Role of The Superintendent of Bankruptcy In Canada

Safeguarding Canadians: The Role of The Superintendent of Bankruptcy In Canada

The Bankruptcy Superintendent’s Office in Canada (BSOC), a unique operational agency under Industry Canada, is tasked with ensuring the integrity of the bankruptcy and insolvency system, thereby benefiting investors, lenders, consumers, and the general public.

The Appointment and Responsibilities of the Superintendent

The Bankruptcy Superintendent is appointed by an Order in Council and holds the role of the chief executive. The Superintendent’s main mandate is to oversee all estates administered under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). The Superintendent’s responsibility extends to licensing, supervising, and disciplining trustees according to laws and directives.

Primary Goal of the Bankruptcy Superintendent’s Office

A crucial goal of the Bankruptcy Superintendent’s Office (BSOC) is to “uphold investor and lender confidence in the Canadian marketplace by safeguarding the integrity of the bankruptcy and insolvency system.” This upkeeps the smooth and fair conduct of bankruptcies and insolvencies. It also supervises the administration of estates in bankruptcy, commercial reorganizations, consumer proposals, and receiverships.

Further, the BSOC maintains a publicly accessible record of all bankruptcy and insolvency filings under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) and of the proceedings under Companies’ Creditor Arrangement Act (CCAA).

Delegation of Duties

Often, the Bankruptcy Superintendent delegates some of his or her duties to Official Receivers (O.R.) and Senior Bankruptcy Analysts (SBA). The Official Receivers carry out statutory duties, including trustee appointment when a debtor files an assignment in bankruptcy, chairing creditors meetings (often delegating to the trustees to do so), and conducting Section 161 examination of the debtors under the BIA.

Meanwhile, the Senior Bankruptcy Analysts contribute to the supervision and monitoring of licensed trustees by implementing monitoring and intervention programs.

Role of a Licensed Trustee

A licensed Trustee operates as an officer of the court and must always remain independent of any influences that could potentially affect or appear to affect the administration of an estate in bankruptcy.

While a Trustee takes on an advisory and guiding role, the relationship between a debtor and trustee cannot supersede his duties and obligations to the remaining stakeholders in the insolvency process. There is no solicitor-client privilege between a trustee and a debtor. Yet, the BIA rules and the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) rules prohibit a trustee from disclosing confidential information to the public unless required by law or with the permission of the debtor.

Clarity in Confusing Times

Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal filing can be a bewildering time, especially when trying to understand your rights and the role of your Trustee. When interacting with a licensed Trustee, do not hesitate to ask the questions necessary to help you fully comprehend the process before taking any further steps.


The importance of the Bankruptcy Superintendent’s role in Protecting Canadians cannot be overstated. The process of bankruptcy and insolvency is deeply complex and can be a challenging time for anyone involved. Having a system in place, overseen by a designated Superintendent and implemented by licensed Trustees, ensures that all parties are treated fairly and the process is conducted in an orderly fashion.

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