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Online Bankruptcy Search in Canada: Who Will Know?

In Canada the process of declaring Bankruptcy or searching for information related to bankrupt entities is governed by a set of specific regulations and procedures. The official bankruptcy records in Canada are compiled by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). Anyone can technically access them through a search on the OSB website, however there is a fee to do this, and they must be very specific.

Understanding Bankruptcy in Canada

Before diving into who will find out about my bankruptcy in Canada,  it’s essential to comprehend what Bankruptcy entails and how it operates in Canada. Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows individuals and businesses who are unable to meet their financial obligations to be discharged from most of their debts, subject to certain conditions and the surrender of assets. It can provide individuals and businesses with the opportunity to make a fresh financial start.

Bankruptcy is primarily governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) in Canada, which outlines the legal framework for Bankruptcies across the country and in all provinces.

Are Bankruptcies Public?

When an individual or business files for Bankruptcy, the details of the case, including the type of Bankruptcy, assets, liabilities, and the proceedings, become a matter of public record.

But there is no reason to panic. If you are thinking of filing for Bankruptcy and you’re afraid that your employer, your friends or family might find out, be reassured: your personal bankruptcy is not likely to be in the paper or be anywhere where someone might see it. It takes time and money to search for bankruptcy information.

Bankruptcy records are typically maintained by the Bankruptcy court in the jurisdiction where the case is filed. These records can be accessed by interested parties, such as creditors, through court records or online databases. In addition, credit reporting agencies often include Bankruptcy information in credit reports, which can be accessed by lenders and others who check an individual’s credit history.

The Official Receiver’s Office is a crucial government agency responsible for administering Bankruptcies in Canada. You can request Bankruptcy records from this office by contacting them directly.

Who Will Be Informed About My Bankruptcy?

In most instances, only your Trustee, your creditors, and the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada will have knowledge of your Bankruptcy filing.

The OSB sends a monthly list of new bankruptcies to each of the credit bureaus in Canada ( and TransUnion), who record them on their credit histories of the individual consumers. The OSB is also responsible to send information on any bankruptcies that have been completed (discharged) so that the bankruptcy will be removed from your credit report after a set number of years.

If you decide to seek credit from another lender while the credit bureaus retain a record of your Bankruptcy, that particular lender will become aware of your Bankruptcy through the credit bureau’s information. It is unlikely that anyone else will become aware of your Bankruptcy unless certain circumstances lead them to suspect it, prompting them to search the records held by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB).

You need not be concerned about the possibility of your friends or family stumbling upon your Bankruptcy records, unless you choose to share this information with them.

Will My Bankruptcy Be Reported in the Newspaper?

It is unlikely that your Bankruptcy will be featured in a newspaper. A newspaper publishing of a bankruptcy is normally for a corporation business or one where there are substantial assets. In such cases, these notices are placed by the individual’s Licensed Insolvency Trustee as a means of communicating with creditors.

Will my Employer Find Out if I File for Bankruptcy?

Filing for Bankruptcy is a matter of public record, but in most cases, your employer won’t discover your Bankruptcy easily. Employers typically don’t routinely check Bankruptcy records, focusing on other aspects during background checks when hiring. However, certain circumstances might lead to your employer finding out:

  • Disclosure: If your job involves financial matters or a fiduciary duty, company policies may require you to disclose your Bankruptcy.
  • Court notifications: Your creditors, including your employer if you owe them money, will be notified by the Bankruptcy court.
  • Credit report: While potential employers and creditors may check your credit report, your current employer is generally not informed about changes in your credit history.
  • Exceptions: Jobs involving government security clearances, positions of trust, or financial roles may lead to your employer discovering your Bankruptcy through background checks.

To file for Bankruptcy, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee must be involved. If you are concerned about the impact of filing on your job, they will advise you of the implications.

Can You Look Up Bankruptcies Online?

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) provides online access to Bankruptcy records. You can pay a fee to the OSB for them to search for Bankruptcy and Insolvency records by the name of the individual or business and get a list of Bankruptcies in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records Search database.

Please note that the search tool does not permit random searches. The person conducting the search must have correct knowledge of the individual’s record they are seeking.

Helping Canadians With Their Debt Since 1979

With authorization from the Federal Government of Canada to manage Bankruptcies, Consumer Proposals, and debt relief services, the compassionate team at Allan Marshall & Associates Inc. possesses the expertise and experience to evaluate your circumstances. They will provide tailored advice on Bankruptcy and also explain all the options that may be available to you. You can then make a well informed decision.Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Allan Marshall & Associates Inc.

Allan Marshall & Associates Inc. is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee firm in British Columbia, Alberta & the Maritimes. Our dedicated writing team consists of LIT's, counsellors, and debt administrators that help to write informative articles and answer questions about your debt issues.

We are licensed by the Federal Government of Canada to administer Personal Bankruptcies, Consumer Proposals, other insolvency services such as Credit Counselling. We have the knowledge and experience to assess your situation and offer the best advice for your particular need, whether you are a first time bankrupt or simply struggling to make ends meet.