Personal bankruptcy is a formal legal process governed in Ontario, and throughout Canada, by the provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). A requirement of the BIA is that bankruptcy is filed with a trustee licensed by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). Even though the OSB is part of the federal government, the trustee is a private business and not a government employee or part of the government.
While that explains who you must meet with to file for bankruptcy, the question often comes up does it matter where you file for bankruptcy?
To file bankruptcy, you are required to meet in person with the bankruptcy trustee to review your circumstances. You file bankruptcy in the jurisdiction where you live or where the majority of your debts and/or assets are (which is generally where you live).
That means that if you:
- live in Ontario, and / or
- have most of your debts in Ontario, and / or
- have most of your assets in Ontario
you will need to meet with an Ontario bankruptcy trustee.
It is possible to live outside of Ontario (even out of the country) and file for bankruptcy with an Ontario bankruptcy trustee in order to deal with debts here.
It is important to meet with a bankruptcy trustee, in person, and in the proper jurisdiction, to make sure all appropriate provincial and federal laws that affect bankruptcy are taken into consideration.
At a consultation, the trustee is required, with your assistance, to compile a list of who you owe money to, as well as a list and estimated values of your personal possessions. You are also required to provide a monthly summary of your income and expenses.
This information may seem straightforward. However, there are certain issues or misconceptions that can cause confusion. Provincial laws vary as to what assets are exempt from seizure, and other provincial regulations may apply.
With this information, the trustee’s role is to review the various options for resolving the debt crisis. If the choice is to file bankruptcy, the trustee will assist in preparing the necessary paperwork. The “filing” of bankruptcy happens after you and the trustee have reviewed the final paperwork, which is then sent electronically from the trustee’s office to the OSB.
Where Are Bankruptcy Court Hearings Held?
It is rare for personal bankruptcies to require debtors to attend bankruptcy court however it can happen. There are bankruptcy court hearings in Windsor, London, Kitchener, Toronto and Ottawa, based on where you live.
If for example, you live in Cambridge, Ontario you go to Kitchener court. If you live in Brantford, that’s part of the Hamilton court system, so you would go to Toronto for your hearing. You bankruptcy trustee would advise you which location you would be required to attend if a court hearing is required.
You should not be afraid to talk to a trustee. A trustee is required to provide unbiased advice so that you can make the best decision for your situation. If you live in Ontario and are considering bankruptcy, our licensed trustees have offices throughout Ontario.
Contact an Ontario bankruptcy trustee today for a free, no obligation consultation.