CONSUMER PROPOSAL FAQS
Is your debt overwhelming? Are collection calls getting to you? Are you making interest payments but not payments towards the principal amounts you owe? Are you thinking about filing for bankruptcy? If you are seriously considering bankruptcy, you may want to find out if you qualify for a consumer proposal. Many individuals are opting for a consumer proposal and leaving bankruptcy as an option of last resort.
The government of Canada resource on Consumer proposals can be found here.
What is a Consumer Proposal in Edmonton?
A consumer proposal is a legal process administered under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act between you and your creditors to resolve your outstanding debt. The result is a negotiated settlement that requires you to pay all or a portion of your unsecured debts over a maximum five-year period. The agreement you make with your creditors will depend on your income and the amount you own.
What is the Purpose?
The purpose of a consumer proposal is to make it easier for you to make the payments you owe by reducing the amount and extending the total time to make payment. The option is a win-win situation for both you and your creditors, when compared to the alternative of personal bankruptcy.
What Can a Consumer Proposal Include?
A consumer proposal can encompass most unsecured debt, which is debt not backed by collateral. Common types of unsecured debt that may be included in a consumer proposal are:
- Lines of credit
- Personal loans
- Credit cards
- Department store credit
- Payday loans
- Income tax debts
- Certain student loans (if you have been out of school longer than 7 years)
What Can’t a Consumer Proposal Include?
A few types of unsecured debt are excluded from a consumer proposal (unless a creditor agrees to include it), such as:
- Child and spousal support payments
- Court fines and penalties
- Debts due to fraud
- Certain student loans (if you have been a student within the last 7 years)
A consumer proposal also does not include payments on secured debt, such as a mortgage or car loan.
How Would a Consumer Proposal Benefit Me?
Like filing for bankruptcy, you would obtain immediate protection from creditors. No more telephone calls, collection activities or legal action from your unsecured creditors. No more wage garnishments and/or writs (of seizure and sale) during the consumer proposal process either.
As the debtor, you can expect to pay less of the total amount you owe in a new payment plan that extends up to five years. Interest typically stops accumulating and you may receive reduced administrative fees.
A tremendous advantage of a consumer proposal is that, in preparing a plan where you cooperate with your creditors, you do not risk equity in your home, car, or your other assets.
The impact on your credit rating will also be less, with an R7 rating in a consumer proposal instead of a more harmful R9 rating in bankruptcy. Also, an R7 rating will stay on your file for 3 years after your consumer proposal finishes, while an R9 rating will stay on your file for approximately 7 years.
How Would my Creditors Benefit?
A consumer proposal, by design, allows your creditors to obtain a greater financial benefit than what they would receive through bankruptcy. Your creditors may collect a one-time lump sum payment, more frequent payments than in bankruptcy, and collect more total payment than under bankruptcy.
Do I Qualify?
To be eligible for a consumer proposal, you must have:
- Debts greater than $1,000 but less than $250,000, excluding the secured debts owing on your principal residence; and
- The demonstrated ability to make regular payments.
If you owe more than $250,000, then a Division I Proposal may be available to you.
How Does the Process Work?
With your input, a consumer proposal is prepared by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, who acts in the capacity of Proposal Administrator. With your consent, the Proposal Administrator files your consumer proposal with the Official Receiver and your creditors. Your creditors then have 45 days to accept or reject the proposal with a voting letter.
A meeting of the creditors is held if it is requested by 25% of the dollar value of your creditors (not 25% of your creditors). If a creditors meeting is held, it is to discuss the proposal with you and your Licensed Insolvency Trustee and to approve or reject the proposal. The court may also be asked for approval, but this is rare.
If the proposal is rejected, it can be withdrawn, rewritten and attempted again or you may file for bankruptcy.
If, after 45 days, a meeting is not called, the proposal is deemed to be accepted. Once it is accepted, you must begin making agreed payments (monthly or lump sum) and the total repayment amount agreed must be completed within a maximum time period of 5 years.
If the proposal is accepted and you default on those terms, then the proposal may be deemed abandoned by you and your creditors can pursue legal action.
Contact Fox Miles & Associates to Assess and Explain Your Debt Options
At our firm in Edmonton, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can answer the questions you may have about your unique debt situation. We can help you with the option of filing a consumer proposal in Edmonton. We can meet with you right away and our consultation is confidential and free. Call us at 780-444-3939 so we can help. Don’t let debt overwhelm you anymore.