Frequently Asked Questions

We provide answers to our clients’ most commonly asked questions.

1. What are the common reasons why people have financial problems?

Common reasons include:

  • Education expenses or student loans
  • High housing costs
  • High credit expenses
  • Illness or injury
  • Lack of financial literacy
  • Separation or divorce
  • Underemployment
  • Unemployment

2. What are the best options for people with debt?

In Canada, individuals have various options to address their debt and financial challenges. Delaying the resolution of these issues can limit the available choices over time. Our expertise lies in identifying alternatives and developing practical plans to regain financial stability. Some options we may explore include:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Consolidation Loan
  • Consumer Proposal
  • Debt Management Program
  • Debt Settlement
  • Orderly Payment of Debts program (in Alberta only)

Often, we help individuals overcome their financial challenges without resorting to any of these programs. By offering a fresh perspective, imparting knowledge, optimizing a budget, and devising an action plan, individuals can address their financial challenges independently.

3. What are some warning signs of being in debt?

Warning signs include:

  • Inability to pay bills on time
  • Receiving due notices and collection calls
  • Relying on credit lines or overdrafts
  • Losing sleep over debt problems
  • Spending far beyond your income
  • Struggling to make monthly credit payments
  • Impulse spending due to debt stress
  • Hiding spending from family members or a partner
  • Accumulating unpaid bills
  • Being declined for debt consolidation by financial institutions
  • Lacking a spending budget and plan
  • Feeling hopeless about debt problems

4. Does reaching out to your services affect my credit?

No, talking to us won’t affect your credit. We provide confidential services free of charge, so no one would know that you reached out to us for consultation.

5. Are you able to help with my bankruptcy?

If you feel that bankruptcy is your only recourse, we’re here to assist you. Numerous alternatives exist between financial hardship and bankruptcy that carry less severe consequences for your credit, future employment, and living prospects. Our expertise lies in guiding individuals through the advantages and disadvantages of all available options. If bankruptcy emerges as the best option, we’ll connect you with a trusted trustee to facilitate the process.

6. What is the difference between your services and debt consultants or for-profit debt relief companies?

Several significant distinctions set us apart:

  • Compensation Structure: We don’t offer commission-based pay to our staff. Our team receives uniform compensation regardless of the debt solution you choose, ensuring objective advice.
  • Professional Accreditation: Our credit counselors undergo professional training and hold accreditation from the AFCPE (Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education). Our organization is accredited by Credit Counseling Canada and is accountable to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
  • Non-Profit Model: About 95% of the individuals who seek our assistance receive help entirely for free. Only about 5% opt for programs involving costs, which we often reduce or waive if affordability is a concern. This model, supported by donations from the financial community, allows us to offer broad-spectrum assistance.
  • Client Satisfaction: We have high client satisfaction ratings, with 98% of clients reporting they would recommend our service. Our dedication is reflected in numerous accolades, including Consumer Choice Awards, and positive reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

7. Are you open to loaning money?

While we don’t provide loans, we offer substantial assistance to individuals seeking financial stability through alternative means:

  • Debt Management Program (DMP): Our DMP consolidates all your unsecured debts into a single, manageable monthly payment aligned with your budget. You make this payment to us, and we disburse payments to your various creditors on your behalf, often leading to significant savings on interest. Learn more about the [Debt Management Program](link to DMP page).
  • Budgeting Assistance: Through personalized consultations, we assist you in creating a realistic budget tailored to your financial challenges and future goals. This process helps you overcome challenges and make progress toward your financial objectives without borrowing. Before considering a loan, schedule an appointment with one of our credit counselors.

8. Where do you get funding for your services?

More than 70% of our funding comes from generous donations provided by the credit granting community.

9. Why do creditors support your services?

Creditors support our services and programs because:

  • They appreciate the unbiased information, advice, and counseling provided to consumers at no cost.
  • They benefit from the success of our services and programs.
  • Their customers prefer advice from an impartial credit counseling service when facing financial challenges.
  • We conduct workshops and webinars, often free of charge, to educate consumers on financial literacy topics such as budgeting and responsible credit use.

10. How much debt do you handle?

We assist individuals regardless of the size of their personal debt, whether it’s $2,000, $20,000, or $200,000. Our priority is to provide help, with solutions and strategies available to address debts of any magnitude.

11. Who are the major credit bureau companies in Canada?

The two primary credit bureau companies in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion. Each company allows you to obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year if you request it by mail or phone. Here’s how to obtain a complimentary copy of your credit report and check your credit score (often two separate things).