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June 2009 - Could leaving Canada wipe out your debts?

Could leaving Canada wipe out your debts?

☳ by Adam Aspilla

There are four common ways of solving financial problems. They are debt consolidation, credit counseling, consumer proposal or bankruptcy as a last resort. Nevertheless, there are people who are in financial crisis who could not qualify for debt consolidation would not avail of the other three remaining options, but would simply leave the country believing that by leaving Canada could wipe out their debts. Leaving the country may or may not solve your financial problems.

If by leaving the country would free you from receiving demand letters and harassing calls from creditors, yes, in a way it is a solution but merely a “band aid” solution. Why? Because when you come back you are still in debt.

If there was a court judgment against you, it is enforceable for a period of more than 10 years. At anytime you come back before the period of prescription of the judgment, your wages could be garnished and your assets including bank accounts could be seized to satisfy the judgment amount.

Though, your credit bureau file may have no more derogatory records as they normally be removed after seven years except for multiple bankruptcies, it does not prevent however your creditors from enforcing the judgment.

If there was no judgment against you and your creditors simply suspended the collection activities during your absence, upon your creditors’ knowledge that you are back in the country, they may resume their collection activities and sue you in court and obtain judgment against you.  Thereafter, they could seize your assets as above mentioned.

A good example was a man who left the country for eight years leaving his outstanding debts. When he came back, he found a good paying job. He applied for a car loan, he got approved. Then, applied for mortgage loan, no problem he got approved. Then, it did not take long his creditors found out that he was back. Collection activities were resumed and his creditors obtained court judgments and his wages were garnished and liens were registered against his house through court order. Ultimately, his house was sold to satisfy the amount of the judgment.

Leaving the country is not the best way of solving your financial problem as in the above case scenario. Had the man in the above example just filed bankruptcy (the least expensive way) before he left the country, by the time he came back, he would have been totally debt-free and avoided the garnishment of wages and losing his house.



Adam Aspilla is a Senior Financial Counselor of the Debt Clinic of Canada Inc. and the author of the book, You Can Negotiate All Your Debts. He also writes a biweekly column, “What Matters In Life” in “Taliba Newspaper. For free initial, professional and confidential consultation, please call 905-306-7572.