The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy - What Do They Do?
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The Office Of The Superintendent Of Bankruptcy (OSB) – What Do They Do?

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) – What Do They Do?

If you are going through bankruptcy or insolvency, the process will be administered and supervised by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). While going through this procedure, it may help to know what the OSB does for both you and your creditors. The decisions made at this office have a significant impact on the financial future of both individuals and companies.

What Does the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Do?

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) is a government body under Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The office has several regulatory responsibilities meant to promote the fair and efficient enforcement of bankruptcy and insolvency law.

Administer the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

The primary role of the OSB is supervising all matters of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA).

The BIA protects those going through bankruptcy or insolvency during the bankruptcy process. When your Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) files your declaration of bankruptcy, they do so electronically with the OSB. They then send a copy of the declaration to each of your creditors.

When your bankruptcy filing is approved by the OSB, you are given a stay of proceedings. The stay of proceedings protects you from most of the legal actions your creditors could take against you. You and your creditors are made aware of the stay of proceedings and are informed that you are protected from:

  • Collection activity from your creditors and the CRA
  • Threats of legal action from your creditors
  • Court actions that have already been filed by your creditors
  • Enforcement of existing court orders against you

Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act

The OSB also supervises some matters covered by the Companies’ Creditors Agreement Act (CCAA). The CCAA allows insolvent companies owing their creditors over $5 million to restructure their business and finances.

License and Regulate the Insolvency Profession

When you file for bankruptcy or insolvency, you need a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Your LIT operates under a license that is provided and regulated by the OSB.

While your LIT represents your creditors, it’s their job to protect you from creditor violations of your stay of proceedings. They’ll negotiate with your creditors on your behalf and charge you an OSB-regulated fee for doing so.

Qualifications of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee

To become a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, the OSB will assess the application. They will make sure candidates meet all the requirements laid out in Directive No. 13R7.

The LIT profession impacts the lives of many struggling Canadians. That’s why the OSB ensures that candidates:

  • are of good character and have a strong reputation
  • are solvent
  • have successfully completed the Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional Qualification Program
  • have successfully completed the National Insolvency Exam and the Insolvency Counsellor’s Qualification Course
  • passed the Oral Board of Examination

Once candidates meet all of these requirements, the OSB will grant a license to practice.

List of Licensed Insolvency Trustees

The OSB keeps a complete list of all registered LITs in Canada. There are hundreds of LITs in Canada and you can find them all on the government website.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Files

One of the major aspects of the OSB’s operations is maintaining comprehensive files. The office maintains records on all bankruptcies and proposals filed throughout Canada. You can find all records on the office’s list. You’ll be charged $8 for every search but can make as many searches as you wish.

You can also access the OSB’s list of all companies that have been granted protection under the CCAA. The list usually has hundreds of entries that are public at all times and can be searched for free.

Statistics and Research

The OSB provides monthly, quarterly, and annual reports on insolvency statistics. You can find consumer debt profiles and CCAA statistics on the government website.

Bankruptcy & Insolvency

Do you owe a creditor money?

If your answer to this question is “Yes”, you have several courses for recourse. The OSB lists the formal steps you can take if you:

  • are facing bankruptcy
  • have a proposal for your creditors
  • are currently bankrupt
  • have debt you can no longer manage

When you are facing any of these uncomfortable challenges, you can talk to a Licenced Insolvency Trustee. They are the only financial professionals licensed by the government to administer bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings that discharge you from your debt.

When your financial situation is extremely difficult, the options LITs will walk you through may be the best options. If necessary, they will correspond with the OSB and negotiate with creditors on your behalf.

The Role of the OSB

The OSB plays a part in many Canadians’ lives. They administer the bankruptcy process and regulate the profession surrounding it. If you are facing financial struggles, you can enlist the help of an LIT. They will be able to answer your questions and offer the help you need.

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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