Facing Garnishment of Wages in Alberta? Protect your rights

Are you facing wage garnishment in Alberta? It’s vital to be aware of your rights during this process. At the same time, you need as much information as possible surrounding the topic to help you move forward in the best direction. In this post, we provide you with that information, so don’t miss it.

UNDERSTANDING WAGE GARNISHMENT

If you owe a debt and cannot repay it, the court may allow the creditor to take the money owed from your paycheck. This process is known as “wage garnishment.”

If creditors seek to garnish your wages to satisfy a debt, they must adhere to specific rules and procedures. If you are struggling to pay a debt, garnishment of your wages can make a challenging situation worse. That’s why it’s crucial to know your rights if you’re facing wage garnishment in Alberta, and you should consider debt counselling to learn about ways to avoid being subject to a wage garnishment order.

In this blog, our licensed insolvency trustee discusses your rights concerning wage garnishment in the province of Alberta. If you need additional information, want to talk about your options for getting out of debt, or have questions about how the garnishment rules and procedure apply in your unique financial situation, call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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HOW IS GARNISHMENT DEFINED?

Garnishment is a legal procedure that a creditor can take after the court grants a judgment against you.

The creditor must first go to court and establish that a debt is owing.

If they establish that a debt is owing, the creditor gets a judgment against you as the debtor. And then, the court issues a summons.

The summons allows the creditor to take your assets to satisfy the debt. Each province has specific rules on which assets a creditor can seize to satisfy a debt.

The creditor can take your assets (if not exempt) and can request a garnishment from the court to permit them to take the money owed (“garnishee”) from many sources. These include your paycheck, bank account, or money owed to you by others (for example, your accounts receivable if you are self-employed).

(For more Edmonton debt help, visit this post next to learn about financially surviving a layoff)

WHAT IS WAGE GARNISHMENT?

If your employer receives a garnishee summons, your employer has a legal obligation to pay a portion of your wages to the court. These wages are, in turn, paid to the creditor until you pay your debt completely.

Here are some crucial points to be aware of:

  • There is a limit to how much of your wages can be taken. See the next section for a discussion of the minimum and maximum exemptions.
  • Your employer is not allowed to dismiss you because your wages are being garnished.

Note: a creditor cannot garnish your wages without a court order unless the creditor is a credit union or the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”).

In addition to there being no requirement for a court order for garnishment to pay taxes owed to the CRA, a garnishee summons isn’t necessary for student loans or child support. However, a child support order is necessary for the provincial maintenance enforcement program to garnish your wages.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR WAGES CAN BE GARNISHED?

This is one of the most common questions clients ask us about wage garnishment.

The minimum exemption is $800 per month, and the maximum exemption is $2,400, net of taxes.

So, if you have no dependents, Alberta law permits you to keep the first $800 of your monthly net income. Then, creditors can garnish half of your monthly net income between $800 and $2,400 and all of your net income over $2,400.

If you have dependents, the minimum and the maximum exemptions are increased by $200 for each dependent. 

 

CAN YOU AVOID GARNISHMENT OR STOP GARNISHMENT FROM HAPPENING?

If you are struggling to pay your debt and are worried about a wage garnishment order, talk to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for debt counselling and discuss your options as soon as possible. (Learn more about why you can trust a LIT in this post)

Depending on the type of debt (e.g., secured vs. unsecured), it may be possible to negotiate with creditors before the garnishment proceedings begin or to renegotiate the terms of the garnishment order if the court has already issued it.

Alternatively, a consumer proposal or personal bankruptcy may be the best course of action to get you out from under the debt, depending on your financial situation. A significant benefit of both consumer proposals and personal bankruptcy is that both immediately stop wage garnishment.

The money will no longer be taken out of your wages. It also means harassing phone calls from creditors will cease. 

SCHEDULE YOUR FREE DEBT COUNSELLING CONSULTATION IN EDMONTON

Are you in debt or facing wage garnishment? Get in touch with our compassionate and expert team of debt counsellors today. 

Fox-Miles & Associates Inc. offers professional debt counselling in Edmonton from certified credit counsellors. If you’re unsure if credit counselling is right for you, read six signs if this is the right move in this post.

Our trustees make recommendations based on your financial circumstances and their experience in the field. We’re here to show you the way out of debt. For debt counselling in Edmonton, call our offices today at 780-444-3939. Your first consultation is free.

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