Protecting Canadians: The Superintendent of Bankruptcy In Canada

2015-08-07   minute read


Consumer Proposal

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy in Canada (OSB) is a special operating agency of Industry Canada that protects the integrity of the bankruptcy and insolvency system for the benefit of investors, lenders, consumers and the public.

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The Superintendent of Bankruptcy is appointed by an Order in Council and is the chief executive whose mandate it is to oversee all estates administered under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). It is the Superintendent of Bankruptcy who is responsible to licence, supervise and discipline trustees as per statutes and directives. An important mandate of the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) is to "maintain investor and lender confidence in the Canadian marketplace by protecting the integrity of the bankruptcy and insolvency system." This helps to ensure that bankruptcies and insolvencies are conducted in a fair and orderly manner, and supervises the administration of estates in bankruptcy, commercial reorganizations, consumer proposals and receiverships; while also maintaining a public accessible record of all bankruptcy and insolvency filings under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) and of the proceedings under Companies' Creditor Arrangement Act (CCAA).

Often the Superintendent of Bankruptcy will delegate some of his or her duties to Official Receivers (O.R.) and Senior Bankruptcy Analysts (SBA). The Official Receivers perform statutory duties including trustee appointment when a debtor files an assignment in bankruptcy, chairing creditors meetings (often delegating to the trustees to do so) and conducting Section 161 examination of the debtors under the BIA. The Senior Bankruptcy Analysts assist in the supervision and monitoring of licensed trustees by implementing the monitoring and intervention programs.

A licensed Trustee is an officer of the court and at all times must be independent of any influences that might affect or appear to effect the administration of an estate in bankruptcy. While a Trustee will take on an advisory and guiding role, the relationship between a debtor and trustee cannot take precedence over his duties and obligations to the remaining stakeholders in the insolvency process. There is no solicitor - client privilege between a trustee and a debtor. However, the BIA rules and the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) rules prohibit a trustee from disclosing confidential information to the public unless required by law or with the permission of the debtor.

Filing for Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal can be a confusing time, especially when trying to clarify your rights and the role of your Trustee. When meeting with a licensed Trustee, do not hesitate to ask the questions necessary to help you fully understand the process before moving forward.

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