What is a licensed insolvency trustee?

The term “trustee” is sometimes perceived negatively because it is often associated with bankruptcy and the idea of losing assets. However, seeking the advice of a trustee before things get tough can greatly alleviate stress and provide access to solutions other than bankruptcy.

Definition and role of a licensed insolvency trustees

According to the Government of Canada, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) is defined as:

“A professional whose activities are regulated by the federal government.
They provide advice and services to individuals and businesses experiencing debt problems.
The LIT helps people make informed choices to resolve their debt issues.”1

Therefore, licensed insolvency trustees are finance specialist, and some firms, like ours, have also developed an expertise in personal finance.

A trustee at Jean Fortin & Associés can not only advise you on consumer proposals and bankruptcy but also help you explore other alternatives such as:

Alarming debt statistics

Despite all the available resources that exist to help people with financial and debt problems, many fail to seek our help. Did you know that:

  • Nearly 70% of Quebecers carry debt. More than 25% of these individuals experience at least occasional problems in paying them off. For nearly 10% of people, these difficulties are acute, and 2% of those in debt simply cannot manage it.2
  • Canadian households owed an average of $1.79 in credit market debt for every $1 of disposable income in the 4th quarter of 2023, according to Statistics Canada.3
  • The debt service ratio of Canadian households “remains historically high and is expected to increase in the coming quarters,” according to Shelly Kaushik, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.3

Pierre Fortin, president of Jean Fortin, agrees with Ms. Pugliese, associate professor at the Urbanization Culture Society Center of the National Institute for Scientific Research, when she says that “the results suggest that we need to continue to protect Quebecers from certain risks that could lead to unsustainable debt.”2

Anyone experiencing financial difficulties should never be afraid to consult a trustee because, according to the ethics governing their profession, their role is to provide impartial advice on all solutions related to improving and managing your debts. The rest of this article will help you recognize the warning signs indicating that it is time to meet with a licensed insolvency trustee and outline what to expect during the 1st meeting.

When should I consult a trustee?

Identifying the right time to consult a debt specialist is crucial. Be attentive to the early signs of financial difficulties: acting quickly can mitigate the impact on your financial health. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Delay in more than one rent/mortgage payment.
  • Difficulty paying the minimum on credit cards.
  • Receiving a letter from a collection agency.
  • Recent refusal of a credit application.
  • Anxiety and the multiplication of conflicts with your spouse/partner.

These signs rarely exist all by themselves. Working with a licensed insolvency trustee will allow you to take control of the situation and, most importantly, prevent it from deteriorating.

Consultations are free and can be held by phone, videoconference, or in person. Everything is strictly confidential.

What does the trustee do during the meeting to help me with my personal finances?

As a personal finance expert, the insolvency professional can, during an initial 60-minute meeting:

Once these3 steps are completed, s/he will share the diagnosis, recommendations, and explain the various debt solutions available to you.

Meeting a trustee to prevent financial problems

If you are not ready to consult us yet, it is possible to obtain a short online analysis by completing the financial health check on our site. In a few minutes, you will get an overview of your situation that can guide you in the right direction.

Getting all the information is the best way to make informed decisions, get answers to all your questions, and be aware of your options. If you believe you are in financial difficulty or in debt, do not wait – make an appointment with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee now.

By Pierre Fortin
Jean Fortin & Associés
Personal Finance Advisor
Licensed Insolvency Trustee


1 Translation of: Gouvernement du Canada, 2016, «Qu’est-ce qu’un syndic autorisé en insolvabilité».
2 Translation of: VENNE, Jean-François, 2024, Journal Le Devoir, «L’endettement des ménages s’alourdit».
3 Translation of: La Presse Canadienne, 2024, Journal La Presse, «Le ratio d’endettement des ménages diminue pour un troisième trimestre de suite».