Can the Bankruptcy Assistance Program Help Me?

  • By Jillian Taylor-Mancusi

 

If you’re in financial trouble, you may be thinking about filing for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy isn’t a free service. With costs estimated between $1,500 and $2,500, what do you do if you can’t afford it? The Bankruptcy Assistance Program may help.

What is the Bankruptcy Assistance Program?

When the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) was passed, the government provided a way for honorable Canadians with overwhelming debt to obtain a fresh start. Even though the fees to file are regulated by the government, the bankruptcy process can be costly, especially for those already struggling financially. The costs for trustee services, court, and document filing fees can add up.

Knowing there would be those who could not afford these charges, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) set up a program designed to assist low or no-income individuals who need to file for bankruptcy. This Bankruptcy Assistance Program (BAP) matches up prospective filers with Licensed Insolvency Trustees who participate in the program.

Many trustees are willing to represent clients whose resources are very limited, so the BAP is actually not used very often. A low initial cost of under $300 includes filing fees and charges for counseling sessions. Licensed insolvency trustees may reduce their rates and work out an affordable payment plan. The commission payments are usually spread out over the 9 months before discharge.

If these lower payment amounts still make filing unaffordable, the BAP will help you hire a trustee who participates in their program.  Your fees will be significantly reduced or might even be waived altogether.

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Who qualifies for the Bankruptcy Assistance Program?

In order to receive help, you must meet four requirements:

  • You must have made contact with at least two Licensed Insolvency Trustees and been refused service. You can find trustees who participate in the program by contacting the OSB.
  • You cannot be involved in a commercial activity. Your bankruptcy filing cannot include business activities you may be a part of. Business (commercial) filings are time consuming, costly, and are not covered by the BAP.
  • You cannot be in jail.
  • You cannot have surplus income. Surplus income is the amount of money you earn while you are bankrupt that is over a predefined amount. You can determine whether or not you have surplus income by searching for a surplus income calculator on the internet, or by contacting a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

What to do next

If you want to find out more about bankruptcy or if you qualify for the BAP, contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. The first consultation is free, and many trustees will work with you even if your resources are limited.

A trustee will also help you understand the options that are available to you and which solution is right for your personal situation.

Debt help is not just for the wealthy. LCTaylor can provide bankruptcy help for low income individuals with a BAP. Bankruptcy can provide the freedom from debt you’ve been seeking. Don’t let your lack of financial resources keep you from seeking the advice of a trustee. The Bankruptcy Assistance Program in Ontario was designed to help people just like you. Get help with bankruptcy by contacting us today.

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