What is a Corporate Bankruptcy in Alberta

Imagine pouring your heart and soul into building a successful business, facing insurmountable debt and an uncertain future. “What is a corporate bankruptcy in Alberta?” you may ask. It is a legal process designed to help businesses that cannot repay their debts. Understanding the intricacies of corporate bankruptcy can make the difference between losing everything and finding a way to move forward.

Key Takeaways

  • Corporate bankruptcy in Alberta is a legal process that enables corporations to seek debt relief, overseen by the Court of King’s Bench.

  • Eligibility requirements include owing at least $1,000 and demonstrating financial distress. Businesses must collaborate with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) and consider potential consequences for stakeholders before filing for bankruptcy.

  • Alternatives such as Division I Proposals and business restructuring can help address financial issues while preserving assets without corporate bankruptcy.

A man looking at a document with the words "Corporate Bankruptcy" written on it
A picture of a legal document with the title 'Who can be a trustee in bankruptcy in Canada?' written on it.

Understanding Corporate Bankruptcy in Alberta

In Alberta, corporate bankruptcy is governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, which outlines the legal framework for businesses that cannot meet their financial obligations. Navigating this complex process requires the assistance of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), a highly qualified professional who ensures the equitable treatment of creditors.

Corporate bankruptcy involves liquidating corporate assets and the distribution of proceeds to creditors according to a specific order of priority. While secured creditors are paid first, the personal assets of shareholders, directors, officers, and employees are generally not affected, as corporations are considered independent legal entities.

Definition of Corporate Bankruptcy

Corporate bankruptcy in Alberta is a legal process that enables corporations, including small businesses, who cannot meet their obligations to seek debt relief. This process can be initiated when businesses cannot meet their financial obligations and must consider filing for bankruptcy.

The essential concepts related to corporate bankruptcy include:

  • Company insolvency

  • Reorganization

  • Disclosure documents

  • Stakeholders

  • Authority of the debtor-in-possession

In Alberta, two primary types of corporate bankruptcy are recognized: personal bankruptcy and business bankruptcy.

Legal Framework

Corporate bankruptcy in Alberta is regulated by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and is adjudicated by provincial courts. This federal legislation provides a legal structure for reorganizing and liquidating corporate entities, seeking to protect all parties involved in a corporate bankruptcy, including the debtor, creditors, and other stakeholders. In Canada’s broader bankruptcy context, the Insolvency Act plays a crucial role in maintaining financial stability and fairness.

The Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, one of the provincial courts, has jurisdiction over civil proceedings, including bankruptcy and insolvency cases. As such, the court can appoint a receiver or trustee to sell the assets of an insolvent company. The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act also specifies the treatment of debts incurred and credit received by a bankrupt estate.

Eligibility for Filing Corporate Bankruptcy

Businesses in Alberta must meet specific economic criteria and possess the proper corporate structure to qualify for corporate bankruptcy. Insolvency, defined as the corporation owing at least $1,000 and being unable to pay its debts, is the specified financial requirement for filing corporate bankruptcy in Alberta.

Different business structures, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, may have different requirements and implications when filing for bankruptcy. As a business owner, obtaining advice from a legal professional or bankruptcy trustee is key to understanding the implications of your business structure on your eligibility for corporate bankruptcy in Alberta.

Financial Thresholds

To qualify for corporate bankruptcy, businesses must be unable to meet their financial obligations, including business debts. In Alberta, this means the business must owe at least $1,000 in debts and be unable to pay them.

A corporation’s incapacity to fulfill financial obligations is measured using ratios such as the Debt Ratio and Debt-to-Equity Ratio. These ratios can help businesses determine their financial health and make informed decisions about their eligibility for corporate bankruptcy.

Business Structure

Alberta has no distinction between corporate bankruptcy and sole proprietorship bankruptcy. If an individual operates a sole proprietorship, there is no legal differentiation between them and the business. Thus, filing for bankruptcy as a sole proprietorship is fundamentally the same as filing for personal bankruptcy. This also applies to sole proprietorships and partnerships, as they share similar characteristics in terms of legal structure.

However, different eligibility requirements exist for different types of corporations in Alberta. These requirements may differ depending on the type of corporation, the corporation’s purpose, and the corporation’s income status. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the specific requirements for each type of corporation are met when filing for corporate bankruptcy.

The Role of Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LIT)

Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LITs) are instrumental in the corporate bankruptcy process. They are professionals who assist businesses in navigating the bankruptcy process, ensuring equitable treatment of creditors is maintained.

LITs provide valuable guidance to businesses facing financial difficulties by assessing their financial situation, offering advice on debt settlement options, and administering bankruptcy if necessary. Engaging a LIT is essential for businesses in Alberta contemplating bankruptcy filing.

Responsibilities of LITs

LITs are responsible for assessing a business’s financial position, advising on debt resolution options, and supervising the bankruptcy process when required. They possess specialized legal authority and are licensed by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). LITs are well-versed in aiding individuals and businesses with debt problems and can implement bankruptcy and proposal proceedings.

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee’s job also differs from that of other financial advisors, as they focus on financial planning, budgeting, and personal finances in general, without the legal authority and expertise of LITs. Their primary responsibility is assisting businesses in managing debt, helping debtors avoid bankruptcy if possible, and providing compassionate guidance.

  • Create a monthly budget and stick to it. When your expenses exceed your income, this leads to trouble.
  • Pay Your bills on time. Missed payments can negatively affect your credit score, so prioritize these payments, so you are not subject to late fees.
  • Make minimum payments on your credit card if you can’t manage the total amount.
  • Apply for a secured credit card. Use it for some of your monthly expenses, and always pay your bill on time to build your credit score.

Finding an LIT

Businesses may be able to locate a LIT in Alberta through referrals, online searches, or by contacting insolvency firms. Researching and comparing the services and fees of different LITs can help businesses find the most suitable professional to assist with their bankruptcy needs.

In addition to referrals and online searches, there are specific websites and databases for locating a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in Alberta, such as the websites of the University of Alberta Library, the Calgary Public Library, and the University of Calgary Library. These libraries provide access to various databases and resources that can aid in locating an LIT in Alberta.

A man looking at a document with the words "Filing for Bankruptcy" written on it
A man looking at a document with the words "Asset Liquidation and Distribution" written on it

Corporate Bankruptcy Process in Alberta

The corporate bankruptcy process in Alberta involves several essential steps, such as filing for bankruptcy, liquidating assets, and discharging debts. To initiate this process, businesses must collaborate with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to submit the appropriate documentation and notify creditors of the bankruptcy.

Businesses should comprehend the possible repercussions of filing for bankruptcy with a LIT, including asset liquidation and debt discharge of the business. The impact on stakeholders, such as employees and suppliers, should also be considered when deciding whether to file for corporate bankruptcy in Alberta.

Filing for Bankruptcy

When a business decides to file for bankruptcy, it must work closely with an LIT, who will review the corporation’s financial situation and provide expert recommendations on the next steps. The LIT will:

  • Review the corporation’s financial situation

  • Provide expert recommendations on the next steps

  • File the necessary documentation with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB)

After the necessary documentation is filed, the business will promptly cease payments on their unsecured debts, suspending any associated lawsuits.

Filing for bankruptcy can be difficult for businesses, but it is sometimes the best course of action to address overwhelming debt. Carefully considering the implications of filing for bankruptcy, including potential asset loss, credit damage, and impact on stakeholders like employees, suppliers, and creditors, is crucial.

Bankruptcy can relieve businesses struggling with insurmountable debt, allowing them to discharge their obligations and start fresh. Nonetheless, it’s vital to balance the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy against other debt settlement alternatives, like Division I Proposals or business restructuring, before deciding to declare bankruptcy, especially in small business bankruptcy cases.

Asset Liquidation and Distribution

During the corporate bankruptcy, the LIT will oversee the sale of the business’s assets and distribute the proceeds to creditors according to their priority. This may include selling property, equipment, and inventory to maximize the return for creditors while minimizing the impact on the business’s ongoing operations.

The order of priority for creditors to receive proceeds from asset liquidation is determined by factors such as:

  • Liquidator’s fees

  • Preferential creditors

  • Employee compensation

  • Secured creditors

  • Unsecured creditors

The Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) ensures that all creditors are treated fairly and equitably throughout the asset liquidation and distribution.

Discharge and Consequences

Once the bankruptcy process is complete, the business is discharged from its debts, meaning the legal obligation to repay the debts it had when filing for bankruptcy is relinquished. While this discharge can provide relief and a chance for a fresh start, it is essential to consider the long-term consequences of bankruptcy.

In Alberta, a company’s credit report can bear the mark of corporate bankruptcy for six to seven years from the discharge date. This can impact the business’s ability to obtain credit, enter into contracts, or secure financing in the future. Therefore, businesses must weigh the benefits of bankruptcy against the potential long-term effects before deciding.

A man looking at a document with the words "Alternatives to Corporate Bankruptcy" written on it
An image depicting the eligibility criteria for filing corporate bankruptcy in Alberta, including information on what is a corporate bankruptcy in Alberta.

Alternatives to Corporate Bankruptcy

For businesses seeking alternatives to corporate bankruptcy, other options are available, such as Division I Proposals and business restructuring. Both of these alternatives can help businesses address their financial issues and avoid the negative consequences associated with bankruptcy.

Exploring these alternatives might enable businesses to:

  • Find a solution better suited to their financial challenges

  • Allow retention of business assets

  • Prevent credit damage

  • Maintain healthier relationships with stakeholders like employees, suppliers, and creditors.

Division I Proposal

A Division I Proposal is an alternative debt solution to filing for bankruptcy that allows businesses to negotiate a repayment plan with creditors. This formal procedure, conducted by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, aims to reduce the total amount of debt owed by the debtor through an arrangement with unsecured creditors.

Division I Proposals can offer several advantages over bankruptcy, such as retaining all assets, circumventing bankruptcy, and having a predetermined payment amount. However, there are also disadvantages, such as the potential need to alter the debt amount and/or payment terms and the potential adverse effect on credit.

Before deciding if a Division I Proposal is the right solution for your business, carefully weigh its pros and cons.

Business Restructuring

Business restructuring involves significantly altering a company’s financial or operational structure. It is often undertaken when a company is experiencing financial difficulties or must adapt to new market conditions. This process can involve:

  • Reorganizing the company’s assets, liabilities, and operations

  • Enhancing efficiency

  • Reducing costs

  • Addressing financial issues

Restructuring can be a viable bankruptcy alternative, allowing businesses to improve their financial situation and avoid the negative consequences associated with bankruptcy. Some restructuring options available for companies in Alberta include:

  • Debt consolidation loans

  • Debt management programs

  • Consumer proposals

  • The Orderly Payment of Debts program

  • Formal restructuring processes.

Impact on Stakeholders

Corporate bankruptcy can significantly affect various stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, and creditors. The impact on stakeholders depends on the specific circumstances of the bankruptcy and the agreements or contracts in place.

Businesses must consider potential consequences for stakeholders when filing for corporate bankruptcy. Businesses can make more informed decisions about their financial future by carefully evaluating the impact on stakeholders.


Employees may experience job loss or modifications in their employment terms due to corporate bankruptcy. However, there are protections for employees during bankruptcy, such as the federal Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP), which provides reimbursement to eligible workers for unpaid wages, vacation pay, termination pay, and severance pay when their employer declares bankruptcy.

Despite these protections, the impact of corporate bankruptcy on employees can be significant and long-lasting. When filing for bankruptcy in Alberta, businesses should consider the potential impacts on employees.

Fox-Miles and Associates LIT

Fox-Miles and Associates, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee firm, can guide Alberta businesses through corporate bankruptcy. With over 35 years of experience, Rhonda Fox-Miles and her team are knowledgeable in dealing with insolvency situations. They can aid businesses in navigating the intricacies of the bankruptcy process.

They render support in managing debt, aiding debtors in avoiding bankruptcy if feasible, and supplying compassionate guidance throughout the process.

Suppliers and Creditors

Suppliers and creditors may not receive full repayment of their debts and may need to repossess goods or renegotiate contracts during corporate bankruptcy. In Alberta, unpaid suppliers are entitled to reclaim goods delivered within 30 days of the customer’s bankruptcy, and creditors have various rights during the bankruptcy process, such as priority of payment and the right to pursue collections from other available assets.

Comprehending the potential impacts on suppliers and creditors during corporate bankruptcy can aid businesses in making well-informed decisions about whether bankruptcy is the optimal path for their financial circumstances.


Corporate bankruptcy is a complex legal process that can significantly affect businesses and their stakeholders. Businesses can make informed decisions about their financial future by understanding the ins and outs of corporate bankruptcy, the role of Licensed Insolvency Trustees, the eligibility requirements, and the potential impact on stakeholders. Exploring alternatives to bankruptcy, such as Division I Proposals and business restructuring, can also help businesses find the best solution for their financial challenges and avoid the negative consequences of bankruptcy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of corporate bankruptcy?

Corporate bankruptcy aims to take the pressure and responsibility away from owners and provide for an orderly liquidation and collection of the company’s assets.

What happens during corporate bankruptcies?

In a corporate bankruptcy, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee is appointed to assess the company’s assets and liabilities and develop a plan to repay creditors. This may involve selling assets, restructuring debt or winding up the business.

What is an example of corporate bankruptcies?

Enron, WorldCom, and Lehman Brothers are prominent examples of corporate bankruptcies. However, other companies have been successful in emerging from bankruptcy as stronger entities.

Does corporate bankruptcy affect personal?

Filing for corporate bankruptcy can hurt your credit score, potentially causing long-term financial complications.

What is the primary difference between corporate bankruptcy and personal bankruptcy?

The primary difference between corporate and personal bankruptcy is that the former applies to businesses, while the latter pertains to individuals unable to pay off debt.