Blog

Disclaimer: These publications provide general information and should be seen as broad guidance only. The information contained herein cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon this information without obtaining specific professional advice relating to your particular circumstances. Charla Smith & Company Ltd. does not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in these publications or for any decisions based on them.

09
FEB
2024

5 Reasons To Use A Consumer Proposal To Consolidate Your Debt

Canadians are more in debt than ever, and, with the increasing challenges most households face just covering their mounting expenses, many are finding they can no longer manage their debt effectively without a comprehensive plan. Individuals seeking a structured and effective approach t
30
JAN
2024

Who Does A Licensed Insolvency Trustee Work For?

If you’re looking for help with problem debt, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) is the best source for advice, as they have undergone rigorous training and examinations to get their license and they are subject to ongoing professional development requirements, a code of ethics
02
JAN
2024

Does A Failed Business Have To Go Bankrupt?

When a corporation fails and is left with debt that it can’t pay, the first thought for the owners is usually bankruptcy. However, not all insolvent corporations go through a formal bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy is just one of several options to consider. The best option depen
12
DEC
2023

Canadian Government Announces Concerns About Debt Advisors

On December 7, 2023, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) issued a position paper (the “Paper”) titled The Adverse Effects of the Debt Advisory Marketplace on the Insolvency System. In the Paper, the OSB highlights several concerns regarding debt consultants and
06
NOV
2023

Is Your Client Insolvent? 9 Red Flags

As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), we are a trusted source of professional advice about debt. But most people don’t start with an LIT when they're looking for advice about their financial situation. Many people who are struggling with debt already have advisors that they tru
03
NOV
2023

Onward And Upward: Financial Counselling For Insolvent Individuals

When an individual makes a bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal filing, they’re required to undergo two financial counselling sessions. These sessions provide debtors with valuable resources, education, and support to make informed decisions about their financial future. When provide
03
NOV
2023

How The Canada Revenue Agency Is Different From Other Creditors

In some ways, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is just like other creditors: most debt owed to the CRA can be eliminated by filing a bankruptcy; they are often an unsecured creditor, ranking equally with others in the distribution of funds from an estate; when voting on a proposal
03
NOV
2023

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Consumer Proposal

A Consumer Proposal is a formal debt settlement arrangement that allows individuals to negotiate new repayment terms with their creditors. There are several benefits to a Consumer Proposal, but there are also some drawbacks to consider. As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), we regularly
02
NOV
2023

Where To Go When You Need Financial Advice

Financial Literacy is like proper nutrition: incredibly important, but not given enough attention until there’s a problem. Every person in our society has to deal with money in some way, so it's worthy of its own dedicated core subject in our school systems. But that’s
07
SEP
2023

How Do I Declare Bankruptcy?

One of my favorite tv show scenes is the bankruptcy declaration scene from The Office. If you don’t know the scene, Michael Scott (arguably the main character of The Office) falls into some financial difficulties and decides that he needs to declare bankruptcy… by walking
11
AUG
2023

Don't Trust ChatGPT For Advice About Consumer Proposals

As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), it's safe to say I know a lot about Consumer Proposals, as LITs are the only people that can administer a Consumer Proposal. But most people looking for a way to settle their debt are starting out with very little knowledge on this subject. In th
02
AUG
2023

Don't Trust ChatGPT For Advice About Bankruptcy

As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, it's safe to say I know a lot about bankruptcy. But most people considering bankruptcy are starting out with very little knowledge on the subject. A new tool, ChatGPT, has come out that can be very useful for providing information on a topic, so it wou
14
JUL
2023

Will I Lose My Home If I File A Bankruptcy?

Misconceptions about bankruptcy are very common, especially when it comes to what happens to your home. If you want accurate information you should consult a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (formerly known as a Bankruptcy Trustee). They’re the only ones licensed to provide bankruptcy ser
29
JUN
2023

What You Need To Know About Secured Credit Cards

When an individual is starting over (or starting out) when it comes to building a credit score, they may not be viewed as credit-worthy by traditional lenders or credit card companies based on their poor existing credit score or lack of credit history. To convince lenders to take a ch
28
JUN
2023

Superintendent of Bankruptcy: How spot sketchy debt advice

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) is continuing its efforts to help Canadians experiencing serious financial difficulties find the right debt solution. These efforts include increasing consumer awareness about the unregulated Debt Advisory Marketplace and helping consume
27
JUN
2023

Superintendent of Bankruptcy: How to avoid paying unnecessary fees on your debt

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) is continuing its efforts to help Canadians experiencing serious financial difficulties find the right debt solution. These efforts include increasing consumer awareness about the unregulated Debt Advisory Marketplace and helping consume
16
JUN
2023

How Bankruptcy Can Help You Achieve Financial Well-Being

What comes to mind when you think about financial well-being? Perhaps budgeting or net worth… maybe retirement savings. Probably not bankruptcy. When people approach a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (sometimes referred to as a Bankruptcy Trustee) to discuss their options, they&rsquo
18
MAY
2023

Why You Shouldn’t Write Off Bankruptcy As An Option

Most people shudder at the thought of filing bankruptcy. And that’s fair. Bankruptcy is a big step that should only be taken when all other options won’t work. Most people who reach out for help with overwhelming debt would prefer to avoid bankruptcy. That’s why Con
09
MAY
2023

Is Bankruptcy Always Worse For Your Credit Than A Consumer Proposal?

One of the main things people worry about when considering bankruptcy is what it will do to their credit rating. This is a legitimate concern, as bankruptcy gets reported as a negative item on your credit report. The effect on a person’s ability to obtain credit is something we alway
14
APR
2023

How Does Bankruptcy Affect Your Spouse?

How will my bankruptcy impact my spouse? This a frequently asked question when an individual is exploring options for dealing with their overwhelming debt. The short answer is that there is no direct impact on a spouse of a person who declares bankruptcy. It doesn’t show up on the
07
APR
2023

How A Consumer Proposal Is Like A Consolidation Loan… And How It Is Different

When people are looking for options to deal with their overwhelming debt, they get introduced to a whole new world of information that can be overwhelming at first. Many people who should consider a Consumer Proposal are not aware of this option, and instead they start out looking for a co
06
APR
2023

Program you need to know about: File My Return

According to the Government of Canada’s 2023 budget, up to 12 per cent of Canadians currently do not file their tax returns, and the majority of non-filers have low income, such that they pay little to no income tax and likely wouldn’t have an amount owing. The biggest prob
23
MAR
2023

What Is The Difference Between A Bankruptcy Trustee And A Licensed Insolvency Trustee?

If you’re Canadian and have been doing your research about debt relief options, such as bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal, you may have heard the term “Bankruptcy Trustee” and the term “Licensed Insolvency Trustee” and wondered what the difference between thes
21
MAR
2023

Signs You May Need To Consider Bankruptcy

The first word that comes to mind for most people when they realize they can’t pay back their debt is “bankruptcy”. But how do you know when bankruptcy is the right option for you? As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, one of the most common things we hear from people who
10
MAR
2023

What To Do If You Receive A CRA Notice Of Collection

It’s no secret: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) collection agents are back in action. The pandemic-related pause in collection actions is over, and many people are facing the full force of pressure from CRA’s collection department. The scary thing about owing money to CRA is tha
08
MAR
2023

How Directors Can Be Liable For A Corporation’s Debt

When individuals start a business, they’re often advised to set up a corporation to limit their personal liability in case things don’t go as planned. There is certainly an element of protection provided by a corporation, but even if a business is incorporated there are still s
03
MAR
2023

The Top 5 Pros and Cons of a Consumer Proposal

A Consumer Proposal is a formal insolvency filing which is similar to a consolidation loan in that it brings all of your debt under one payment and allows more time to pay, but it can also include a (sometimes significant) discount on the amount of the debt you have to pay. It can be a lif
01
MAR
2023

The Top 5 Pros and Cons of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process intended to help people who are unable to pay their debt, and it can be a valuable tool for individuals facing financial hardship, particularly when they have overwhelming debt. However, like any major financial decision, bankruptcy has pros and cons that must
27
FEB
2023

What To Do If You’ve Defaulted On Your Debt

If you’ve recently defaulted on a debt payment, or are on the verge of default (meaning you failed to make a payment when it was due), you’re not alone. Times are difficult for a lot of Canadian households. On February 14, 2023, a research firm, Maru Public Opinion, released it
22
FEB
2023

5 Steps For Paying Down Your Debt This Year

If your top financial goal this year is to pay down debt, you’re in the majority of Canadians. According to a press release issued by CIBC, their annual Financial Priorities poll found that 18% of Canadians (more than any other category) plan to focus on paying down debt in 2023
07
DEC
2022

Can't Pay Back Your CEBA Loan? You're Not Alone

As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, we’re unfortunately seeing an influx of small business owners who are overwhelmed by their debt and have come to accept that they’re unable to keep their struggling businesses alive. Some of these businesses were already struggling before the p
20
OCT
2022

The Keys to a Financial Fresh Start

In Canada, we have laws allowing an individual to make a proposal to settle their debt with creditors, or to assign themselves into bankruptcy. These laws are referred to as insolvency laws, and the federal government, which is responsible for insolvency laws in Canada, makes it clear
20
SEP
2022

What I wish people knew about bankruptcy | It’s not as uncommon as you think

Everyone has heard of bankruptcy. But, as with anything a person may not have personally experienced, it's easy to develop false assumptions about it based on tidbits of information heard in the news or from other people. Unless someone has gotten up-close-and-personal with bankruptcy,
15
JUL
2022

How Debt Problems Can Affect Your Health

One of the hardest things about being a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) is seeing people wait too long to get help with their debt. Unfortunately, most people either don’t know about the assistance an LIT can provide, or they avoid reaching out due to embarrassment about their situ
10
JUN
2022

How debt relief works: A low income case study

There’s one thing that most of the individuals we help have in common: they never thought an insolvency filing would be something they’d ever need or consider. So when their debt initially became overwhelming they typically knew nothing about debt relief. This often means they
11
APR
2022

My small business needs to go bankrupt… where do I start?

Small businesses have been through a particularly tough time lately, and even businesses that were doing very well previously have run into problems through no fault of their owners and managers, who have worked hard to keep things going for longer than they ever expected they'd have t
09
MAR
2022

Guest Blog: CRA Collection Is Back in Action. What You Need to Know

Tax debt is a hot topic these days, with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) resuming its collection actions in full force after a 2-year break due to the pandemic. So, we’ve collaborated with Trevor Cawston, of Cawston and Associates, to summarize what you need to know about debt owing to C
10
FEB
2022

How debt relief works: A tax debt case study

There’s one thing that most of the individuals we help have in common: they never thought an insolvency filing would be something they’d ever need or consider. So when their debt initially became overwhelming they typically knew nothing about debt relief. This often means they
20
JAN
2022

How debt relief works: A business owner case study

A lot of people have the misconception that individuals who make an insolvency filing lack a moral desire to pay their debts and happily use an insolvency filing to “game the system” and leave their creditors in the lurch. In most cases, nothing could be farther from the truth.
06
JAN
2022

7 Tips for Crushing Your Financial Goals This Year

When people come to us for help with their debt, we don’t stop at providing relief from the debt they’ve accumulated. Financial counselling is a mandatory part of the process, and helps to set you up for greater financial success in the future. Financial goal setting is a vital
30
NOV
2021

Can you really afford to buy that gift?

You'll often hear people refer to "creating a budget for the holidays".  What this usually refers to is setting a limit, and allocating your total limit between gifts, decorations, food, etc. However, it is very important that your total "holiday budget" is set based on what yo
12
AUG
2021

What happens when I make a Consumer Proposal? Will it destroy my credit?

A Consumer Proposal is an agreement you make with your creditors to allow you more time to pay your debt, and often allows you to pay only a fraction of that debt while the rest is forgiven. For some, this sounds too good to be true. It’s not. But there are some things you&rsqu
05
AUG
2021

What happens when I make a Consumer Proposal? Will I lose my home?

A Consumer Proposal is an agreement you make with your creditors to allow you more time to pay your debt, and often also allows you to pay only a fraction of that debt while the rest is forgiven. For some, this sounds too good to be true. It’s not. But there are some things you
28
JUL
2021

What I Wish People Understood About Bankruptcy | Does it make you a bad person?

Everyone has heard of bankruptcy. But, as with anything a person may not have personally experienced, it's easy to develop false assumptions about it. Unless someone has gotten up-close-and-personal with bankruptcy, there are some things they probably don’t know – things
29
JUN
2021

Do You Need to Hire a Debt Consultant?

Settling your debt for less than you owe is sometimes necessary when your debt has become unmanageable and you have no way of paying it off in the foreseeable future. There are a number of options available to legally reduce the amount you have to pay. In a previous blog post, we discus
17
JUN
2021

What is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee?

You may have heard the term Licensed Insolvency Trustee and wondered what it means. I am a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, so let me explain. Licensed Insolvency Trustee (or “LIT”) is the formal designation for a professional who has been certified to provide services under the
02
JUN
2021

Guest blog - Did you know… the worse your credit score is, the faster it can jump up?

Richard Moxley is the author of the best-selling book The Credit Game: Rules Every Canadian Must Know to Win, a highly informative and entertaining guide to having good credit. Richard has been spreading the word about the rules for good credit issue through television interviews, prese
24
MAY
2021

What I Wish People Understood About Bankruptcy | Will it destroy my credit?

Everyone has heard of bankruptcy. But, as with anything a person may not have personally experienced, it’s easy to develop false assumptions about it based on tidbits of information heard in the news or from people you know. Unless a person has gotten up-close-and-personal with ba
11
MAY
2021

What I Wish People Understood About Bankruptcy | Do you lose all of your assets in a bankruptcy?

Everyone has heard of bankruptcy. But, as with anything a person may not have personally experienced, it’s easy to develop false assumptions about it based on tidbits of information heard in the news or from people you know. Unless a person has gotten up-close-and-personal with bankr
04
MAY
2021

So You Owe Taxes This Year...

This time of year, a lot of people look forward to receiving a tax refund. For those living on a low income, a tax refund can be highly anticipated as a way to catch up on bills or pay for something they’ve been holding off on, such as a car repair or dental work. Unfortunately, this
28
APR
2021

Everything You Need to Know About Debt Settlement

There may come a time when a person realizes they owe more debt than they can afford to pay back. In this case, they may look to settle their debt, meaning they make a deal to pay creditors less than what is owed. There are a number of reasons creditors might agree to this, including:
22
APR
2021

Consolidation Loans: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

When a person needs to deal with debt that is becoming unmanageable, they often think of a debt consolidation loan. Although most people are familiar with the term, you might not be familiar with exactly what it entails. Depending on your situation, a debt consolidation loan might be a goo
07
APR
2021

Parents: Teach Your Kids About Money Early

All parents wish for our kids to be more prepared for adult life than we were. In particular, parents who experience financial difficulty are set on helping their kids avoid such problems. But despite efforts of generations of parents, it seems not everyone is sufficiently prepared for fin
17
MAR
2021

Read This Before Cashing Out Your RRSPs To Pay Debt

An RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) is a retirement savings vehicle, and a critical part of many peoples’ retirement plans. However, when you have RRSP savings but face an immediate cash crunch, it can be tempting to cash in RRSPs prior to retirement. Cashing in RRSPs to
11
MAR
2021

Parents: Read this before you help your kids with their debt

There’s no shortage of articles on the web highlighting the tough financial road that today’s young adults face. The rising cost of post-secondary education, a tight job market, and high housing costs are some of the many things blamed for this. Parents of these young adults of
18
FEB
2021

Guest Blog - Beginner's Guide to Taxes for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

At Charla Smith & Company, we often talk to small business owners who have concerns about their business's financial health or the impact their business's finances are having on their own financial situation. One common area of concern is tax debt. Even a business owner that is
11
FEB
2021

Every Albertan Dealing With Debt Should Know About This Free New Program

It's no secret that when a crisis hits, Albertans come together. The response to the 2013 Calgary floods and the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires come to mind as examples. And there is no question Alberta is in a crisis right now. The financial (among other) impacts the coronavirus pandemi
12
JAN
2021

5 Signs You're Already in the Financial Sweatbox

The “sweatbox” is a situation that often occurs prior to an individual making an assignment in bankruptcy. For those with debts they can’t pay, the sweatbox is all about suffering. Often, the suffering lasts for a long period of time before the individual eventually reali
12
JAN
2021

What is the “sweatbox” and why should you avoid it?

The term “sweatbox” was coined by researchers1 working on a study about people who file bankruptcy to describe the situation that often occurs prior to their insolvency filing. During a person’s time in the sweatbox, they know or suspect they can’t afford to pay the

CHARLA SMITH & COMPANY LTD.

CHARLA SMITH & COMPANY LTD.

Let us help you get relief from the burden caused by your debt. As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, Charla Smith & Company are highly trained and experienced in debt relief solutions, and we take great pride in identifying the option that's the best fit for your unique situation. From advice on talking to your creditors to consumer proposals to bankruptcy and everything in between, we’re here to answer questions, guide and advise you so you can take back control of your financial situation. Serving Southern Alberta.

YOUR TRUSTED CHOICE FOR DEBT RELIEF

With our experience and our caring approach, we will help you find the best option for debt relief based on your unique situation - from advice on talking to your creditors to a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, and everything in between. We are here to lift the burden caused by overwhelming debt. 

Contact us today at 1-403-899-3890‌ for a FREE, no-commitment meeting, and let us guide you to regaining your financial footing.

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