Can I file bankruptcy in Sarnia if I don’t live in Canada?

by Joel Sandwith on June 9, 2011

This is a surprisingly frequent question, with a complicated answer.

If you have Canadian debts, you may be able to file bankruptcy in Canada, even if you live elsewhere, but it won’t be easy.

First, you have to establish some connection to Canada other than the debts – you must have a residence here, do business here or own property here.  So, if you’ve moved the States for work and left nothing behind but debt, you may not be able to file here at all.

Assuming you can establish some connection here, the next issue is that if you file a bankruptcy in Canada, all of your property, wherever it is located, is involved.  So, for example if you own a car in the United States and file bankruptcy here in Canada, you may lose the car!

In addition, you must be able to attend several meetings in Canada over the course of your bankruptcy, including an assessment meeting with the Trustee, and two counselling sessions.  There could be more meetings, and in some cases you may be required to attend a meeting with your creditors, or the goverment, and possibly even Court.  These last noted meetings are rare but none of them can be done over the phone, they must be face to face.  So, if it is difficult to get to Canada, you simply may not be able to file.

Finally, the cost to file may be high.  In most cases, it is difficult for a Trustee to take on a bankruptcy filing for someone who is out of the country.  The reason is fairly simple – it could be a long, expensive process and there is risk that the person filing may simply not be able to complete it, which puts the Trustee at risk.

So, what options are there then?  To be honest, we suggest in most cases that you simply wait until you return to Canada to deal with the debt.  Certainly contact us to see if your situation lends itself to bankruptcy, but don’t be surprised if we tell you that you can’t, or shouldn’t file.  There is little, to nothing, that your creditors can do to you while you are out of the country.

For a more specific evaluation of your situation, call us at 519-344-1058.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sofia September 1, 2016 at 2:05 am

Do you have any video of that? I’d want to find out some additional information.

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