♦ VIDEO – CREDIT CARD DEBT HELP: START NOW FOR A DEBT FREE CHRISTMAS 2016 ♦

Now that the Holidays are over, and the feeling of Christmas cheer is being replaced with the reality of your need for credit card debt help, I wanted to come and share a few tips for having a debt free Christmas 2016.  Maybe you have already maxed out your credit cards with purchases for your family and friends.

It is not too early to start thinking about a debt free Christmas 2016.  So while you are taking your time to pay off the credit card debt, or considering your options in obtaining the credit card debt help you need, this is actually the perfect time to begin thinking about having a debt-free Christmas for 2016.

We have 4 tips that will start you on the path for a debt free Christmas 2016:

  1.  Set a realistic budget– This is a critical part to not only budget for paying off the 2015 credit card debt, but also for planning a debt free Christmas 2016.  Make a list of everyone that you will want to purchase a gift for, write down a gift idea and estimated cost.  Now you can start incorporating those costs, and the costs of any incidentals like meals you like to cook for family and friends and any other miscellaneous expenses associated with next Christmas.
  2. Set up a savings account – Now that you know how much you have to pay off from 2015 Holiday credit card debt, and your estimated budget for Christmas 2016, you can work those into your monthly budget.  Take the estimated 2016 cost and start saving from every paycheque now by putting the money in a special savings account solely for that purpose.  It is easier to start saving now in February little bits every week, than to expect all the money to just be available come next December.  In this way you won’t need Christmas 2016 credit card debt help.
  3. Look for sales all year round – There are all types of sales throughout the year.  Traditionally, the month of December is not one of those months.  Why not take advantage of sales all year round by purchasing your Christmas 2016 gifts throughout the year when on sale, rather than just shopping near the end of the year?
  4. Grocery budget – When you are budgeting, be realistic.  Even if you are not hosting Christmas dinner in 2016, everyone loves your special Christmas baking and cooking.  You will want to make those special dishes to take to family and friends.  Make sure your grocery budget for December 2016 reflects the increased food costs for that month when you are starting to save now.

If you follow these 4 simple tips, you will find that your Christmas debt for 2016 will be zero and you will not need credit card debt help due to Christmas 2016.  The realistic budget will also help you pay down your credit card debt from 2015 holiday time, as well as help you spend within your means throughout the whole year.

If you’re trapped in a high interest credit card debt cycle, I could tell you that you need to credit card debt help, but how would you do it? You need a professional trustee to help you manage debt before it reaches a critical stage where bankruptcy is your only option. We have been able to help many individuals carry out a successful credit card debt settlement program.  Successful completion of such a program, will free you from the burden of your financial challenges to go on to live a productive, stress-free, financially sound life.

Contact the Ira Smith Team today. Before considering declaring bankruptcy, there are other bankruptcy alternatives which include credit counselling, debt consolidation and consumer proposals. We can help and Starting Over, Starting Now you can be restored to financial health.

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WANT TO STEP UP YOUR NEW YEAR’S CREDIT CARD DEBT SETTLEMENT? YOU NEED TO READ THIS FIRST

credit card debt settlement, credit card, credit cards, living paycheque to paycheque, budget, low Canadian dollar, bankrupt, declaring bankruptcy, bankruptcy alternatives, credit counselling, debt consolidation, consumer proposalsIs credit card debt settlement relief now one of your New Year’s resolutions?

You had a great time over the holidays and everyone loved their gifts. You even bought a few goodies for yourself. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a little self-indulgence, is there? How did you feel when you opened your credit card statement? How long did it take you to start breathing again? Now, can you pay your credit card bills, or are you in need of a credit card debt settlement program?

Budgeting will also be part of a credit card debt settlement

If you’re like most Canadians, you’re already dealing with an enormous debt load and you don’t have anything put aside for a rainy day. You may already be living paycheque to paycheque. The Canadian dollar is very low which means that your grocery bills are higher. And there will be other items affected by the low dollar as well. If you’ve planned a vacation outside of Canada, I hope you’ve budgeted for the low dollar. In fact, are you budgeting at all? As we’ve stressed:

A Balanced Budget is to Financial Health What a Balanced Diet is to Physical Health – Part 1

A Balanced Budget is to Financial Health What a Balanced Diet is to Physical Health – Part 2

It seemed like a good idea to use the credit cards, but now I need credit card debt settlement

Using credit cards may seem like a good idea because they’re convenient and you probably get some type of reward for using them. However, if you’re not paying your bill in full each month, the high interest rates could be your financial undoing. It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of high interest debt and then taking out more high interest debt to pay off the high interest debt.  Alternatively, you could face up to the fact that you will never be able to pay off your credit cards, and rather than taking on more debt you will be unable to repay, consider a credit card debt settlement program.

So how can I obtain credit card debt settlement – NOW!

If you’re trapped in a high interest debt cycle, I could tell you that you need to pay off high interest debt, but how would you do it? You need a professional trustee to help you manage debt before it reaches a critical stage where bankruptcy is your only option. We have been able to help many individuals carry out a successful credit card debt settlement program.  Successful completion of such a program, will free you from the burden of your financial challenges to go on to live a productive, stress-free, financially sound life.

Contact the Ira Smith Team today. Before considering declaring bankruptcy, there are other bankruptcy alternatives which include credit counselling, debt consolidation and consumer proposals. We can help and Starting Over, Starting Now you can be restored to financial health.

Gambling and Consumer Proposals Ontario: Our List of 6 Differences Between the Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy

Gambling and Consumer Proposals Ontario are treated very differently than in a Bankruptcy in Ontario.  One of the most common questions that individuals in difficult financial situations ask is: what’s the difference between a consumer proposal and bankruptcy?

Personal bankruptcies and consumer proposals are two of the most common solutions available for personal financial issues. While both are designed to help individuals resolve debt issues and provide users with necessary protection from creditors, learning what’s the difference between a consumer proposal and bankruptcy can help individuals make more informed decisions in the future.

  1. Gambling and Consumer Proposals Ontario:  Consumer Proposal debt limitation

With a consumer proposal, it is only possible for you to claim it if your total debt does not exceed $250,000, excluding the debt owing on the mortgage(s) on your home.  Additionally, you must be able to repay a portion of those debts in order to apply.

  1. Creditor acceptance

However, your creditors must accept your proposal, as you do not automatically earn it upon signing up for the option. With a bankruptcy, on the other hand, any person who owes their creditors more than $1,000 in debt is eligible to file without the need for creditor approval.

The ideal candidates for this situation are those who need some type of immediate financial relief and whose income and budget do not allow them to pay off the reduced amount agreed to in a consumer proposal, on a monthly basis, up to a maximum of 60 months.

  1. Fixed consumer proposal monthly payment vs. potential variable surplus income bankruptcy payment

In order to resolve the financial issues, you and your creditors need to agree to a proposed amount with a consumer proposal, hence the name of the program. This is a monthly amount that you need to pay consistently, but it stays the same for as long as the proposal is in effect. With a bankruptcy, however, monthly payments may vary based on the amount of money that you make. The more that you regularly earn, the more you need to pay per month.

  1. Gambling and Consumer Proposals Ontario:  Surrendering of your assets in a bankruptcy

In regards to assets, with a consumer proposal, you do not need to surrender anything that you do not want to liquidate for your personal monthly payments. With a bankruptcy, on the other hand, with only certain minor exceptions, you will have to surrender your assets to your licensed insolvency trustee in order for them to be sold by the trustee to go towards paying a dividend to your unsecured creditors, such as credit card debts.

  1. Gambling and Consumer Proposals Ontario:  Credit rating

With a consumer proposal, your credit rating will receive an R7, which indicates that you have undergone such an agreement and it will remain for up to 3 years after paying off your loans. With a bankruptcy, you earn an R9 rating, which is the worst that you can have, and it can stay visible on your report for a period of between 7 and 14 years, depending on the situation and what payments you need to make.

  1. Gambling and Consumer Proposals Ontario

The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, are very concerned regarding debts that have arisen as a result of addiction be it gambling, alcoholism or drugs.  In a bankruptcy, the Licensed Insolvency Trustee is required to ask questions to determine if any debts have arisen as a result of addiction, and if so, to disclose it.

Once so determined, in a bankruptcy, the licensed insolvency trustee must oppose the bankrupt’s discharge.  In order to hope to obtain an absolute discharge from the Court, the bankrupt will have to go into a rehabilitation program and prove to the licensed insolvency trustee and the Court that they have completed a recognized program, continue to seek help for their addiction and that they are not spending money any longer on such addiction.

While these are all good things for the total rehabilitation of the individual, it differs from the treatment under a consumer proposal.  While the licensed insolvency trustee will still want to ensure that the individual is seeking help for their addiction, as long as the consumer proposal payments are maintained and the consumer proposal is ultimately successfully completed, there will never be a bankruptcy and therefore the onerous issues regarding discharge are avoided.  The treatment of gambling and consumer proposals Ontario as compared to a bankruptcy is huge for the individual.

Are you suffering from too much debt?

 If you are an individual or company who needs to free themselves from the stress and strain of too much debt, and especially if you have been told your situation is hopeless because of an addiction, Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. can prepare and implement the plan made just for you, to free you from the burden of your financial challenges to go on to live a productive, stress-free, financially sound life.

If you’re experiencing serious debt issues for any reason, contact a professional trustee for a free, no obligation consultation. The Ira Smith Team does not try to write new insolvency law or tax law.  Rather, we will evaluate your situation within the existing statutes, and help you to arrive at the best possible solution for your problems, whether that solution is a bankruptcy alternative like credit counsellingdebt consolidation or a consumer proposal or bankruptcyStarting Over, Starting Now  you can be debt free with the help of a professional, licensed insolvency trusteeContact us today.

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CONSUMER CREDIT PROPOSAL: HOW OUR CASHLESS SOCIETY CAN LEAVE YOU PENNILESS

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The good news is that Canadian consumers have more credit, debit and app options than ever before. The bad news is that going cashless makes it easier to overspend and as a result, before you know it, you could be in serious financial trouble.

A recent online survey by processing payments firm Moneris found that:

  • 77% of respondents preferred to pay for purchases by debit or credit card
  • 65% said they rarely buy anything with cash
  • There is a 162% increase in tap transactions for the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014

Easy credit may drive you to a consumer credit proposal

The reality is that we really don’t need to carry cash anymore. Almost everything can be transacted by credit or an app tied into your credit card now. It does seem like we’re moving towards the end of cash; not today, but eventually. Mobile apps like Apple Pay are the future.  PayPal, allowing you to charge purchases to your credit card has been available for years.

The problem with all of these modes of payment is that the control of paying with cash is gone. In days gone by the amount of cash on hand dictated how much you could spend. Sure, some stores offered layaway plans but by and large if you had no cash, you couldn’t make a purchase. Even with the lay-away plans, until you paid for the item in full, you didn’t get to bring it home.

According to Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, “Without the physical attribute of taking cash out of your wallet and paying for something, we’re missing one of the senses that allow us that brake on some of the decisions that we make. This disconnect is a concern because with the average Canadian over $20,000 in debt on the unsecured side, it’s a challenge. So we’re already having trouble paying what we owe. Do we really need to make it easier to part with our money?”

Take action now with a consumer credit proposal

If you’re having serious financial problems due to cashless spending, or for any other reason, the Ira Smith Team is here to help. With just one phone call you can be well on your way to living a debt free life Starting Over, Starting Now. Contact us today.

CONSUMER PROPOSAL PROCESS FOR LOTTERY WINNERS? BUT WHY?

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Here’s a headline I’m sure you all remember – Three winners of the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot. Here’s a headline you may have missed – The odds are that the US$1.5 billion Powerball winner will end up bankrupt (and if a Canadian, possibly a consumer proposal process). Continue reading

BANKRUPTCY ALTERNATIVE: THE CLINTON PORTIS LIST FOR TURNING $40 MILLION INTO A BANKRUPTCY

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Picture courtesy of clintonportis26.com

Continue reading

HOW BINGE BORROWING RAISES CANADA’S HOUSEHOLD DEBT BURDEN

orrowing binges, household debt, binge borrowing, household debt burden, debt, disposable income, consumer debt, credit-market debt, consumer credit, mortgage debt, personal lines of credit, car loans, Canada's household debt burden, household debt burden, Canadian household debt , ira smith trusteeBinge borrowing raises Canada’s household debt burden

We worry about binge eating and binge drinking, but it appears that we are not paying enough attention to Canada’s latest problem – binge borrowing. Incredibly low interest rates and sky high house prices have contributed to this trend. The Bank of Canada, the federal government and many economists have long been concerned that consumers who have been binge borrowing are now exposed to risk in the event of an economic shock or significant downturn.

Just when we thought Canada’s household debt burden couldn’t go higher!

Just when we thought that Canada’s household debt burden was at its peak, in the third quarter of 2015 Canada’s household debt burden hit another record high. This means that Canadian’s debts grew faster than their incomes. According to Statistics Canada:
• The ratio of household credit-market debt to disposable income rose to 163.7% in the three months ended September 30, up from 162.7% in the second quarter (this means the average household had nearly $1.64 in debt for every dollar of disposable income)
• This was the highest ever reading in this key ratio for gauging consumer debt loads
Debt rose 1.4% in the quarter, while disposable income increased by 0.8%
• Total credit-market debt reached $1.89-trillion in the third quarter, also a record
• Mortgage debt was $1.23-trillion
• Consumer credit – credit cards, car loans, personal lines of credit and other personal loans – totalled $572-billion

What will your debt do in 2016?

Unfortunately Canadians ended 2015 with more debt than they started off with and this is a trend that expected to continue into 2016. Are you ready to stop binge borrowing and get control of your finances before you are facing a financial crisis? Professional help is just a phone call away. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. As a firm of professional trustees we’re experts on dealing with debt. Our approach for every file is to create an outcome where Starting Over, Starting Now becomes a reality, beginning the moment you walk in the door. Call us today and take the first step towards living a debt free life.

 

#VIDEO: DOES SURPLUS INCOME IN BANKRUPTCY SOMETIMES MAKE YOU FEEL STUPID?#

If you don’t know what surplus income in bankruptcy is don’t feel that you aren’t as smart as the next person because most people don’t know what it means or how it is even possible.  We hope this short video will explain things easily for you.

We have previously written about surplus income in bankruptcy in our blogs:

 On the list of items that generally seems to be difficult for many individuals to understand is how there can be surplus income in bankruptcy. The reason for the confusion is because it has nothing to do with the normal useage of the word “surplus”, being “more than what is needed or used; excess”.

What is surplus income in bankruptcy?

Within a individual bankruptcy context it is a measure of what a bankrupt has to pay to the Trustee month-to-month. It is one of the aims of the Canadian bankruptcy system to balance the discharge of one’s personal debt with the expectation of the creditors that they should be paid.

To allow Canadians to keep a basic standard of living during the personal bankruptcy procedure, the government features collection thresholds on income (after income tax as well as certain deductions) meant to enable the bankrupt to keep a basic standard of living while contributing an amount to the Trustee for the benefit of his or her creditors.

Exactly how is the surplus income in bankruptcy payment determined?

The surplus income payment is determined according to a prescribed surplus income calculation mandated by the federal government, without any distinction for the area somebody lives in. To learn exactly what your surplus income in bankruptcy obligation would be, if any, you need to speak to a Trustee. 

Surplus income in bankruptcy thresholds are structured based on national “poverty line” stats and the thresholds are set regardless of what part of the country or city that you live in. Surplus income in bankruptcy has nothing to do with what you have left over in funds every month. It is a federal solution which takes your monthly after-tax wages or salary, allows for a specific number of non-discretionary expenses, and takes into account your family size. Your Trustee then inputs this information into the government mandated formula, to calculate your surplus income in bankruptcy obligation. 

If you have too much debt, contact us

 If you are an individual or company who needs to free themselves from the stress and strain of too much debt, and especially if you have been told your situation is hopeless, Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. can prepare and implement the plan made just for you, to free you from the burden of your financial challenges to go on to live a productive, stress-free, financially sound life.

If you’re experiencing serious debt issues with the CRA, or for any reason, contact a professional trustee for a free, no obligation consultation. The Ira Smith Team does not try to write new insolvency law or tax law.  Rather, we will evaluate your situation within the existing statutes, and help you to arrive at the best possible solution for your problems, whether that solution is a bankruptcy alternative like credit counselling, debt consolidation or a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. Starting Over, Starting Now  you can be debt free with the help of a professional, licensed trustee in bankruptcy. Contact us today.

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CORPORATE BANKRUPTCY SERVICES: WHO WILL GET ON THE 2016 LIST?

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Canada and Canadians are facing serious economic challenges, and certain industries have been much harder hit than others. Oil and gas, automotive and construction have taken the biggest hit and there are no clear signs of recovery any time soon. They may very well require corporate bankruptcy services (sometimes misspelled corporate bancruptcy services) in 2016. And, according to Statistics Canada, accommodation and food services, transportation and warehousing, and information and cultural industries experienced the biggest increase in insolvencies.

Our list of the top candidates for corporate bankruptcy services in 2016

  • The oil and gas industry: According to Bloomberg business, the oil price crash is taking a heavy toll on Canada and the worst is yet to come. As a result, Calgary is taking the brunt of it with crime on the rise, house prices falling rapidly and food banks being overwhelmed. “We all know someone who has lost a job,” Naheed Nenshi, the city’s mayor, said in a speech this month, lamenting the “funeral”-like atmosphere in the business community. The bloodletting isn’t over yet. Already 40,000 oil and natural gas positions have been lost in the last 18 months and many more job cuts are predicted in 2016.
  • The automotive industry: The auto industry is on very shaky ground. Mexico and Tennessee have replaced Michigan and Ontario as the North American auto industry’s manufacturing hubs. Canada’s auto trade has gone from a surplus of $15-billion in 1999 to a deficit of $18-billion in 2013; half of which came from trade with Mexico. Production commitments made by General Motors Co. (GM), including those made within the corporate bankruptcy services that created “Old GM” and “New GM”, and Chrysler Group LLC as part of their $13.7-billion bailouts, are set to expire at the end of 2016, leaving them free to close plants and lay off workers if they see fit. According to Charlotte Yates, dean of social sciences at McMaster University and head of the new Canadian Automotive Policy Partnership, if Canada is determined to keep trying to compete in today’s globalized auto industry, it can’t do it without subsidies.
  • The construction industry: The construction industry is a corporate bankruptcy services leader. Industry Canada’s July bankruptcy statistics have ranked the construction industry as one of the leaders in bankruptcies and experts attributed the statistics to a risky business with poor management and cash-flow monitoring.

Canadians and their debt

Canadian consumers are the most indebted in the world according to Tom Bradley of Steadyhand funds, “Lines of credit, home-equity loans, car leases, credit cards, high-ratio mortgages—they’re well-versed in them all. The level of consumer debt will make it difficult to attain the growth and employment levels of previous cycles; past purchases were borrowed from the future. Extensive use of leverage will also make Canadian families and the overall economy vulnerable in the next economic slowdown”.

If you’re like many Canadians and Canadian corporations experiencing serious financial problems, now is the time to deal with them. The Ira Smith Team will tackle your financial issues head on and with immediate action and a solid plan you can be on your way to a debt free life Starting Over, Starting Now. Contact us today.

 

#VIDEO: DREAM CRUSHING AVERAGE STUDENT LOAN DEBT: REASONS WHY WE PITY YOU#

The rise of average student loan debt

Post-secondary education is effectively a requirement for today’s labour market.  According to the Canadian Federation of Students in its paper titled:  “The Impact of Student Debt”, unfortunately, whereas the demand for education has inflated, public funding did not keep up. Public funding shortfalls have resulted in the increased cost of post-secondary education being borne by individual students.

The growth in average tuition fees

From 1990 to 2014, the national average tuition fees have seen an inflation adjusted increase of over one hundred and fifty per cent (150%). In Ontario, tuition fees have grown over one hundred and eighty percent (180%). For most students—often having spent very little time active within the workforce, other than for part-time work—funding their education has become more and more troublesome.

Students now taking on higher levels of average student loan debt

Many students are now taking on increased levels of debt for their education. Students requiring a Canada Student Loan currently graduate with an average student loan debt of over $28,000. Keep in mind that this is an average, with the costs of graduate education resulting in much higher debt levels.  Relying on debt to finance education suggests that the full impact of high tuition fees is delayed till after graduation—when interest begins to be charged.

Societal issues caused by rising average student loan debt statistics

This impact is currently exacerbated by the effects of the most recent recession and therefore the rising trend of precarious, and even unpaid, employment. The broader effects of high levels of student debt on both the individual and therefore the general economy are now resulting in various issues:

  • Young Canadians (15-24) accounted for over half of job losses over the last 5 years;
  • Un- and under-employment can cost the Canadian economy over $22 billion by 2031;
  • In 2014, youth un- and under-employment was twenty seven per cent (27%);
  • Thirty per cent (30%) of medical students expect to graduate with over $100,000 in student debt;
  • Under-employment and work outside one’s field of study results in talent degradation, falling behind in expertise, and lost networking opportunities;
  • Canada has seen a fifteen per cent (15%) growth in Canadians under the age of 30 who still live in their parent’s home since 1981;
  • Those with student debt have a fewer assets, savings or investments compared to debt-free peers.

Average student loan debt causes affect the Canadian economy

Starting out with huge debt and facing a weak labour market, graduates are troubled to fully participate within the Canadian economy.  Student debt impacts career selections, even among professional school graduates in medicine and law. Unpaid internships are estimated to be in the range of 300,000 graduates working with no pay.

Do you have too much debt? Then contact us now

If you are an individual or company who needs to free themselves from the stress and strain of too much debt, and especially if you have been told your situation is hopeless, Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. can prepare and implement the plan made just for you, to free you from the burden of your financial challenges to go on to live a productive, stress-free, financially sound life.

Student loan debt has its own set of unique rules and complexities within the Canadian insolvency scheme.  If you’re experiencing serious debt issues, contact a professional trustee for a free, no obligation consultation. The Ira Smith Team does not try to write new insolvency law or tax law.  Rather, we will evaluate your situation within the existing statutes, and help you to arrive at the best possible solution for your problems, whether that solution is a bankruptcy alternative like credit counsellingdebt consolidation or a consumer proposal or bankruptcyStarting Over, Starting Now  you can be debt free with the help of a professional, licensed trustee in bankruptcyContact us today.

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