Visiting a local trustee – why being local matters

2023-11-06  4 minute read

Joey Zanni

Lifestyle Debt

Financial Literacy Month: Part 4 of a 10-part blog series on your financial well-being?

Throughout November, consult this series of blog posts to learn more about your current finances — and how to set yourself on a path to financial freedom.


If your research into your personal finances shows that you have unmanageable debt, then working with a trusted advisor is going to be a huge part of your financial journey. Whether you’re filing for Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal, this will be one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. It’s only natural that choosing the right Licensed Insolvency Trustee will be almost just as important.

Let’s look at why having a trustee in your own backyard will make this challenging step as easy as possible to take.

What is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee?

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee is a trained, professional advisor who is an expert in debt management solutions. As federally regulated financial advisors, the trustees are the only professionals who can file a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal on your behalf. They are officially licensed through the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy and have to follow a code of ethics as well as government regulations. It is their job to act in your best interest, overseeing the paperwork of your journey through debt management.

Their duties include reviewing your unique financial situation. They’ll protect your rights as well as the rights of creditors you’re dealing with. As part of a Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal, they’ll deal directly with the creditors so you don’t have to, keeping you informed throughout the whole process. Even before or after the legal proceedings of insolvency, they are a resource you can use to manage your own financial habits and planning.

In Canada, most Licensed Insolvency Trustees, including those at MNP Debt, give free consultations. There are other advisors who will offer free consultations and follow-up advice for financial planning and debt relief, but only advisors licensed by the federal government can perform the duties of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. As you start meeting advisors and looking for a trustee who’s a good fit for you, working with someone local is an important part of the decision.

Meeting your Licensed Insolvency Trustee in person

By the law, Licensed Insolvency Trustees must offer to meet you in person. Before March 2020, virtual meetings with a trustee didn’t even exist. Of course, during the pandemic lockdowns, the rules had to be changed so that people could meet over video chat. If you prefer, you may still meet virtually. But according to the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act, it is your right to have an in-person meeting with your trustee when you request it — especially when you schedule your Assessment. And you’re going to meet in person, there are a lot of benefits of meeting somewhere close.

A lot of this simply comes down to convenience. Going through Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal are both processes that will take up a lot of time and energy in your daily life. Meeting with someone who has offices nearby makes it easier to plan meetings around your schedule, especially if you have extra challenges around commuting such as city transit, vehicle sharing, or planning around drop-offs and pick-ups for your kids at school and childcare.

Here are three more reasons why working with a local Licensed Insolvency Trustee should matter to you.

  1. Each province is different — While the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act is federal legislation that gives rights to debt relief to all Canadians, the application of insolvency laws also has provincial regulations. These differences include which assets are exempt in Bankruptcy, types of debts eligible for discharge, or even the procedures of local courts. Licensed Insolvency Trustees need to understand the local laws of each province to help you make the best decisions for your own debt relief, and to guide you through the process.
  1. Making local referrals — Through your experience with debt relief, you may find you will need to work with other third-party professionals in addition to your Licensed Insolvency Trustee. These other professionals may not be available to meet virtually so you want a trustee who has a network of reliable, local professionals to refer you to. This can include credit counseling, a lawyer, or mental health professionals. Everyone deserves to work with an advisor who can recommend other high-quality, trustworthy professionals in your area.
  1. Where you’re coming from is important Where you’re coming from doesn’t just mean the area you live, but in terms of your lived experience. Canada is a country with different cultural and economic backgrounds. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee has the ability to look at the facts, but a local Licensed Insolvency Trustee understands where those facts are coming from. Meeting in person with a debt-relief advisor who understands your local economy, culture, and how they relate to your debt will be in a position to provide you with the best guidance on your journey to full financial freedom.

Keep it in the neighbourhood

Working toward a debt-free future can be challenging. The rewards are worth it, and you can definitely get there. But the destination can feel far away. When it comes choosing an advisor, that’s one part of your journey that doesn’t have to be far away. Finding a Licensed Insolvency Trustee who’s local will help make your far journey feel just a little bit closer to home.

Next Blog: Part 5: The Bankruptcy process

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