Frequently asked questions about licensed insolvency trustees

Bankruptcy. The word is scary. That’s why many consumers balk at the idea of consulting a trustee, much like others have a deep fear of going to the dentist. But would you go to a quack to have a tooth pulled? Certainly not! So, if you’re suffocating under your debts, don’t hesitate: go see a trustee. They are the true experts in insolvency.

”By going to see a trustee, consumers ensure that they are dealing with a professional who is regulated by the law, who must follow a code of ethics, who can provide them with solutions, and who can help them make an informed decision to find relief”, says Charles Tremblay, President of the Quebec Bankruptcy Trustees Council.

What solutions can a trustee offer you?

A trustee can guide you towards bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. No other specialist has the right to perform these types of procedures, which are regulated by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

But a trustee can also offer you other solutions: help you rework your budget, consolidate your debts, refinance your mortgage… The sooner you seek advice, the more options you’ll have. It’s a bit like cancer: it’s easier to treat when caught early.

How are trustees paid?

The fees and expenses of trustees are regulated by law. No one can demand more than the maximum amount. However, there may still be differences between different trustees, explains Pierre Fortin, a trustee at the Jean Fortin & Associates firm.

How much does a consumer proposal cost?

All fees are paid by the creditors out of the money that is offered to them through the proposal. The trustee receives $750 upon the filing of the consumer proposal, $750 upon approval of the proposal by the court, as well as an amount representing 20% of the sums distributed to the creditors under the proposal. In addition, there are certain fees and taxes.

The rates are the same everywhere. However, not all trustees have the same practices in case the proposal is rejected by the creditors. For example, a trustee may require the client to pay $750 (plus the filing fee of $100, plus taxes) upon filing the proposal, whether it proceeds or not. Others may only ask for $200 initially. The rest will only be paid if the case progresses. Get informed.

What is the cost of bankruptcy?

In the case of a summary bankruptcy, which represents the vast majority of consumer bankruptcies, contributions at Jean Fortin are usually in the 170$ per month for 9 months for a first-time bankruptcy.

Not enough money to file for bankruptcy?

Usually, an arrangement can be made with your trustee. As a last resort, when the bankrupt person has no assets or income to pay the creditors, the Bankruptcy Access Program facilitates access to the bankruptcy system for debtors who cannot afford the usual fees.

Who can become a trustee?

Most trustees are members of a professional order (lawyer, chartered accountant, etc.). Licenses are granted by the OSB following a process of training and exams.

Where to file a complaint?

In case of a problem with a trustee, you can file a complaint with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.