Can You Leave The Country During Your Bankruptcy?

| Category: Bankruptcy FAQ
Category: Bankruptcy FAQ | (8) comments

There is no legal restriction preventing you from leaving the country if you have filed a bankruptcy in Ontario.  However, there are numerous situations where you are required to be physically present.  The inability to attend in person would likely result in a delay in getting your discharge from bankruptcy.

travelling while bankrupt

Credit Counselling Sessions

After bankruptcy is filed, you are required to meet with the trustee or a licensed counsellor for two financial counselling sessions.  This can be done via phone with prior approval from the government, but only in extraordinary circumstances.  Having left the country would not be considered an adequate reason.

Creditors Meeting

A meeting of creditors is an opportunity for the creditors to ask questions of the bankrupt and give direction to the trustee with respect to dealing with the affairs of the bankrupt person.  There is always a meeting of creditors in a corporate bankruptcy, but rarely in a personal bankruptcy.  However, if a meeting is required in a personal bankruptcy, the bankrupt is required to attend.


Sometimes, a bankrupt person is required to attend for examination under oath.  The examination is usually conducted by a government official where the purpose is the look further into the bankrupt person’s affairs.  If you were out of the country, and unable to attend for the examination, the discharge would be delayed until after the examination could be completed.


There is a general duty of the bankrupt person to keep the trustee informed of his or her address and contact information until the bankruptcy is completed.  This is to ensure that the administration of the bankruptcy not be delayed unnecessarily if the assistance of the bankrupt person is required.

Another general duty is for the bankrupt person to provide a monthly summary of his or her income and expenses.  Not being in the country does not have to be an impediment since this information can be transmitted to the trustee via electronic media like e-mail or fax.

Discharge Hearing

Most bankruptcies end with an “automatic” order of discharge, meaning that there was no requirement to go to court to set the terms of discharge.  If a discharge hearing is required, the bankrupt person is most often required to attend.  The most common reason for a discharge hearing is not completing the required duties, such as those described in this article.  Being unable to attend the court hearing could mean that the court refuses to make a ruling until the bankrupt person is able to attend.

In summary, the simple answer is: yes, you can leave the country during the bankruptcy.  As you can see, though, it is important to be aware of your responsibilities to ensure that there is not a delay in receiving your discharge from bankruptcy.

Leave A Comment

  1. Shehnaz

    Hi there, I would like to get some info regarding bankruptcy. I know there is a trustee fee. Is there a counselor fee too. Please let me know the procedure

  2. Phil

    Hello. I have a question. Say a married man filed for personal bankruptcy . And that married couple both owned a home ( marital home) with wife on title. and then that home were sold before the man was released from bankruptcy. And that man decided to leave the country could the court come after the wife’s half or any of the money from the sale of that property ? I would be so happy if you could answer this question for me please.

  3. Dave

    Can I file for bankruptcy if I am out of country? My family and I moved overseas and but my job fell through with my family and I now on government (foreign) benefits (like Ontario Works). We have no other finances or way to pay off outstanding credit card and personal loans (we were living in Ontario prior to departure) which we had planned to pay off through work. We are unable to meet even the minimum payments, so the situation financially is somewhat overwhelming and hopeless. Your thoughts?

    1. J. Douglas Hoyes, Trustee

      Hi Dave. If you don’t pay your creditors, they can sue you and attempt to garnishee your wages. However, since you are living outside of the country, even if you were working it would be very difficult for the creditors to garnishee foreign income. Since you are not currently working there are no wages to garnishee, even if they could. So, the logical option would be to advise the creditors that you are unable to pay them. If you return to work in Canada, it is possible that they will pursue you then, so at that time you could consider your options.

  4. Georgina

    Hi, is it possible to pause debts if you leave Canada and return after a year? My family and I have to go back home to upgrade my profession to be able to get my license profession here in canada and comeback with a good job offer. Appreciate your answer.

    1. Ted Michalos, Bankruptcy Trustee

      You’ll need to negotiate such a pause with each of your debts individually in order to make this happen. You might consider filing a consumer proposal to deal with your debts and set the payments in the first year at some low number, then increasing them in year two when you return to clean up the balance. This would be “outside the box”, but quite possible and within the law…


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