Understanding Judgements, Liens, and Garnishments in Canada

Judgements, Liens, and Garnishments

Financial hardships can strike any time, leading to complex legal situations such as judgements, liens, and wage garnishments. It’s crucial to comprehend these terms and your rights if you ever find yourself in such circumstances. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide about these financial terms and the actions you can take in Canada.

Understanding Judgements

A judgement is a formal decision made by a court in response to a lawsuit. If a creditor wins a judgement against you, it doesn’t mean they control your financial life indefinitely. It’s crucial to realize that with the right help and actions, you can protect your rights and financial future.

Liens Explained

A lien is a claim or legal right against assets that are used to settle a debt. It serves as collateral until the debt is fully paid. In the event of a judgement against you, the creditor may attempt to place a lien on your property.

What is Wage Garnishment?

Wage garnishment is another method used by creditors to recoup their money. This involves deducting money from your salary to settle your debts. This action can only be taken after obtaining a court order and can be a stressful experience.

Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal

Filing for bankruptcy or a consumer proposal can help you regain control of your financial situation. When you file for either, all actions by your creditors are halted. This includes any new actions they might want to take, as well as existing ones, which are put on hold as of the filing date.

Action Against Judgements

Even with a judgement against you, you still have time to take action. There’s typically a delay period before a judgement can be enforced, giving you an opportunity to plan your next steps. This delay varies depending on the type of action and the province you are in. You can find more information by speaking with a trustee near you.

Wage Garnishment Removal

If you’re already facing wage garnishment, filing for bankruptcy or a proposal can halt it almost instantly. Your trustee will notify your employer upon your filing, enabling the removal of any garnishment not yet processed by the payroll department.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Liens

Certain liens, such as those filed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or Revenue Quebec in Quebec, survive even after filing for bankruptcy or a proposal. A lien against your property by the CRA cannot be removed by either action.

Including Tax Debts in Bankruptcy or Proposal

If you owe money to the CRA and they haven’t filed a lien yet, these tax debts can be included in your bankruptcy or proposal. This will halt any future actions from the CRA.

Seeking Help from a Trustee

If a judgement, seizure lien, or garnishment has been actioned against you, it’s crucial to seek advice from a trustee immediately. They can guide you on how to handle the situation and what steps to take next.


Understanding judgements, liens, and garnishments is the first step in taking control of your financial situation. You have rights and options, even when faced with these challenging circumstances. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this alone. Reach out to a trustee for help and take the necessary steps towards financial stability.

Find Your Personal Debt Relief Solution

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are here to help. Get a free assessment of your options.

Discuss options to get out of debt with a trained & licensed debt relief professional.