Are there options other than bankruptcy if I’m in debt?

1. Get advice about your financial situation

There are different people you can talk to for financial advice.

Non-profit credit counsellors

Non-profit counsellors will usually give you a free appointment to discuss ways to manage your debt. For example, they can:

  • help you understand how you got into debt
  • explain ways to get out of debt
  • show you how to make a
  • negotiate with your creditors to lower your debt
  • make a debt repayment plan

Non-profit credit counsellors can help you decide if is your best option. But they can't help you file for bankruptcy. And they can't help you file a

You are expected to pay a fee if you decide to work with a non-profit credit counsellor. If you can't afford to pay for their services, they might help you for a lower fee or no fee at all.

To find a non-profit credit counseling service near you, you can contact one of the following associations:  

Counsellors who are members of these associations have to follow a . This can help protect you.

Financial advisors

A financial advisor at a bank can help you make a plan to pay off your . They can also see if you qualify for a .

With a consolidation loan, the bank lends you the total amount you owe so that you can pay off your other debts. You then have only one payment to manage. You usually have to have a good , regular income, or a to the loan. You can usually speak to a financial advisor at your bank for free.

A financial advisor at a bank can't help you file for bankruptcy or file a consumer proposal.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only people who can help you file for bankruptcy or file a consumer proposal. They will usually discuss your options with you for free, but you have to pay a fee if you use their services.

They can:

  • give you advice about your financial situation
  • help you figure out what your and debts are worth
  • help you decide whether to file for bankruptcy
  • talk to you about options other than bankruptcy
  • guide you through the bankruptcy or consumer proposal process

If you decide to file for bankruptcy or file a consumer proposal, the trustee will prepare everything you need.

If you file a consumer proposal, the trustee's fees will be taken out of the money you pay your creditors.

You can find a through the government of Canada’s website or OAIRP website.

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