Second Bankruptcy Filing Canada

Second Bankruptcy Filing CanadaThe realm of personal finance is fraught with challenges, and at times, even the most vigilant individuals may find themselves in the throes of financial distress. Bankruptcy is a legal solution designed to offer relief in such situations. However, what if someone has to file for bankruptcy a second time in Canada? This comprehensive guide seeks to shed light on the complexities of Second Bankruptcy Filing Canada.

Understanding Bankruptcy

First Bankruptcy Filing

Filing for personal bankruptcy for the first time in Canada provides a debtor with a fresh start. The process, governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), typically allows for an automatic discharge after nine months if the debtor has no surplus income.

Second Bankruptcy Filing

However, the landscape changes considerably when it comes to the Second Bankruptcy Filing Canada. The rules become more stringent, and the process is lengthier as compared to the first-time filing.

The Difference Between First and Second Bankruptcy

The primary contrast between the first and second bankruptcy filing lies in the discharge period. For the first-time bankruptcy, one can expect an automatic discharge in as few as nine months. However, a second-time bankruptcy extends the discharge period to a minimum of twenty-four months, which can stretch up to thirty-six months if there’s a requirement to make surplus income payments.

Surplus Income: A Closer Look

Surplus income plays a crucial role in bankruptcy proceedings. It can significantly impact both the duration of the bankruptcy and the amount repaid to creditors. But what exactly is surplus income?


In the context of bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, surplus income refers to the amount of money a debtor earns above the government-defined threshold within a one-month period. If a debtor’s income exceeds this threshold by $200 or more per month, a portion of that income must be paid into the bankruptcy.


The principle behind surplus income is fairness. If a debtor can afford to, they should contribute to repaying their creditors. While it’s not discouraged to earn surplus income, having it does extend the duration of bankruptcy. This applies to both first and second bankruptcy filings.

What if Bankruptcy Lasts Longer than 36 Months?

While the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act sets general guidelines, there are situations where the bankruptcy period might exceed the standard 24 or 36 months. This generally occurs when a creditor or trustee opposes the bankruptcy discharge.

Grounds for Opposition

Oppositions to bankruptcy discharge may arise if a creditor or the trustee believes that the debtor acted dishonestly or failed to complete their duties in bankruptcy. Under such circumstances, they may apply to the Court to schedule a hearing.

Consequences of Opposition

The process of waiting for the court date and completing any additional duties will inevitably delay the discharge of the bankruptcy. This can extend the duration of the bankruptcy beyond the standard 24 or 36 months.

Evaluating Other Options: Consumer Proposals

Given the implications of a Second Bankruptcy Filing Canada, it’s prudent for debtors to explore other options. A consumer proposal may be a viable alternative.

Understanding Consumer Proposals

A consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement between a debtor and their creditors. It allows the debtor to pay back a portion of their debts over a specified period, usually up to five years.

Advantages of Consumer Proposals

A significant advantage of consumer proposals is the stability of monthly payments. These remain constant and are not affected by any changes in the debtor’s income during the proposal’s term. This can offer a degree of financial predictability that bankruptcy may not provide.

Making an Informed Decision

The decision to file for a second bankruptcy in Canada should not be taken lightly. It’s critical to understand its implications, including the prolonged bankruptcy discharge.

Consulting a Licensed Insolvency Trustee

Before taking the plunge, it’s advisable to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). LITs are professionals authorized to provide advice about both bankruptcy and consumer proposals. They can offer a no-charge initial consultation to discuss the individual’s situation and answer any questions.


Filing for bankruptcy, especially for the second time, can be a daunting prospect. However, understanding the process, implications, and available alternatives can help individuals navigate this challenging terrain with greater confidence. The Second Bankruptcy Filing Canada is indeed a complex process, but with the right guidance and information, it may serve as a path towards financial recovery.

Remember, the goal is not just to find a way out of the financial crisis, but to do so in a manner that is fair, manageable, and ultimately, leads to a better financial future.

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