Onward And Upward: Financial Counselling For Insolvent Individuals

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 provided along with tailored advice from the Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), this counselling can help transform the debtor’s entire family’s financial future.

The Government of Canada has developed materials in the form of online modules to support these counselling sessions, which can be publicly accessed on the Superintendent of Bankruptcy’s website. For those who have made an insolvency filing, these materials are supplemented by counselling sessions provided by the LIT; however, the online resources are available to anyone, and can be useful even for people who are not undergoing a financial restructuring. Therefore, we're sharing this information so that anyone looking for education on financial management can check it out.

Here is what is is covered in the modules:

Stage 1 – Budgeting stage

  • Introduction to the counselling process.
  • Learn how to create and maintain a budget. A budget template is provided, as well as an income and expense tracking tool to find out where your money is going over time.

Stage 2 – Planning for the future stage

  • Learn how to set and achieve your future financial goals, which are key to motivating you to stick with your budget. A template is provided to prompt you to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based (SMART) goals.
  • Learn about spending strategies and get spending tips to help you meet your financial goals.
  • Learn how to use credit responsibly to stay in control and achieve a healthy credit score to give you flexibility in achieving your financial goals.

While an individual who files a bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal is required to do this financial counselling, we recommend these materials to anyone who needs a boost in their financial literacy or tools to implement a new financial plan.

Charla Smith & Company is a Calgary-based Licensed Insolvency Trustee, serving the southern Alberta region. We regularly help individuals review their options for dealing with overwhelming debt, and give them advice on implementing a financial plan. If you'd like some advice, please reach out to us.

Disclaimer: This publication provides 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 this publication or for any decision based on it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Licensed Insolvency Trustees (or LITs) are the only people who can provide bankruptcy or Consumer Proposals as an option for dealing with your debt. They are uniquely qualified to provide these services and give you advice about your debt. For more information, see our blog post: What is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee?

Not at all. Bankruptcy is one of the services we provide but it is not the best solution for everybody. In fact, more often than not we recommend a solution other than bankruptcy. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee is simply the best resource for reviewing your options, as we are highly trained, regulated by the government and our professional association, and well-versed in a variety of options. Contact us if you'd like to start a conversation about your options.

Reach out to us. You can make an inquiry directly from our website by clicking here, or you can call or text us at 1-403-899-3890. We will respond quickly, and work with you to find a good time for the meeting.

A Consumer Proposal is a legal process available to insolvent Canadians with no more than $250,000 in debt (not including a mortgage on a principal residence) to negotiate an extension of time and/or a reduction of debt with all your creditors at once.

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee is required to file a Consumer Proposal. We'll work with you to determine whether a proposal is the best option, and to develop a proposal that is both achievable for you and beneficial for your creditors. For more details on the features and benefits of a Consumer Proposal, visit this page or our Consumer Proposal blog or contact us.

There's a common misconception that if someone becomes bankrupt, everything they have gets sold to pay creditors and they're left with nothing. 

The truth is, people often don't lose their assets in bankruptcy for one or more of the reasons we've discussed in What I Wish People Understood About Bankruptcy: Will I Lose All Of My Assets? :

There are many factors unique to your situation which must be considered to determine what you could keep in a bankruptcy. To be sure, the best way to find out is to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for a free no-committment assessment.

You can find out your credit score, and see the details on your report that are impacting it, by pulling your credit report from either TransUnion, Equifax, or both. Both is actually preferable because some lenders only report to one or the other, so your credit score can actually be different on each.

While the credit agencies will give you the option of paying for regular credit reporting information, you can pull the reports for free. Click on these links to get TransUnion and Equifax reports.


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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