Insolvency Counselling Program introduction
Welcome to the Insolvency Counselling Program online self-learning modules!
This program was designed for people who have filed an insolvency proceeding under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), but anyone can view the modules.
If you have filed for bankruptcy or made a consumer proposal under the BIA, it is important to remember that insolvency does not define you!
There is no shame in resolving your serious financial difficulties through an insolvency proceeding. Many Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque and over 100,000 people file a bankruptcy or a consumer proposal every year. The BIA is designed to promote a fresh start for those going through the insolvency process, and help prevent reoccurrence.
The Insolvency Counselling Program consists of four online modules and two in-person counselling sessions. These online modules will help you prepare for your two in-person counselling sessions with your BIA Insolvency Counsellor (also known as your counsellor).
The Insolvency Counselling Program is part of the federally regulated insolvency process. It aims to provide you with the right tools and knowledge to help you move beyond your insolvency.
The program will help you take control of your money and plan for a more financially secure future!
This is your opportunity for a fresh start!
The program is designed to help you!
The Insolvency Counselling Program is divided into two stages. Each stage has an online component followed by an in-person counselling session.
Stage 1: budgeting
The budgeting stage is the first insolvency counselling stage which takes place near the start of the insolvency process. The budgeting stage consists of one online portion and one in-person session. During the online portion, you will review the introduction and the budgeting module.
The introduction will provide you with orientation information and outline what you can expect during the Insolvency Counselling Program. In general, it takes about 10 minutes to complete.
The budgeting module will help you develop a personalized, basic budget that is realistic and achievable. In general, it takes about 35 minutes to complete this module. Your personal budget will be discussed with your counsellor during your first in-person counselling session.
Stage 2: planning for the future
The planning for the future stage is the second insolvency counselling stage which is focused on post-insolvency goals, spending habits, and use of credit. The planning for the future stage consists of three online modules and one in-person counselling session.
During the online session you will review the following modules:
- setting and achieving financial goals module (in general, it takes about 20 minutes to complete);
- spending habits module (in general, it takes about 10 minutes to complete); and,
- responsible use of credit module (in general, it takes about 30 minutes to complete).
The modules in the planning for the future stage are critical components of post-insolvency success. They will help prepare you by providing the tools and knowledge to help you stay on track after you are discharged or obtain a certificate of full performance. The skills you will learn are meant to be practiced along with the good budgeting skills you will have established during the budgeting stage. Your list of financial goals will be discussed with your counsellor during your second in-person session.
The expected duration associated with each of the modules above is an estimate, not a target. There is a lot of material covered throughout the online modules and you may want to take more time for review.
Self-directed online learning
This online learning program is flexible and allows you to learn at your own pace. Online learning is very different from in-person counselling. To get the most out of the program, it is important that you are prepared for each module.
Here are some tips to prepare you for the self-learning modules:
- prepare a ‘focus-friendly’ environment: try to get rid of any distractions around you, choose a quiet, comfortable area;
- remember to take your time when completing the module, move at your own pace;
- write down any questions you have, and bring them to your in-person counselling session;
- take regular breaks when completing the modules, stand up and stretch at least once every 10 minutes; and,
- remember that this is not a test.
Insolvency counselling roles and responsibilities
Role of the Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT)
Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LITs) are licensed and regulated by the federal government. LITs are professionals who are qualified and experienced in providing advice and services to individuals and businesses in financial difficulty.
An LIT is an officer of the court and seeks to achieve a balance of interests between you (the debtor) and your creditors (a person or company to whom money is owed).
An LIT must act honestly and fairly at all times in order to protect the rights of both debtors and creditors throughout the insolvency process.
An LIT administers federally-regulated insolvency proceedings, such as consumer proposals and bankruptcies.
An LIT is responsible for providing, or providing for, insolvency counselling. Insolvency counselling is solely for the benefit of you, the debtor.
Role of BIA Insolvency Counsellor
LITs may provide BIA Insolvency Counselling themselves, or they can assign a BIA Insolvency Counsellor to provide the counselling for them.
If you have commenced bankruptcy or consumer proposal proceedings, you are required to complete the in-person insolvency counselling sessions. These online modules help prepare you for the two in-person counselling sessions that you will attend with an LIT or their registered counsellor.
Consumer protection in the Insolvency Counselling Program
In order for you to be discharged from your debt, you must complete the government-regulated insolvency proceedings. The only person authorized to administer insolvency proceedings is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). It is against the law for anyone else to represent themselves as an LIT.
BIA Insolvency Counsellors
LITs are not allowed to register someone as a BIA Insolvency Counsellor if that individual is involved in activities that could have a negative impact on debtors. Additionally, a counsellor cannot be registered if they act as a go-between with debtors and LITs in exchange for payment or consideration from debtors.
The LIT or counsellor is entitled to $85 per in-person counselling session. The fee for this comes directly out of your estate (if you're bankrupt) or from your proposal. This service is federally regulated, which means you cannot be charged directly or for a greater amount. A counsellor is not allowed to take any payment directly from an insolvent debtor before, during, or after the counselling sessions.
You can contact the OSB if you have questions about the information detailed above.
If you have questions, write them down and bring them to your in-person counselling session.
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