Consumer Proposal vs Bankruptcy? What Is the Best Choice for You

Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy What Is the Best Choice for You

When considering Consumer Proposal vs Bankruptcy, keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different – and only a discussion with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (who will review your current financial situation in detail) will be able to help answer this question for your specific circumstances. Bankruptcy is the last resort and most severe debt removal option – and should not be entered into before all other options have been explored.

Consumer Proposals and Personal Bankruptcies fall under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (the “BIA”). Each can only be filed by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (such as David Sklar & Associates Inc.). The goals of both are to:

  • Offer relief to ‘honest but unfortunate debtors’ and enable them to get on with their lives;
  • Stop collection efforts and legal actions (including wage garnishment);
  • Stop interest;
  • Release the debtor from their debt load; and
  • Offer training to avoid future debt problems.
Let’s Get Started

Consumer Proposals:

What Is a Consumer Proposal?

A consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement made between a debtor and their creditors, attempting to lower your combined debt total. With the help of a licensed insolvency trustee, you write a proposal asking that your creditors accept a repayment plan that is much more manageable for you. The trustee sends the proposal to the creditors. Click here to learn more about consumer proposal services and what a licensed insolvency trustee will do to help you through the process.

The creditors have 45 days to look over the proposal before giving their answer. If the majority of them agree to the terms, then your proposal is official and the repayment plan goes into effect. If the majority reject them, you and the trustee can adjust the terms in hopes of getting creditors to reconsider. If the creditors still don’t agree to the adjusted terms, then your next best option is to file for personal bankruptcy.

What Are the Qualifications?

The main qualification for a consumer proposal is that you are an individual that owes less than $250,000 (excluding the mortgage on your primary residence), and you’re unable to pay back that debt in a reasonable time. If you have more than that amount, you can ask your licensed insolvency trustee about filing for a Division 1 Proposal. It is similar to a consumer proposal, but it’s directed toward individuals or businesses that owe more than $250,000 (excluding the mortgage on a primary residence).

What Are the Benefits?

There are several benefits that come with a consumer proposal, which often make it the first choice for people struggling with insolvency. Here is a brief list of advantages that could make you turn to a consumer proposal.

No Collections

The debtor isn’t the only one who has to abide by the rules of the consumer proposal. The creditors have signed the dotted line to legally agree to these rules and restrictions:

  • They cannot charge interest.
  • They cannot charge late fees and penalties.
  • They cannot make collection calls.
  • They cannot continue garnishing wages.
  • They cannot take legal action against you.
  • They cannot contact you about your debt. They must contact the licensed insolvency trustee.

Strict Repayment Terms

Once the agreement is in effect, your scheduled repayments stay the same. It does not matter if you get an increase in income. Your payment amount will not suddenly rise or change. There will be no nasty surprises. It will be consistent from day one.

Keep Your Assets

One of the biggest advantages that comes with a consumer proposal is that you will get to keep your assets. So, if you’re worried about losing a car, a property or an investment, you can rest assured that they will go untouched during the repayment process. However, this does come with a down-side.

What Are the Cons?

Paying for Assets

You will still have to take care of your assets while going through the consumer proposal process. Responsibilities like mortgage payments, property tax payments, auto loan payments, car insurance, etc. will continue on as normal. You will have to manage your money carefully so that one obligation doesn’t outweigh the other.

Credit Report Notice

A consumer proposal will impact your credit score. It will not have as strong of an impact as personal bankruptcy, but you will notice that the number is lower.

A consumer proposal can remain on your credit report a maximum of 6 years from the date you file A consumer proposal that is completed in five years, will be removed from your credit report one year later (six years from the date you filed).

A consumer proposal that is completed in two years, will remain on your credit report an additional 3 years from the date you completed payment (for a total of five years).

A consumer proposal paid immediately as a lump sum, will be removed three years after the completion of the proposal.

Consumer Proposal Failure

One of the biggest disadvantages that comes with filing a consumer proposal is that there is still a chance that you violate the terms and end the agreement before you complete it. When you fall behind three months of payments, the proposal will be annulled. You will return to your original debt load. Creditors can charge you accruing interest, late fees and penalties. Collection activities can recommence.

If you think you’re going to miss a payment, you should talk to your licensed insolvency trustee immediately. If necessary and appropriate, they can file an amendment to your proposal so that you prevent a future annulment.

If you fall behind three payments, your next best choice for debt relief will be to file for personal bankruptcy.

Personal Bankruptcy

What Is Personal Bankruptcy?

Filing for personal bankruptcy in the province of Ontario should be considered a last resort for debt relief. When an individual files for bankruptcy, they declare that they cannot repay those debts. To repay creditors, assets are settled and disbursed. Once meeting all of your legal requirements, you will receive a Discharge — this legally declares you released from the debts covered by the process.

Click here to learn more details about personal bankruptcy services and how a licensed insolvency trustee will help you through it.

What Are the Qualifications?

Any individual that owes more than the total equity of their assets is eligible to file for bankruptcy. If you owe more than $1000 that you can’t repay, then it’s a potential solution for your financial problems.

Individuals that can’t get consumer proposals accepted or who fail to complete their proposals should file for bankruptcy.

What Are the Benefits?

Personal bankruptcy does not have a long list of benefits that are different from a consumer proposal. The main advantage of the process is that it allows people with insolvency to get legitimate debt relief and get a chance at a fresh financial start. The blank slate comes with consequences, but many debtors willingly accept these consequences so that they can move on from the stress of outstanding debts and collection calls.

People who might consider personal bankruptcy advantageous are those who won’t be harshly affected by the settling of assets. Debtors that don’t have property or large assets that will be liquidated and distributed among creditors may not worry as much about the impact. It all depends on your situation.

What Are the Cons?

Settling Assets

One of the things that people worry about with personal bankruptcy is losing their assets. In order to repay creditors, a licensed insolvency trustee takes the debtor’s assets, settles them and distributes the results among creditors. A silver lining is that trustees will not settle every asset you own. The province of Ontario has multiple asset exemptions for items like household furnishings, clothing and essential tools.

Employment Opportunities

Your credit history can affect your employment opportunities — this is especially true if you intend to work in Finance. Personal bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for six to seven years, depending on the credit bureau. It strongly impacts your credit score. If an employer runs a credit check and sees this information, they may disqualify you as a candidate for the job.

Stigma

The stigma of bankruptcy continues to thrive. This can make people avoid filing. It’s possible that with rising levels of financial insecurity, the public will be more sympathetic and understanding when it comes to bankruptcy.

David Sklar & Associates

Residents of the Greater Toronto Area have had their lives turned upside-down by the pandemic of COVID-19. Here at David Sklar & Associates, we understand that many residents have been thrown into financial instability because of this health crisis and are concerned about what to do next. If you need financial help, we are still here for you. We offer over-the-phone consultations and electronic document signing so that you can access our services from the safety of your home. We want to encourage our clients to prioritize their health as best as they can during these uncertain times.

Before you make a decision and commit to one form of debt relief, do your research. You want to know all of the benefits and consequences that come with it, whether they’re big or small. And if you’re still unsure about your choice, you can always rely on the professional opinion of an experienced licensed insolvency trustee.

Take Your First Step Towards A Debt Free Life

If you are overwhelmed by debt and live in the Toronto area, call us at 416-498-9200 to book a FREE, confidential appointment. We will review your financial situation in detail and discuss all of your options with you. Alternatively, you can fill out the form below and our team will reach out to you. 

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Ready to live debt free?

I’m very happy with the services I received for Jackie Stanley who helped me get my finances in order. It was a quick and easy process & all of my questions were answered.
Amanda Frappier
01:18 19 Nov 21
I have had the privilege of being supported by Jackie at David Sklar Associate. She was very helpful, very professional and very friendly. She gave me the help I need. Thank you Jackie for your help.
Alex Taylor
22:03 17 Nov 21
I filed a proposal with another group, which came in as a referral from one of my brokers. My experience went from ok to bad to worse, due to lack of communication and education on the process I was to embark on. I worked with Cori Naron in the past, and I came to her now for help on literally doing the work that the other group should have done. Cori stepped in, educated me, advised on rights, responsibilities, how the process works and what potential outcomes may happen. I do not have enough words of recognition and gratitude for what she did - she alleviated stress, anxiety, dead-end thoughts and she made me live again. Congrats to DSklar for hiring her and retaining such talent.
Giani Kokolakis
18:45 25 Oct 21
Very professional service. Before contacting David Sklar & Associates i contacted bunch of other firms they seemed fishy. After I spoke with Jason Sklar at Hamilton Office I discovered professionalism with hope. I was explained every step of my situation with solution professionally. Thank you David Sklar & Associates.
Wajay Awan
07:29 12 Oct 21
I met David a few months ago and i am glad I did. He has helped me all the way through my bankruptcy with good advice and explained every step of the process. David is a very down to earth and very professional. Anytime I've had a question I was able to reach out to David by phone or email and he always got back to me. If your struggling with your bills and need a way to get help, I strongly recommend David Sklar &Associates to help you. My experience with them on 1-5scale would be a 5;; My life is so much better now, thanks to David Sklar.
Bruce Locke
16:13 08 Oct 21
I have had the privilege of being supported by Jackie S, at David Sklar n Associate.She was helpful, professional and friendly. I was able to get the help I needed at a difficult time in my life. I would recommend anyone who needs support with working out their debts to ask for Jackie, she will be waiting to assist however she can to help you through your debts. She works with a team who is always ready and responsive.Thank you Jackie and your team:)
Denise Simpson
15:17 09 Sep 21
My experience with Ashley Carter at David Sklar and Associates was very pleasant and professional. The process was made easy by Ashley with her help in answering my questions and concerns.
Alex Lamparter
13:07 03 Sep 21
Ashley she was extremely helpful,super friendly and understanding my situation. I am very please for the service I received and I will recommend this Company to anyone in need of consolidating. Thanks so so much.
Nicole Minister
17:43 02 Sep 21
I finally pulled the trigger and seek help from this team. I tried to pay my debt in the way it should be until the pandemic made it even worst and couldn't keep up with my payments anymore. Jackie is an amazing person, I told her the problem, she gave me the solution and gave me a variety of options and walked me through the process. That simple. Thank you so much.
rr 28
12:44 21 Aug 21
Dealing with Jackie made the process so much more comfortable. From my first phone call with her I never felt like I was being looked down on. Jackie made this as easy as being in this situation could be.
Vi Smith
18:09 13 Aug 21
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