Who Will Find Out If Ive Declared Personal Bankruptcy

2015-01-19   minute read

Bradley Milne


Bankruptcies and consumer proposals are government legislated options that may assist you in addressing your debt problems.  In either proceeding, the bankruptcy or consumer proposal is filed with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) and is a matter of public record. 

The OSB provides a regular update of new filings to each credit bureau which in turn records the bankruptcy or consumer proposal on your credit report.  Retention of credit information may vary somewhat by credit bureau and province.  In most cases, a first time bankruptcy will remain on file for six (6) years from the date of discharge.  If an individual declares bankruptcy on more than one occasion, each bankruptcy will be reported on file for fourteen (14) years from the date of discharge.  A consumer proposal remains on file for three (3) years from the date you have satisfied the terms of the proposal.  For more information on retention of consumer credit information, consult the credit bureau websites of Equifax and TransUnion of Canada.

While a bankruptcy or consumer proposal is a matter of public record, in most cases only your creditors will find out about it (or a potential new lender who checks your credit report).  It is unlikely that your friends and/or family would find out about your bankruptcy or proposal unless you choose to tell them yourself.

If someone suspects that you filed a bankruptcy or proposal, one of the only ways they could find out would be to conduct a search of a database maintained by the OSB, however, there is a fee to conduct such a search.

In certain large and more complex bankruptcies, where realization from the sale of assets is expected to exceed $15,000, a meeting of creditors must be held and notice of this meeting must be publicized in the newspaper by the Trustee.  To be clear, this is not required in most bankruptcies and your Trustee would advise you in advance if such a notice had to be publicized in the newspaper.

In summary, you should not fear friends or family finding out about your bankruptcy or consumer proposal as this is unlikely to happen.

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