What Can They Take During Bankruptcies?

What Do You Lose When
You Declare Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is often seen as a last resort for individuals overwhelmed by debt. Many people worry that filing for bankruptcy means losing everything they own. However, in Canada, this is not necessarily the case. Bankruptcy laws in Canada allow individuals to keep certain assets, depending on their province of residence. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the bankruptcy exemptions in different provinces and shed light on what assets you can keep during bankruptcy and what assets your creditors can take from you.

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Understanding Bankruptcy Exemptions

When you file for bankruptcy, you assign or surrender your assets to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) in exchange for the discharge of your debts. However, there are exceptions to the assets you must hand over. These exceptions, known as bankruptcy exemptions, are designed to allow you to keep certain assets that are considered reasonable for maintaining a basic standard of living.

It’s important to note that bankruptcy exemptions vary by province, with each province having its own legislation governing what assets are exempt from seizure by the trustee. While the specifics may differ, the types of assets that are generally exempt from seizure are similar across Canada. Let’s take a closer look at the assets you can keep during bankruptcy.

Assets You Can Keep in Bankruptcy

  1. Personal Items and Clothing: Personal belongings, such as clothing and personal items, are generally exempt from seizure in bankruptcy. These include items that are necessary for your day-to-day life.

  2. Household Furniture, Food, and Equipment: You can typically keep household furniture, appliances, and equipment necessary for your home. This includes items like beds, sofas, kitchen appliances, and essential tools.

  3. Tools Related to Work: If you require specific tools for your occupation or trade, you can usually keep them up to a certain value. These tools are considered essential for your ability to earn income.

  4. Motor Vehicles: Most provinces allow you to keep a motor vehicle, provided its value does not exceed a certain limit. The value limit varies by province and may be lower for newer vehicles.

  5. Certain Farm Property: If you are a farmer, certain farm property, including livestock and farming equipment, may be exempt from seizure. The exemptions for farm property are typically more generous to support the agricultural industry.

  6. Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs): In recent years, changes to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act have allowed individuals to keep their RRSPs, with the exception of any contributions made in the 12 months prior to filing for bankruptcy.

  7. Life Insurance Policies: Life insurance policies with beneficiaries who are immediate family members, such as a spouse, child, parent, or grandchild, are generally exempt from seizure.

  8. Pension Plans: Most pension plans, including employer-sponsored plans, are exempt from seizure in bankruptcy. These plans are crucial for retirement income and financial security.

It’s essential to note that each province may have specific rules and limits regarding the value of exempt assets. To determine the exact exemptions applicable to your situation, it is highly recommended to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in your province.

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Bankruptcy Exemptions by Province

Now, let’s delve into the bankruptcy exemptions specific to different provinces in Canada. It’s important to remember that these exemptions are subject to change, and it’s always best to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for the most up-to-date information. Here are the bankruptcy exemptions by province:

Alberta

In Alberta, bankruptcy exemptions are governed by the Civil Enforcement Act. Some of the exemptions in Alberta include:

  • Food required for a 12-month period
  • Clothing up to $4,000
  • Household furnishings and appliances up to $4,000
  • One motor vehicle up to $5,000
  • Equity in your principal residence up to $40,000
  • Tools of your trade up to $10,000
  • Certain farm property
  • RRSPs, RRIFs, and RESPs

For a complete understanding of bankruptcy exemptions in Alberta, consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in the province.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, bankruptcy exemptions are outlined in the Court Order Enforcement Act and Regulations. Some of the exemptions in British Columbia include:

  • Clothing for yourself and your dependents, with no dollar limit
  • Household goods up to $4,000
  • One motor vehicle up to $5,000 (or $2,000 if behind on child support payments)
  • Tools of your trade up to $10,000
  • Equity in your principal residence up to $9,000 (or $12,000 in Greater Vancouver or Victoria)
  • Medical aids

To fully understand the bankruptcy exemptions in British Columbia, it is advisable to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in the province.

Manitoba

In Manitoba, bankruptcy exemptions are governed by the Executions Act and the Judgments Act. Some of the exemptions in Manitoba include:

  • Food and fuel for a six-month supply or cash equivalent
  • Personal clothing
  • Household furniture and appliances up to $4,500
  • One motor vehicle up to $3,000 (or more for farmers)
  • Health and medical aids
  • Tools of your trade up to $7,500
  • Farm property
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)

For a comprehensive understanding of bankruptcy exemptions in Manitoba, consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in the province.

Ontario

In Ontario, bankruptcy exemptions are outlined in the Executions Act. Some of the exemptions in Ontario include:

  • Household furniture, appliances up to $14,180
  • Personal clothing with unlimited value
  • One motor vehicle up to $7,117
  • Tools of your trade up to $14,405
  • Farm property for farmers
  • Most pension plans, life insurance policies, and certain RRSPs

To fully understand the bankruptcy exemptions in Ontario, it is advisable to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in the province.

Quebec

In Quebec, bankruptcy exemptions are governed by the Code of Civil Procedure. Some of the exemptions in Quebec include:

  • Food and fuel
  • Personal clothing
  • Certain household furniture and appliances
  • Motor vehicle
  • Disability aids and accident benefits
  • Tools of your trade
  • Principal residence equity
  • Certain pensions and income

For a comprehensive understanding of bankruptcy exemptions in Quebec, consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in the province.

Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, bankruptcy exemptions are outlined in the Exemptions Act and the Saskatchewan Farm Security Act. Some of the exemptions in Saskatchewan include:

  • Food and fuel
  • Personal clothing
  • Household furniture and appliances up to $4,500
  • One motor vehicle
  • Tools of your trade up to $4,500
  • Livestock and equipment for farmers
  • Principal residence equity
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)

For a complete understanding of bankruptcy exemptions in Saskatchewan, consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in the province.

These are just a few examples of the bankruptcy exemptions by province. To understand the specific exemptions in your province, it is crucial to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee who can provide personalized guidance based on your circumstances.

Will I Lose Everything?

One common concern individuals have when considering bankruptcy is whether they will lose everything. It’s important to recognize that bankruptcy is not meant to be punitive but rather provides individuals with protection from creditors and an opportunity for a fresh start. While bankruptcy does require surrendering non-exempt assets to the trustee, the exemptions in place ensure that individuals can retain essential assets and maintain a reasonable standard of living.

The goal of bankruptcy is to help individuals overcome overwhelming debt and achieve financial stability. By working with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, you can navigate the bankruptcy process and understand the specific exemptions applicable to your situation. Trustees are experienced professionals who can guide you through each step and ensure that you make informed decisions regarding your assets.

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Conclusion

Filing for bankruptcy does not necessarily mean losing everything. Bankruptcy exemptions in Canada allow individuals to keep certain assets essential for maintaining a basic standard of living. These exemptions vary by province and include personal items, clothing, household furniture, motor vehicles, tools of the trade, and certain pension plans. Understanding the bankruptcy exemptions specific to your province is crucial for individuals considering bankruptcy.

Remember, bankruptcy is a complex legal process, and it’s important to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee who can provide personalized advice based on your circumstances. By working with a professional, you can navigate the bankruptcy process, protect your essential assets, and pave the way for a fresh financial start.

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I was feeling overwhelmed by my credit debt, constantly receiving calls and letters from debt collectors, which caused a great deal of stress. It seemed like there was no way out of this situation. However, I discovered Bankruptcy Canada while listening to my local talk radio station. This organization proved to be friendly, empathetic, knowledgeable, and professional, with extensive experience in their field.

During our initial meeting, they took the time to understand my debt and financial circumstances. They explained the various options available to me and helped create a personalized plan that would be most beneficial for my situation. With their assistance, I was able to avoid declaring bankruptcy by presenting a consumer proposal to my creditors. Fortunately, my proposal was accepted, and I am extremely relieved to finally be free of debt, all thanks to BankruptcyCanada. The burden on my shoulders feels significantly lighter now, and I truly believe that Bankruptcy Canada has the most skilled specialists in debt relief.

Geoffrey,

Toronto

How Bankruptcy Works in Canada

It is recommended that individuals seeking solutions for their debt problems thoroughly research all available options, including alternatives to bankruptcy. Personal bankruptcy, governed by the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act, allows for the discharge of debts and provides immediate protection from creditor actions. Contrary to popular belief, individuals do not lose all their assets when declaring bankruptcy. In {City}, individuals filing for bankruptcy can retain one motor vehicle without liens or loans up to a certain exemption limit. Personal belongings, household furniture, and appliances are usually covered by exemptions as well. Ontario law also permits homeowners to retain the equity in their homes, up to a certain value. However, as most {City} homes exceed this limit, exploring options like a consumer proposal may be advisable to keep the home while addressing the debt.

The cost of bankruptcy depends on the individual’s monthly income, family size, and obligations such as child support or medical expenses. Those with higher incomes may be required to make monthly payments into the bankruptcy process. This can make bankruptcy expensive, especially for individuals in {City} Filing a consumer proposal can be an alternative to avoid these costs.

To be eligible for bankruptcy, individuals must meet certain criteria outlined in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. This includes having more than $1,000 in debt, owing more than what they own, and being unable to repay their debts. The duration of bankruptcy varies depending on factors such as surplus income and whether it is a first or second bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy provides two main benefits: the elimination of debts and protection from creditors. Once bankruptcy is filed, creditors are prohibited from taking legal actions such as wage garnishments or court proceedings. A licensed insolvency trustee, like Bankruptcy Canada, serves as an impartial party and ensures compliance with the bankruptcy process. They provide advice on debt consolidation, credit counseling, consumer proposals, and other alternatives to bankruptcy. The trustee also assists with understanding the bankruptcy process, completing required duties, and obtaining a discharge certificate. It is important to work with a licensed insolvency trustee when filing for bankruptcy.

The process of filing for bankruptcy involves booking a free consultation with a debt professional to assess the situation and review options. If bankruptcy is chosen, an information form is completed to provide the necessary details for the required paperwork. The trustee will explain the bankruptcy process, answer questions, and guide the individual through the application, which will be submitted electronically to officially declare bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Alternatives in {City}

The majority of insolvencies filed in {City}, more than 7 out of 10, are consumer proposals. We strongly recommend that {City} residents consider a consumer proposal as an alternative to bankruptcy. BankruptcyCanada also offers consumer proposal services in the city.

A consumer proposal is a debt settlement offer that you make to your creditors to resolve your debts. It is legally binding, approved by the government, and filed through a bankruptcy trustee. It is an effective way to avoid declaring bankruptcy entirely. In fact, almost 80% of insolvency filings in the {City} area are consumer proposals.

With a consumer proposal, you offer to pay a portion of your debts to your creditors. Similar to bankruptcy, a consumer proposal provides legal protection from your creditors, stopping wage garnishments and collection calls. However, unlike bankruptcy, you can retain all of your assets, such as your house, car, and investments. Additionally, the payment amount does not increase if your income goes up.