Avoiding Bankruptcy through Consumer Proposals

In Canada, a person can file a consumer proposal as an alternative to bankruptcy. A consumer proposal is a negotiated settlement between a debtor and their creditors.

A typical proposal would involve a debtor making monthly payments for a maximum of five years, with the funds distributed to their creditors. Even though most proposals call for payments of less than the full amount of the debt owing, in most cases, the creditors will accept the deal, because if they don’t, the next alternative may be personal bankruptcy, where the creditors will get even less money. The creditors have 45 days to accept or reject the consumer proposal. Once the proposal is accepted the debtor makes the payments to the Proposal Administrator each month, and the creditors are prevented from taking any further legal or collection action. If the proposal is rejected, the debtor may have no alternative but to declare personal bankruptcy.

A consumer proposal can only be made by a debtor with debts of up to $250,000 (not including the mortgage on their principal residence). If debts are greater than $250,000, the proposal must be filed under Division 1 of Part III of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. The assistance of a Proposal Administrator is required. A Proposal Administrator is generally a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in bankruptcy.