Are Bankruptcies Public Record? | Bankruptcy And Insolvency Records
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Are Bankruptcies Public Record In Canada

Are Bankruptcies Part of the Public Record in Canada?

The realization that Bankruptcy may be your only remaining option can feel scary, overwhelming, and even embarrassing. Many people see filing for Bankruptcy as the ultimate personal and financial failure. However, the truth is, Bankruptcy can help to relieve an incredible amount of stress and pressure and can provide you with a fresh financial start.

If you are preparing to file for Bankruptcy, you might be concerned with trying to keep the process private. No one wants to broadcast their financial struggles to their neighbours or friends. As you’re heading into the Bankruptcy process, you may be wondering, “Are bankruptcies public record?”

Yes, Bankruptcies are public record but it’s not as simple as performing a Google search. Keep reading to find out who is privy to your Bankruptcy information and how they can find it.

Are Bankruptcies Published?

Bankruptcies are published and are considered public record. This means members of the public can perform a search to see who has filed Bankruptcy.

The way it works is the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada (OSB) is responsible for gathering a list of Bankruptcies and adding it to a database on their website. Members of the public can then perform a search using an individual’s name or the name of a business.

In order to perform a search, the user is required  to create an Innovation, Science, and Economic Development) ISED account.

Once a search is submitted, the OSB website will reveal if there are any specific matches. At this point, the person performing the search will also be presented with a fee that must be paid before they can view the search results.

Search results are shown in sets of 10 (or less), and each set of 10 will cost $8 to view. If there are 20 results, it will cost you $16 and so on.

Records of companies that have filed using the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) are also included in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency records (as of September 18, 2009). In order for a company to file for protection using the CCAA, it must owe creditors a minimum of $5 million. However, there is no charge to view these records.

What Is Included in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records Search?

The Bankruptcy and Insolvency database contains the following information:

  • Debtor information of all bankruptcies and proposals registered in Canada since 1978
  • All receiverships registered with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency office since January 1993
  • All petitions recorded at the office
  • All companies that have been granted protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) since September 18, 2009

Will the Canadian Credit Bureaus Be Notified?

Yes, the Canadian credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, will be notified of your Bankruptcy. The OSB sends a list of Bankruptcies to the credit bureaus each month. If you file for Bankruptcy, this information will stay on your credit report for six years after being discharged. If you declare Bankruptcy more than once, it will stay on your credit report for 14 years.

Will My Creditors Know if I File for Bankruptcy?

Yes, once you have officially declared Bankruptcy, your Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) is responsible for notifying all of your creditors. This can be a good thing because, as soon as you declare Bankruptcy and your creditors know about it, they can no longer contact you or move forward with any legal action.

Will My Employer Know if I File for Bankruptcy?

In most cases, your employer will not be told that you’ve filed for Bankruptcy. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, if you are facing wage garnishment and you want to put an end to it, then your LIT will need to reach out to your employer. Legally, as outlined in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, you can not be terminated on the grounds that you filed for Bankruptcy. However, if you work in certain industries such as financial services and your job is to handle other people’s money (insurance broker, mortgage broker, etc), your specific role may be affected.

In most cases, filing for Bankruptcy also shouldn’t affect your ability to get a job. Again, if you work in the financial industry there may be some extra hurdles to jump over. However, you might still be able to get a job with that company, just not in a position where you will be managing other people’s money.

Also, if you work in an industry where you are bondable (again, often in the financial sector or in banking), you might encounter some issues. You can not be bonded until your Bankruptcy has been discharged (when you are released from legal obligation to repay the majority of your debts). To avoid any issues, it’s advisable to talk to your LIT about your other debt management options, like filing for Consumer Proposal.

If you are concerned about your employment potential as a result of Bankruptcy, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can talk you through the details.

Who Else Will Know if I File for Bankruptcy?

In most cases, the only other people who will know that you filed for Bankruptcy are your Licensed Insolvency Trustee and anyone you decide to tell.

Unless you are someone with a very high net worth or you’re regularly in the media, you don’t have much to worry about. For the average person, no one is going to find out that you filed.

If someone suspects that you are having financial issues, they would need to be very motivated to take the time to sign up for an ISED account, perform the search, and then pay for the results. You can rest assured that most people won’t do this.

Will My Licensed Insolvency Trustee Reveal That I Have Filed for Bankruptcy?

No, your LIT adheres to a strict code of ethics. Your LIT will only share this information with the OSB and your creditors unless there are certain circumstances that require them to tell your employer. Your LIT can only reveal your Bankruptcy information if it is mandated by law or if you give them explicit permission.

If you are considering Bankruptcy but find yourself stalling out of fear that someone will find out, your first step should be to reach out to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. A LIT can walk you through the Bankruptcy process and, hopefully, help to ease some of your anxieties. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone, there is professional help available. Call Adamson and Associates today at 519-310-5646 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

John Adamson, CPA, CMA

John is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (1994), a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP – 1994), and a Chartered Professional Accountant with a Certified Management Accounting designation (CPA, CMA – 1992). His experience includes more than 25 years of helping individuals, small businesses, their owners and even lenders, find solutions to their debt problems.

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