Canadians with debt challenges will soon have more clarity, accessibility for solutions
TORONTO--BDO Canada Limited says consumers experiencing financial challenges acquired significant benefits this month - greater clarity, accessibility and timeliness regarding their options and enhanced transparency and professionalism of those who provide them with debt management services.
On July 7 the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada (OSB) opened the door to business relationships between CIRPs/trustees in bankruptcy and credit counsellors and permitting counsellors to seek a trustee licence in order to provide a broader range of insolvency services. These decisions are part of the OSB review of the trustee licensing regulatory framework. BDO CIRPs/trustees provided input into the review process, contributing to submissions by the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) and the Insolvency Institute of Canada.
"Two of the OSB decisions are of special benefit to consumers," says Bill Courage, CFE, CA-FCIRP, trustee in bankruptcy, national leader of the Financial Recovery Services practice of BDO. "We believe these changes will provide individuals experiencing debt challenges with more transparency, access to a greater variety of solutions and higher standards of advice."
Facilitating credit counsellors in obtaining a trustee license
Credit counsellors have been seeking the right to administer consumer proposals, which may only be administered by a CIRP/trustee in bankruptcy. In order to ensure that consumers have access to complete and competent advice, the OSB is encouraging credit counsellors to obtain a trustee in bankruptcy licence. This will enable them to offer a full range of debt reduction and insolvency services, that is, not only budget/credit counselling and debt management planning, but also consumer proposal and bankruptcy options. This will also serve to expand the number of professional CIRPs/trustees across the country who can offer consumers a complete range of financial solutions.
Facilitating business relationships between trustees and credit counsellors
In order to provide consumers with timely access to the appropriate expertise, the OSB is encouraging coordination of services between credit counsellors and trustees. Currently, when consumers seek help from credit counsellors but counselling or a debt management plan will not solve their financial problems, the counsellor must refer the debtor to a trustee for assistance with a consumer proposal or an assignment in bankruptcy. By enabling credit counsellors to enter into business arrangements with trustees, this process will be more efficient and timely.
"These decisions by the OSB provide a powerful new level of legislative and professional protection for Canadian consumers," says Courage. "When consumers want reliable advice for their money challenges, they can be assured that service providers having CIRP/trustee qualifications will provide qualified advice in exploring all possible options - and objective guidance in choosing the solution that is in their best interest. BDO looks forward to expanding our professional relationships with credit counsellors for the benefit of Canadian consumers."