Instructions
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records

Note: The records of companies that have filed under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) since September 18, 2009 are now included in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records. These records can be viewed free of charge. (Only companies that owe creditors at least $5 million can file for protection under the CCAA.)

Registration

There are three ways to complete a search of bankruptcy and insolvency records (fees may apply):

  1. By telephone (call 1-866-941-2863 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST)
  2. By sending a fax to 613-941-9490
  3. Online via the OSB website

Whichever method you choose, before you can view the results of a search you must do two things:

  1. Register online with Industry Canada; and
  2. Decide how you are going to pay for this service.

    You have the option of paying by credit card (VISA or MasterCard) each time you do a search, or you can set up an account with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB).

If you choose to pay using a credit card, you will have to provide your credit card information before you can view the results of your search.

Setting up an OSB account

To open an account, send a request on your company letterhead to the OSB. Include the following information in the letter:

  • Your full name
  • Company name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Fax number
  • Email address
  • An identifying password (This is needed for telephone and fax inquiries to confirm your identity when you contact us. This is not the same password as the one you use to log onto the bankruptcy and insolvency records.)
  • Name of the person in charge of accounts payable at your company.

Send this information by fax to 613-941-9490 or by mail to:

Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records
Heritage Place
155 Queen Street, 4th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0H5

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Cost

The cost to view the results of a search is $8 for each set of 10 (or fewer) records. (CCAA records can be viewed free of charge.)

Note: If your search results in the response "10 or fewer matches were found (including no matches found)," you must pay the minimum $8 fee to view the results, even if the result turns out to mean there are no records at all.

If you are paying by credit card, you will be told how many $8 "tokens" you need to buy to view the results of your search.

Except in cases where the search results in fewer than 10 records, you will be told the exact number of records found and the cost associated with viewing all records. However, you pay only for the sets of 10 records that you view. For example, if there are 61 records found and you view only the first set of 10, you will be charged only $8.

Tip:

You can refine your search as often as you like before you view the results. We suggest you start with the name only. If the number of records found is too high, you can add additional information to narrow your search. Be sure the information you enter is correct, otherwise, you could get inaccurate results.

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Steps

Before you can perform a search, you must log in to your Industry Canada account. If you don't already have an account, please register online with Industry Canada. (For more information, see Registration.)

To view previous transactions, add a new user to your account, modify user information or delete a user, click on "My OSB account".

Note: This search includes both bankruptcy and insolvency (BIA) records as well as records for companies that filed under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) since September 18, 2009. (Only companies that owe creditors at least $5 million can file under the CCAA. There is no charge to view these records.)

Step 1. Perform a search

To search by name, enter the information you know in any order in the space provided and click "Search." (For tips on doing a name search, see our list of frequently asked questions.)

To search by BIA estate number or CCAA file number, click the "Search by File Number" tab.

Searching using wild cards

If you are unsure of the spelling of a name but know at least two letters, you can use one of two wild cards:

  • an asterisk (*) can be used to replace one or more unknown letters, for example, "Rob*" will give you records such as Robertson, Robinson, Roberts; and
  • an underscore can be used to replace a single unknown letter, for example, "Si_ard" will give you records such as Simard and Sicard.

Since wild cards can help to increase the number of matches, they can also increase the cost (if you choose to view the search results). For that reason, we recommend that you use them sparingly.

Remember there is no charge to view CCAA records, so you may want to view them first. (Click on the "CCAA Records" tab.)

Note: The following applies only to bankruptcy and insolvency records (see "BIA Records" tab).

Once you submit your query, you will be told the number of matches if there are more than 10. If there are fewer than 10 or none, the message will read "10 or fewer matches were found (including no matches found)."

The system will tell you the maximum cost for viewing all of the results. The results are shown in sets of 10 or fewer and each set of 10 costs $8 to view.

If the number of matches is large, you may want to refine your search by going to Step 2. If the number of matches is very large, the system may prompt you to refine your search.

If you get a small number of search results and you don't need to refine your search, go directly to Step 3.

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Step 2. Refine your search

"Refine Search" will take you back to the main page where you can use additional selections to refine your search as often as you wish until you decide to pay to view the results either from your OSB account or by using your credit card.

1. Search by File Number

If you know the BIA Estate Number, this will allow you to find it quickly.

You can also search using the CCAA File Number assigned by the OSB (not the CCAA court number).

2. Search by Name

Name of business or individual

You can enter the first name, last name or both, in any order, as long as you enter at least two letters. You can also use an asterisk (*) to replace one or more unknown letters (searching using wild cards).

Type

You can choose an individual, a business or both ("Both"). Note that individuals who have incurred 50 percent or more of their total debt as a result of operating a business are considered to be a business.

Filed after

You can narrow the search if you know the approximate year (YYYY) the bankruptcy or insolvency was filed.

Province or territory where the bankruptcy or insolvency was filed

For individual bankruptcies, enter this information only if you are certain you know the province or territory where the person was living when they filed, as this may be different from where they live currently

Birth date

If you know the person's exact date of birth, enter the information using the format YYYY-MM-DD. Note that records that are missing birthdate information may not appear in the list of results.

Birth-year range

If you know a range of years when the person might have been born, enter the information using the format YYYY. Note that records that are missing birthdate information may not appear in the list of results.

Once you are satisfied with the results of your search, proceed to Step 3.

Frequently asked questions about the name search

Q. What if the name has an apostrophe?
A. Use apostrophes where necessary (e.g. O'Connor, Centre d'hébergement).

Q. What if there are two last names?
A. Use either or both, with or without a hyphen.

Q. What if there is a hyphen?
A. Searches can be conducted with or without hyphens.

Q. What if I don't know the full name of a company?
A. If you type two words of the name of a company, the search results will include every business registered that has those words as part of the name.

Q. What if I know the exact name of the company?
A. You may want to enclose the words in quotation marks; the search results will include only those exact words in the order you type them, thus reducing the number of matches.

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Step 3. Choose method of payment

(Remember there is no charge to view CCAA records, so you may want to view them first. Click on the "CCAA Records" tab.)

Choose your method of payment ("Credit Card" or "My OSB account") by clicking on the appropriate button.

Charge to credit card

To pay by credit card, you must purchase tokens, available at $8 each. Each token can be used to view up to 10 matches. The system will tell you the number of tokens you will need to view all of the results.

When you choose this method of payment, you will be prompted for your credit card information. After your payment has been processed, click "Submit" and your search results will appear on the screen. The number of tokens you have remaining will also be displayed.

Charge to your OSB Account

To use this method of payment, you must already have an account with the OSB. (For more information on how to set up an account, see Registration.

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Step 4. View, print or save details of your search

CCAA records

When you choose to view CCAA records (i.e., by clicking the "CCAA Records" tab), you will be able to view, print or save your search results. There is no charge to view these records.

BIA records

The following applies only to BIA records.

Once you have paid for your search, one of three situations will occur:

  1. The system indicates there are no matches.

    Press "View details of the results" to print or save. Even when there are no matches, it is still a good idea to print the results of your search or save them to your desktop. This will be your record that, according to your search criteria, nothing was found in our records.

  2. The system indicates there are 10 or fewer matches.

    You now have the option of viewing and printing or saving to your desktop the details of each record, one at a time. To view the details for a record, click on the name.

    After printing or saving a record to your desktop, click the "Back to the search results" link at the bottom of the page to go back to the list where you can click on another name and select another record.

    Don't forget to print the details of the results of your search or save them to your desktop.

  3. The system indicates there are more than 10 matches.

    You now have the option of viewing and printing or saving to your desktop details of each record, one at a time. To view the details of a record, click on the name.

    If you finish viewing a set of 10 records and still have not found what you are looking for, you can select "Next 10" or "Previous 10."

Tip:

You pay only for the records you view. Before viewing them, you will be told the total number of records found and the maximum cost to view all of the results.

You will be charged $8 for every set of 10 records you view. For example, if your search results in 38 matches and you view all of them, the total cost will be $32 (three sets of 10 plus one set of 8 = $32). However, if you find what you are looking for in the second set of 10 records and stop there, the total cost of your search will be $16.

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Step 5. Log out

When you are finished, log out by clicking the "Logout" link at the top of the page.

Definitions of terms

Bankruptcy
Governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, bankruptcy is a formal process whereby debtors who cannot meet their obligations sign over all of their assets—except those exempt by law—to a licensed trustee in bankruptcy. The trustee's role includes selling off those assets to satisfy outstanding debts. Once debtors are formally declared bankrupt, lawsuits by creditors are stayed and garnishments against debtors' salaries stop.
Bankruptcy order
A bankruptcy order is a court order that forces an individual or business into bankruptcy. A bankruptcy order may follow the petition of a creditor or the debtor.
Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act
The Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) is a federal law allowing insolvent corporations that owe their creditors in excess of $5 million to restructure their business and financial affairs. Under the CCAA, corporations ask the court for protection while they prepare an offer to creditors for some form of payment (called a Plan of Compromise or a Plan of Arrangement). The main purpose of the CCAA is to enable financially distressed companies to avoid bankruptcy, foreclosure or seizure of assets while maximizing returns for their creditors and preserving both jobs and the company's value as a functioning business.
Consumer Proposal
A Consumer Proposal is a formal procedure governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act whereby debtors, working with a trustee in bankruptcy, put together an offer to pay their creditors a percentage of what is owed to them over a specific period of time, extend the time to pay off the debt or a combination of both. This option is available to individuals whose total debt does not exceed $250,000, not including debts secured by their principal residence.
Discharge
A discharge is the release of a debtor from the legal obligation to repay the debts he or she had as of the date the bankruptcy was filed. Certain types of debts are excluded from the discharge, including alimony and child-support payments, some student loans, a fine or penalty imposed by the court or debt arising from fraud.
Discharge status
Absolute discharge — With an absolute discharge, a bankrupt individual is released from the obligation to repay the debts he or she had as of the date the bankruptcy was filed. Certain types of debts are excluded from the discharge, including alimony and child-support payments, some student loans, a fine or penalty imposed by the court or debt arising from fraud.
Automatic discharge — A debtor whose discharge is not opposed by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB), the trustee or a creditor and who has not refused or neglected to receive counselling, is automatically discharged after 9, 21, 24 or 36 months, depending on whether it is a first or second bankruptcy. The discharge also depends on whether or not the bankrupt is required to pay a portion of his or her surplus income into the bankruptcy estate as per the standard established by the OSB.
Conditional discharge — A conditional discharge requires a bankrupt to fulfill certain conditions prior to obtaining an absolute discharge. Typically, debtors will be required to pay a certain amount of money, possibly over time. Once the conditions are met, an absolute discharge is granted.
Suspended discharge — A suspended discharge is an absolute discharge that does not take effect until a future date.
Division I Proposal
A division I proposal is a formal procedure governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act whereby debtors, working with a trustee in bankruptcy, put together an offer to pay their creditors a percentage of what is owed to them over a specific period of time, extend the time to pay off the debt or a combination of both. This option is available to businesses and individuals—there is no limit with respect to how much money is owed.
Interim receiver
An interim receiver is a trustee in bankruptcy appointed by the court to safeguard the assets of a debtor and perform other functions the court may order. This appointment is made after an application for a bankruptcy order has been filed, but before the bankruptcy is ordered by the court.
Notice of Intention (to file a proposal)
A notice of intention is a legal document stating that the debtor intends to file a Division I proposal to creditors. Once filed, lawsuits by creditors are stayed and garnishments against the debtor's salary stop.
Receivership
A company is said to be in receivership when it fails to pay debts it owes to secured creditors and those creditors appoint an administrative receiver who then takes over management of all or part of the company's assets. The receiver may also sell a company's assets and parts of a company—or even the whole company—to recover the money owed.
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My OSB account

Clicking on "My OSB account" enables you to view previous transactions (see "Record of transactions" below).

"My OSB account" also enables account administrators to add a new user to the account, modify user information or delete a user (see "User management" below).

Record of transactions

This allows you to view previous searches. You can choose to view a complete list of searches (transactions), or all searches conducted within a specific time period.

These include

  • the searches made and charged to your account with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (account activity for a user);
  • the searches made and charged to your credit card (credit card activity for a user);
  • the searches made and charged to your account and your credit card (account and credit card activity for a user); and
  • a list of all searches by everyone using the account (viewable only if you are an administrator for the account).

User management

This allows administrators to add, delete or modify user profiles.