RRSPs and Bankruptcy

2010-02-24   minute read

Bradley Milne

In November of 2007, the Manitoba government introduced new legislation called the Manitoba RRSP Protection Act. Under this legislation, RRSPs, deferred profit sharing plans and RRIFs were protected from the enforcement process. They are now exempt and as such cannot be liquidated in bankruptcy.  The federal Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act was also amended in July of 2008 making RRSPs exempt.

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There is some recourse for investigating transactions in the year prior to bankruptcy. For example, if you had $2,000 in a non-registered GIC and, before bankruptcy, moved it into an RRSP (that would be exempt) the Trustee may be able to reverse the transaction on the basis that it was done to evade creditors.

Someone with a large RRSP and a comparatively small amount of debt should not use the bankruptcy process to get rid of the debt while keeping the investment. This becomes a fairness issue and, in this case, the Trustee may consider making a court application to have some of the funds liquidated and/or a monetary condition paid into the bankruptcy estate.

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