Insolvency counselling curriculum - counsellor training module

Welcome to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy’s (OSB) insolvency counselling curriculum training module for BIA Insolvency Counsellors.

Table of contents

Counsellor training material:

Counsellor training material

Background

Under the Directive on counselling in insolvency matters, the insolvency counselling curriculum consists of two mandatory in-person counselling sessions with a BIA Insolvency Counsellor. The OSB has developed online self-learning modules to help support the objectives of the two mandatory in-person sessions. The LIT and/or counsellor may use the online modules to enhance the delivery of counselling sessions. The outputs from the online modules are inputs to the in-person counselling sessions. This connection allows for a richer, more value-added in-person counselling experience for debtors. The online content relieves counsellors of the burden of delivering generic content needed by the majority of debtors and therefore provides counsellors with additional time to meet each debtor’s unique needs. This online self-learning material is hosted on the OSB’s website.

The online self-learning material is linked below in the online debtor curriculum section.

Requirements

Under the Directive, BIA Insolvency Counsellors are required to present information and provide debtors with consumer advice in four main areas. These topics include:

Recommended approach

Under the recommended insolvency counselling approach, there are two counselling stages. The first stage is the budgeting stage and the second stage is the planning for the future stage. Each stage has one online self-learning session followed by one in-person counselling session. Debtors who complete the online modules prior to the in-person sessions should have a fundamental understanding of the key concepts that would be reinforced during the in-person counselling sessions. The counsellor’s role is to make sure that debtors understand the concepts covered during the online sessions and assist the debtor in specific areas where they might require additional guidance and support.

Please review the comprehensive breakdown of the recommended insolvency counselling approach below.

Budgeting stage

Planning for the future stage

1st online self-learning session

1st in-person session

2nd online self-learning session

2nd in-person session

Before the 1st in-person session.

Between 10 and 90 days following the date of the initial bankruptcy event or the filing of a consumer proposal, or within 10 days following the first meeting of creditors held pursuant to paragraph 57(c)(i) of the Act where a Division I Proposal was refused by the creditors.

Before the 2nd in-person session.

After a period of 30 days following the first session, and prior to the discharge, in the case of an individual bankrupt, or issuance of the certificate of full performance, in the case of a consumer debtor.

The debtor is instructed to complete the introduction and the budgeting module prior to attending their first in-person session.

The introduction provides orientation information and outlines what the debtor can expect during the insolvency counselling process.

The budgeting module provides the debtor with general information on the value of budgets, as well as practical instruction on how to develop a basic monthly budget using a budgeting template, and how to track their spending using an income and expense tracking tool.

The debtor is instructed to bring their completed budgeting template and their income and expense tracking tool to their first in-person counselling session.

During the first in-person session, the counsellor confirms that the debtor understands the purpose and importance of a budget. The counsellor will then review the debtor’s budgeting template with them to ensure that it is complete, realistic, and addresses the debtor’s particular circumstances.

The counsellor’s role includes supporting the debtor in developing strategies to adjust their budget to deal with any unexpected expenses or changes to their income. The counsellor will also provide the debtor with realistic strategies for tracking their income and expenses in the future.;

The output for this counselling stage is the debtor’s budget.

The desired outcome of this stage is for the debtor to create a realistic budget and personalized expense tracking methods, which they can implement after this in-person session.  

The debtor is instructed to complete the setting and achieving financial goals module; the spending habits module; and the responsible use of credit module. These modules provide general information designed to help debtors maintain control over their finances after the completion of their insolvency.

The modules provide information on how to set personal financial goals and develop strategies for achieving them; confirming priorities and goals to help prioritize spending; how to use credit responsibly; and how to manage credit and debt in the future.

The debtor is instructed to fill out a financial goal-setting tool where the debtor is able to select three of their personal financial goals from a pre-determined list, or they can develop their own unique goals. 

The debtor is instructed to bring their completed financial goal-setting tool to their second in-person counselling session.

During the second in-person session, the counsellor confirms the debtor’s understanding of all key aspects of the topics covered within the online material. The counsellor will then review the debtor’s financial goal-setting tool and work with them to ensure the goals are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), and develop an appropriate plan to achieve those goals. 

The counsellor’s role includes supporting the debtor in developing strategies to avoid potential financial pitfalls that could become obstacles to the debtor’s future financial success.

The output for this counselling stage is the debtor’s list of three S.M.A.R.T. financial goals.

The desired outcome of this stage is for the debtor to create post-insolvency financial goals, which they can implement after this in-person session.

While the recommended approach of the curriculum is targeted to the majority of debtors, it is recognized that there will be circumstances in which counsellors might vary from it the recommended approach for the benefit of the debtor. Please use your professional judgment when deciding if it is best to deviate from the recommended approach.

Below are two examples of scenarios in which you might deviate from the recommended approach.

Scenario 1

If a debtor is unable to access the online content, the counsellor may print the appropriate online modules for the debtor to review prior to their in-person counselling session

Scenario 2

If a debtor is a former small business owner and the counsellor believes that this particular individual would benefit from learning about additional and/or alternative topics, then the counsellor may modify the counselling topics to better meet the individual’s unique needs

BIA Insolvency Counsellor checklist and FAQs

When delivering insolvency counselling, there are some important steps to follow in order to make sure that the insolvency counselling program is successful for debtors. Attached below is a checklist for counsellors to use when providing insolvency counselling.

If you have any questions about how to deliver insolvency counselling under the proposed new standards, please refer to the FAQs document linked below, or contact: ic.osbcounsellingbsf-bkhq.ic@Canada.ca.

Online debtor curriculum

The online debtor curriculum consists of an introduction and four self-learning modules. These modules contain modern content relevant to the majority of debtors. These online modules have been designed to align with the two in-person counselling sessions. Debtors who complete the self-learning modules prior to the in-person sessions should have an understanding of the key concepts that would be reinforced during the in-person counselling sessions.

Please review and become familiar with the online debtor curriculum before providing insolvency counselling to debtors.

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