While many people are more accepting of the fact that we live in an on-line world and that much of our lives are on facebook, twitter and other social media, the fact remains that most people do not want to have everyone gossiping about the fact that they needed to file for bankruptcy.
You should know that filing a bankruptcy or a proposal means that certain documents can become public. The amount of information however is very limited, and in fact is not very front and centre.
The good news is that most people who file for bankruptcy do not need a notice in the newspaper. This notice is only legally required for bankruptcies with assets that have a very high value and no debt attached to them (unsecured assets) or for a corporation or business. This is why you normally see notices in the paper for businesses and a very few number of individuals. Most people do not need public notification and if they have the asset value that might require the notice in a bankruptcy, your trustee should discuss the option of a consumer proposal, as proposals are not reported in the newspaper.
Your bankruptcy is filed as a matter of public record with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, however individuals have to pay to search this database.
Obviously your creditors will find out about your bankruptcy. They are notified by your bankruptcy trustee as part of the bankruptcy process. This is actually good for you since once they are notified, creditors will stop calling you.
CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) also will find out as they are advised of all bankruptcy filings. Some other government agencies are also sometimes notified depending on your situation.
If you have a wage garnishment in place, the trustee will sent appropriate legal documents to your employer so that the garnishment can be stopped. Even though you may not want your employer to know, it is the only way to stop the garnishment. As long as you are providing information to your trustee about your monthly income, proper address and other requested material, there is no other reason for your trustee to contact your employer.
A bankruptcy trustee will also send copies of documents to collection agencies if you let us know about them, so they will stop trying to collect from you.
It is easy to think that you are the only one experiencing financial difficulty and everyone is going to know about it. In reality there are many people in your same situation and normally no one but the creditors are interested in knowing that you filed a bankruptcy or proposal. In fact, in Ontario it is estimated that between 10% and 15% of the population will have declared bankruptcy at some point in their lives. Do you know that many people who have done this? Probably not because most are done so quietly, and with only necessary communication.
Do not let fear that people will know you need help, stop you from contacting a bankruptcy trustee for help with your debt problems. As licensed debt professionals, a bankruptcy trustee follows a rigid code of conduct which includes treating individuals with respect and privacy, only communicating what is necessary to administer your bankruptcy.