Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge Canada

A Comprehensive Guide on Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge in Canada

Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge CanadaStudent loans can be a significant financial burden, and for those struggling to repay them, understanding the intricacies of Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge in Canada can provide a valuable lifeline. This guide aims to offer a comprehensive overview of the topic.

Types of Student Loans

Before diving into the specifics of Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge in Canada, it’s crucial to distinguish between the types of student loans.

Government-Issued Student Loans

These loans are provided by the provincial and federal governments. Specific rules apply to these loans when considering bankruptcy or consumer proposal.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans or lines of credit issued by a bank or other private lender are treated like any other unsecured debt and can be included in a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal without any waiting period.

Understanding Bankruptcy and Student Loan Debt

The interplay between bankruptcy and student loan debt in Canada is governed by specific laws. The Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act excludes government-guaranteed student loans from automatic discharge if the borrower has been a full or part-time student at any time in the past seven years. However, there are exceptions to this rule, which we’ll discuss later.

The Seven-Year Rule

The seven-year rule is a key aspect of understanding Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge in Canada. Simply put, it stipulates that student loan debt will be eliminated if the individual declares personal bankruptcy or makes a debt proposal to creditors through a consumer proposal, provided it has been more than seven years since they ceased to be a student.

Impact of Bankruptcy on Other Debts

If an individual has debts other than student loans, such as credit card debts, lines of credit, or payday loans, filing for bankruptcy or a consumer proposal could still be beneficial. Although it might not directly affect student loans if the seven-year rule isn’t met, it can help clear other debts and make repaying student loans more manageable.

Repayment Assistance Programs

The federal government offers several assistance programs to help those struggling with student loan repayments. These include:

  1. Revision of terms: Borrowers experiencing financial hardship may extend their repayment period, which would make monthly payments more affordable. However, this would result in paying more interest over the lifetime of the loan.
  2. Repayment Assistance Plan: Low-income Canadians and those with a permanent disability may qualify for financial support from the federal government to help pay down student loans.

Early Relief Option

For individuals experiencing significant financial difficulties, there’s a provision that allows for student loans to be discharged within five years instead of seven. This option is available to those who’ve completed a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal or have no other debts.

Bankruptcy and Private Student Loans

Private student loans, such as student lines of credit or student credit card debts, are eligible for automatic discharge under the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act, regardless of how old they are. This is applicable for student loans that are not guaranteed by the Ontario or Canadian government.

Dealing with Student Loans Less Than Seven Years Old

If a student loan is less than seven years old, there are still options that can make repayment more manageable. These include negotiating new payment arrangements, asking for a temporary reduction in payments, or applying for a hardship reduction.

The Role of Licensed Insolvency Trustees

Navigating the complexities of student loan bankruptcy discharge in Canada can be challenging. Licensed Insolvency Trustees are professionals qualified to advise on bankruptcies and consumer proposals. They can provide valuable insights into whether you might qualify for early relief or may benefit from payment support programs until your student loans are eligible for inclusion in an insolvency proceeding.


While the prospect of student loan debt can be daunting, understanding the nuances of Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge in Canada can provide some relief. It’s important to seek professional advice and explore all available options before making a decision.

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