Your discharge is important because it is your discharge that eliminates your debts, except those debts not discharged by a bankruptcy.
You will receive an automatic discharge from a first or second bankruptcy if you:
- complete all of your duties and
- your trustee and your creditors do not object to your discharge.
The length of your bankruptcy in Ontario can be as short as 9 months if this is your first bankruptcy and you have no surplus income but will be extended if you have surplus income or have been bankrupt before. For more information, read our FAQ about how long you will be bankrupt in Ontario.
An “automatic discharge” means that the court is not involved. Once you receive your automatic discharge, your obligation to repay your debts is gone and you have a fresh start.
Court Hearing And Discharge
While most bankruptcies end in an automatic discharge, there are circumstances when the courts will be required to approve your discharge. You are not eligible for an automatic discharge and court hearing is required if:
- You do not complete your duties,
- any of your creditors or your trustee objects to your discharge, or
- if this is your third bankruptcy.
In bankruptcy court the bankruptcy judge will determine what actions you are required to take to receive your discharge.
There are four types of discharge that the judge can order:
Absolute discharge — You will be fully released from your debts, except debts that are excluded by bankruptcy law.
- Conditional discharge — You are required to fulfill certain conditions prior to obtaining your absolute discharge. Conditions may include making additional payments, or completing your duties. Once you have completed the conditions, the trustee must return to court to obtain your absolute order of discharge.
Suspended discharge — This is an absolute discharge that does not take effect until a specific date in the future.
Discharge refused —The court may refuse a discharge.
As mentioned earlier, you bankruptcy discharge is important because it is your discharge that eliminates your debts. If you do not receive your discharge, your trustee is required to close your file, and at that time all of your debts return. You are then in the worst possible position: your creditors can pursue you for the amounts owing, but because you are an undischarged bankrupt you cannot go bankrupt to eliminate your debts.
If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy, contact an Ontario Bankruptcy Trustee about your situation. We can explain what your discharge will mean and help you through the process.