In your personal life, the only people who will know about your bankruptcy are those who you choose to inform. The exception to this is if they are a co-signer on a loan or credit card because they are then considered a creditor and must be notified under the bankruptcy laws.
The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) is a federal agency that keeps a list of individuals and business that have declared bankruptcy in Canada. Records of bankruptcies are considered public and businesses or individuals can pay a fee to the agency and do a check of your name to see if you are bankrupt.
The OSB creates an updated list of bankruptcies each month and notifies the credit bureaus that do business in Canada (see After Bankruptcy: Rebuilding Your Credit for more information on credit bureaus). Typically, the credit bureaus remove your bankruptcy notation after six to seven years from the bankruptcy’s court discharge of your debts.
In Canada, the major credit bureaus are:
- TransUnion Canada
- Equifax Canada
Notice to Creditors
Your licensed insolvency trustee must send a Notice to Creditors within five days of receiving a Certificate of Appointment from the OSB. This notification is sent to every creditor listed on your bankruptcy application—credit card companies, banks, department stores, money marts, friends or family who have co-signed loans or made personal loans, etc.
Your licensed insolvency trustee has no reason to notify your employer unless:
- It is necessary to stop a garnishment of wages
- To obtain tax information that you have failed to give to your licensed insolvency trustee
- You work in a profession where you are responsible for money
- Your work in a profession that has licensing rules that forbids bankruptcy (usually within a time limit).
If you are concerned about what happens at work if you declare bankruptcy, be sure to bring up these worries with a licensed insolvency trustee during your first, free meeting. If your job is affected by bankruptcy, your licensed insolvency trustee can usually suggest a solution to work around the problem.
This is during the period of being an undischarged bankrupt (be it for 9 months or longer).
By law, you are required to inform any potential lender (credit card, bank, payday lender, computer purchase, a furniture retailer, etc.) that you are bankrupt if you are trying to borrow more than $500. You can be charged with fraud if you do not notify your creditors of your bankruptcy status.
In a few bankruptcies, where the value of the bankrupt’s assets is high, the licensed insolvency trustee may have to publish a notice to creditors in the newspaper. This is rare. Typically, bankruptcies only make the paper or TV when the person involved is considered important enough to be of interest.
Creditors that probably won’t be notified
Your licensed insolvency trustee is unlikely to notify the following types of creditors if you are intending to keep their services under an existing account and, in the case of housing, are up to date on rent payments: landlords, gas company, phone company, electricity company, water and sewage, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is bankruptcy in Canada?
- Will bankruptcy wipe out all my debts?
- Will bankruptcy stop my creditors harassing me?
- What are the advantages of bankruptcy?
- What are the disadvantages of bankruptcy?
- What is the difference between a consumer proposal and bankruptcy?
- What causes bankruptcy?
- What is a licensed insolvency trustee?
- Can I choose my own licensed insolvency trustee?
- Does the licensed insolvency trustee work for me?
- Will the licensed insolvency trustee come to my house?
- Are my tax debts forgiven in bankruptcy?
- Are tax debts different from other debts during bankruptcy?
- Why did my licensed insolvency trustee tell me to file all outstanding tax returns?
- How long does bankruptcy last?
- What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
- What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
- What are my responsibilities if I go bankrupt?
- Am I eligible to file for bankruptcy?
- I have filed for bankruptcy, but why am I still getting calls and letters from collection agencies?
- When should I declare bankruptcy?
- Does it cost anything to declare bankruptcy?
- Should I feel bad that I declared bankruptcy?
- Do I have to list all my debts when filing for bankruptcy?
- What is required of me during bankruptcy?
- Why does my licensed insolvency trustee require me to fill out a budget?
- How do I make a budget for my bankruptcy assessment?
- Why does my licensed insolvency trustee need a monthly financial report?
- Why must I attend credit counselling in bankruptcy?
- Can you tell me about my debts and bankruptcy?
- Are there debts that I can’t get rid of during bankruptcy?
- I’m declaring bankruptcy because of taxes. Is this allowed?
- Will I still owe my student loan after bankruptcy?
- Can I keep my car during bankruptcy?
- Can I keep my RRSP during bankruptcy?
- Can I keep my home if I declare bankruptcy?
- Will I still be able to rent an apartment or home if I declare bankruptcy?
- Can I keep a credit card during bankruptcy?
- Is it okay to use a credit card if I am thinking about bankruptcy?
- Can I get a checking account after bankruptcy?
- If I’m married and I file for bankruptcy, does it affect my spouse’s credit?
- If I file for bankruptcy, will it be noted on my spouse’s credit file?
- Will filing for bankruptcy affect my job situation?
- Who will find out about my bankruptcy?
- Can I get utility services (telephone, cable, hydro, gas, etc.) after bankruptcy?
- Can I keep any money if I declare bankruptcy?
- Can I go to jail for not paying my debts?
- What happens if I live in both Canada and the U.S. and declare bankruptcy?
- Are there alternatives to bankruptcy?
- Can I avoid bankruptcy by changing my spending?
- What is the difference between a consumer proposal and a consolidation loan?
- Is a consumer proposal a better solution than a debt management plan?
- I can’t afford to pay back my student loan and it’s been less than seven years since I left school-what are my options?
- I co-signed on a loan for someone who declared bankruptcy. What happens now?
- If my spouse declares bankruptcy and I am listed on their credit cards, am I responsible for the debt?
- I am divorced and my ex has declared bankruptcy. Do I still owe for debts and credit cards that I co-signed with my spouse?
- What is surplus income?
- What are unsecured debts?
- What is a secured debt?
- The collection agency is threatening to take me to court: can they do that?
- What happens if a collection agency takes me to court?
- I am behind on my debt payments; can a collection agency take my furniture, electronics, clothes, etc.?
- I am being harassed by a collection agency: what can I do?
- How do I find out if someone is bankrupt?
- Can I stop a wage garnishment?