What is a Consumer Proposal in BC?

Exploring Consumer Proposals in BC

What is a Consumer Proposal in BC‍In British Columbia, individuals who find themselves in dire financial situations have several options to consider. One of the most popular and effective methods of dealing with overwhelming debt is through a Consumer Proposal. But what exactly is a Consumer Proposal in BC, and how does it work? This comprehensive guide will shed light on this government-approved debt relief program and how it operates within the Canadian province of British Columbia.

Understanding Consumer Proposal: The Basics

A Consumer Proposal is a legally binding agreement that allows debtors (individuals who owe money) to offer to pay their creditors a portion of what is owed, rather than the full amount. This agreement is facilitated and administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) who acts as the mediator between the debtor and the creditors.

Key Features of a Consumer Proposal

  1. Zero Interest on Unsecured Debt: Once a Consumer Proposal is filed, the interest on the unsecured debt is frozen.
  2. Protection from Collection Actions: Creditors are legally prohibited from taking any collection action against the debtor.
  3. One Affordable Monthly Payment: The debtor makes a single monthly payment that covers all unsecured debts.
  4. Control Over Assets: Unlike bankruptcy, filing a Consumer Proposal allows the debtor to retain control over their assets and tax refund.

Consumer Proposal Versus Bankruptcy

While both a Consumer Proposal and bankruptcy are viable options for debt relief, they have distinct differences. The primary distinction lies in the way they handle assets. In bankruptcy, an individual may be required to surrender their assets. In contrast, a Consumer Proposal allows individuals to keep their assets, making it an attractive alternative to bankruptcy.

Debts That Can Be Included in a Consumer Proposal

A Consumer Proposal typically includes unsecured debts. These are debts that do not have any physical asset, like a house or car, guaranteeing repayment. Examples of unsecured debts include:

  • Credit card debt.
  • Lines of credit.
  • Overdraft fees.
  • Tax debt owed to the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Student loans (if the debtor has been out of school for seven years).
  • Payday loans.
  • Personal debts.
  • Department store cards.

Qualifying for a Consumer Proposal in BC

To be eligible to file a Consumer Proposal in BC, an individual must reside in Canada or conduct business in the country and owe between $1,000 and $250,000, excluding the mortgage on their principal residence.

The Process of Filing a Consumer Proposal

Filing a Consumer Proposal involves a series of steps:

  1. Initial Consultation: This involves meeting with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) to discuss the financial situation and explore whether a Consumer Proposal is a suitable option.
  2. Filing the Proposal: If a Consumer Proposal is deemed appropriate, the debtor fills out an application with the assistance of the LIT. The LIT then files the Proposal with the Federal Government.
  3. Creditor Voting: After the filing, creditors receive a copy of the Proposal and have 45 days to vote on whether to accept it.
  4. Implementing the Proposal: Once the Proposal is accepted, the debtor begins making the agreed-upon payments. They are also required to attend two financial counselling sessions.
  5. Completion: Upon completion of the payments, the debtor receives a Certificate of Full Performance, and the included debts are legally discharged.

The Impact of a Consumer Proposal on Credit Rating

While a Consumer Proposal provides substantial relief from debt, it does affect one’s credit rating. When a Consumer Proposal is completed, a note remains on the debtor’s credit report for three years. Over time, with responsible credit usage and consistent payment of any new debts, the individual’s credit score can recover.

The Role of Licensed Insolvency Trustees

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) plays a crucial role in the process of filing a Consumer Proposal. As government-licensed professionals, they are the only ones authorized to administer Consumer Proposals. They act as the mediator between the debtor and the creditors, ensuring a fair and transparent process.


A Consumer Proposal in BC is a powerful tool for individuals struggling with unmanageable debt. It provides a pathway to financial recovery while allowing individuals to retain their assets and regain control of their financial situation. However, like any significant financial decision, it’s essential to seek professional advice to ensure it’s the right solution for your specific circumstances.

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