s record for 3 years after completion 7 May involve varying monthly payments depending on the debtor’s income 10

Ultimately, the choice between a Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy depends on the debtor’s unique situation 11. Factors to consider include:

  • The amount and type of debt
  • Income stability
  • Asset ownership
  • Credit score impact
  • Long-term financial goals

It’s crucial to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to assess your financial situation and determine the most appropriate debt relief solution for your circumstances.

Impact on Credit Score and How to Rebuild

Filing a consumer proposal can impact an individual’s credit score, although the effect may be less severe compared to filing for bankruptcy 16. When a consumer proposal is filed, it will likely appear on credit reports, and authorized parties checking the credit report will be able to see the filing date, completion date, and the debts included in the proposal 16. A consumer proposal can remain on credit reports for up to three years after making the final payment or six years after signing the proposal, whichever is sooner 16 17.

Debts in a consumer proposal are coded as R7 on a credit report, indicating that the individual has agreed to settle them with their creditors 16 17. Despite having a consumer proposal on their credit report, it is still possible to obtain new loans or credit cards, although options may be limited, and higher interest rates or fees may apply 16.

To rebuild credit after filing a consumer proposal, individuals can:

  1. Create a detailed budget and make all payments on time 18
  2. Obtain a secured credit card 18
  3. Monitor their credit report 18
  4. Keep debt levels low 18
  5. Maintain good payment history with at least two credit facilities, one with a $3,000 credit limit, for two years to rebuild credit for a mortgage 18

Mainstream lenders may offer the following after completing a consumer proposal:

  • Mortgages: Two years after completion 19
  • Vehicle loans or leases: One to two years after completion 19
  • Standard unsecured credit cards: Within one year of completion 19

It is important to note that a consumer proposal can put certain professional licenses at risk and may affect some future employment opportunities due to the permanent record of insolvency 16.

Success Stories: How Consumer Proposals Helped Saskatchewan Residents

  • Wendy, a Saskatchewan resident, successfully completed a Consumer Proposal in 2013, which she filed in 2009 4. She used credit cards to help finance her business start-up, but the balances remained high due to high-interest rates 4. Wendy always made her payments but found it impossible to keep up with monthly bills when her income decreased due to the recession 4.
  • Karen Johnson at the Cranbrook office helped a woman who lost her jobs during the pandemic and was struggling to make payments. Karen provided financial advice and guided her through a Consumer Proposal process 20. Monique Moore at the Burlington office assisted a person with a bankruptcy case, offering expertise and guidance throughout the process 20.
  • Several individuals have shared their positive experiences with MNP, a licensed insolvency trustee firm:
    • Jeremy C. from Oshawa, ON, appreciated their respectful, straightforward, and educational approach 20.
    • An anonymous individual from Saskatoon, SK, highly recommends MNP for financial advice, praising the staff’s kindness, friendliness, and professionalism 20.
    • A couple from Calgary, AB, worked with MNP to find a solution for their debt, learning about a proposal option that allowed them to refinance their mortgage and pay off the debt sooner 20.
    • Stacey C. from Lloydminster, SK, expressed gratitude for MNP’s professionals, who helped her navigate insolvency options after receiving bad advice from another debt consolidation company 20.
    • A. Holland from Calgary, Alberta, appreciated the easy, stress-free, and simple process of dealing with MNP 20.
    • Chad W. from Moncton, NB, thanked Laura for answering all his questions and concerns, helping him manage his finances during a difficult time 20.
    • Sylvia B. from Kamloops, BC, felt comfortable and guided through the bankruptcy process by MNP’s compassionate and professional team 20.
    • Satiya C. from Duncan, BC, recommended MNP, expressing gratitude for their help during a bankruptcy claim 20.
  • Ian, a former Canadian armed forces member, struggled with a small loan that spiraled into 25 years of debt. After losing his job and falling behind on payments, he reached out to Sands & Associates. They helped him file a Consumer Proposal, which allowed him to avoid bankruptcy and consolidate his debts 5.

Finding the Right Licensed Insolvency Trustee in Saskatchewan

Finding the right Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) in Saskatchewan is crucial when considering a Consumer Proposal. LITs are federally regulated professionals who provide advice and services to individuals and businesses with debt problems 21. To locate an LIT, you can:

  1. Use the directory of active LITs, which allows you to search by name or location 21. The directory provides information about the trustee’s office, such as whether it’s a business office, resident office, non-resident office, or head office 21 23.
  2. Visit the Bankruptcy Canada website and fill out the form to receive a no-obligation consultation 24. Alternatively, you can directly contact one of the following trustees in Saskatchewan:
    • Bromwich+Smith Inc.: Estevan, Humboldt, Lloydminster, Melfort, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Weyburn, Yorkton. Contact: 1-306-403-4743 24
    • Cameron-Okolita Inc.: Melville, Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Weyburn. Contact: 1-888-870-1425 (Melville), 1-888-870-3202 (Moose Jaw), 1-888-870-1404 (Swift Current, Weyburn) 24
    • MNP LTD: North Battleford and Saskatoon 25
    • C. Buhler & Associates Ltd.: Offices in Saskatchewan and other locations in Manitoba, Alberta, and Canada’s north 27

When choosing an LIT, consider the following:

  • Services offered: LITs can provide services such as Consumer Proposal, Declaring Bankruptcy, Debt Consolidation, and Informal Debt Settlement 22 25 27.
  • Experience and qualifications: Look for LITs who are members of CAIRP (Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals) and have a team of experienced debt professionals 25 27.
  • Free, confidential consultations: Many LITs, such as MNP LTD, offer free, confidential consultations to discuss your debt relief options and provide personalized solutions 22 25.

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) licenses and regulates the insolvency profession, ensuring an efficient and effective regulatory framework, supervising stakeholder compliance with the insolvency process, and maintaining public records and statistics 28. The OSB also provides information on various debt-related topics, such as Insolvency Counselling Program, Consumer proposals, Bankruptcy, Student loans and bankruptcy, and Protecting the public 28.

Conclusion

Navigating the complexities of Consumer Proposal Services in Saskatchewan can be a daunting task for those struggling with unmanageable debt. However, by understanding the eligibility criteria, filing process, and benefits of this debt relief option, individuals can make informed decisions about their financial future. With the guidance of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, Saskatchewan residents can take the necessary steps to reduce their debt, protect their assets, and rebuild their credit.

Ultimately, the choice between a Consumer Proposal and other debt relief options, such as bankruptcy, depends on an individual’s unique financial situation. By carefully considering factors such as debt amount, income stability, and long-term goals, and seeking the advice of a qualified professional, Saskatchewan residents can find the most appropriate solution to their debt problems and embark on a path towards financial freedom.

FAQs

What are the disadvantages of entering into a consumer proposal? Entering into a consumer proposal can have several downsides. It typically takes longer to complete than filing for bankruptcy, which means you may be paying back your debts over an extended period. While you can pay off the proposal early if your financial situation improves, it’s important to note that your credit rating will be impacted by entering into a consumer proposal.

How does the consumer proposal process work? The consumer proposal process is a formal and legally binding procedure managed by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). The LIT collaborates with you to create a “proposal,” which is essentially an offer to your creditors to pay a percentage of what you owe them, extend the repayment period, or both.

What occurs 45 days after filing a consumer proposal? After 45 days following the filing of your consumer proposal, if the creditors accept your proposal, there is a built-in protection where creditors cannot change their minds. An additional 15 days after the 45-day mark will pass, and then your consumer proposal will be considered court-approved, solidifying the terms of your agreement with the creditors.

Is it possible to retain a credit card during a consumer proposal? Yes, it is possible to keep a credit card while you are undergoing a consumer proposal. This is because a consumer proposal is distinct from bankruptcy, which allows you the flexibility to choose whether to keep your credit card for future use.

References

[1] – https://nomoredebts.org/debt-help/consumer-proposal-canada/saskatchewan [2] – https://mnpdebt.ca/-/media/files/mnpdebt/consumer/pdf/consumer-proposals-101—an-introduction.pdf [3] – https://bankruptcy.mnpdebt.ca/faqs/difference-between-consumer-proposal-and-bankruptcy [4] – https://bankruptcy-chilliwack.com/consumer-proposal/ [5] – https://www.sands-trustee.com/blog/meet-ian-hear-his-debt-free-success-story/ [6] – https://www.spergel.ca/consumer-proposal/life-after-consumer-proposal/ [7] – https://www.sands-trustee.com/blog/consolidating-debt-consumer-proposal-step-by-step/ [8] – https://www.hoyes.com/consumer-proposals/filing-consumer-proposal-process/ [9] – https://mnpdebt.ca/en/consumer-proposal/consumer-proposal-process [10] – https://www.adamsontrustee.com/consumer-proposals/proposal-steps/ [11] – https://www.remolinoassociates.com/consumer-proposals/benefits-disadvantages-alternatives/ [12] – https://mnpdebt.ca/en/resources/mnp-debt-blog/the-top-4-advantages-of-a-consumer-proposal-over-other-debt-relief-solutions [13] – https://www.hoyes.com/consumer-proposals/consumer-proposal-benefits/ [14] – https://www.sands-trustee.com/blog/advantages-of-consumer-proposal-instead-of-bankruptcy/ [15] – https://davidsklar.com/blog/debt-consolidation-vs-consumer-proposal-which-is-better/ [16] – https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/en-ca/my-money-matters/debt-and-stress-relief/bankruptcy/consumer-proposals/how-does-a-consumer-proposal-affect-credit-scores/ [17] – https://www.smytheinsolvency.com/blog/will-filing-a-consumer-proposal-affect-my-credit-score/ [18] – https://www.hoyes.com/consumer-proposals/consumer-proposal-affect-credit-rating/ [19] – https://www.sands-trustee.com/credit/ [20] – https://mnpdebt.ca/en/resources/success-stories [21] – https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/tds/web [22] – https://bankruptcy.mnpdebt.ca/licensed-insolvency-trustee/sk [23] – https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/tds/web?wbdisable=true [24] – https://www.bankruptcy-canada.ca/bankruptcy-saskatchewan [25] – https://bankruptcy.mnpdebt.ca/licensed-insolvency-trustee/sk/north-battleford [26] – https://nomoredebts.org/debt-help/bankruptcy/how-to-find-licensed-insolvency-trustee [27] – https://debtfreenorth.com/locations/saskatoon/ [28] – https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/office-superintendent-bankruptcy/en/office-superintendent-bankruptcy