Equifax Data Breach: Introduction

You may have listened to the news about the Equifax data breach.

Equifax originally said that it impacted only a limited number of Canadians. They have now amended that report to say that 100,000 Canadians are affected. If your details were endangered, Equifax intends to get to you straight away with support as quickly as they have determined that.

In comparison, the Equifax data breach may have affected more than 143 million Americans!

Equifax data breach:  Exactly what took place?

According to Equifax, the violation lasted from mid-May through July 2017. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses and, in some instances, vehicle driver’s permit numbers. They also swiped charge card numbers as well as disagreement files with individual identifying information. And they also obtained details of people in the UK and Canada too.

Equifax, being one of the two Canadian credit bureaus, was the subject of a data breach by hackers. This violation has affected lots of Americans, but for now Equifax believes the Equifax data breach has affected just a restricted number of Canadians.  Equifax reminds everyone that the hacked US website is for US social security numbers, and does not work for Canadian consumers.

Equifax data breach:  What information was taken?

In Canada, the hackers may have gotten sensitive details, such as names, addresses, and Social Insurance Numbers. Equifax believes that only a limited number of Canadians could have been impacted.  They are working to figuring out the exact information.  Equifax will update this information as they learn more.

Equifax data breach:  Litigation and investigations begin

Considering that it is one of the largest hacks of the year, the compromised business is now dealing with loads of lawsuits. At least one legal action claims, among other things, that Equifax pumped up financial results to bring up the share price, prior to the hack being revealed. No allegations have yet been proven in Court.

After Equifax announced the Equifax data breach violation about $3 billion was cleaned away from the business’s market cap as its shares dropped by 17% immediately following the disclosure. Lawmakers are concerned that people’s delicate information was not correctly safeguarded.  Investigations are ongoing.

Equifax data breach:  Exactly how will this impact me?

The thing is that people who never bought any Equifax services will be negatively affected by the hack. If your details were jeopardized, it may put you at the threat of identity theft. Identification theft is when a person steals your personal information to open new accounts or dedicate activity utilizing your name. We urge you to check your credit score and stay alert in checking your credit card and any other financial account statements.

Equifax data breach:  Have my details been endangered?

If you’ve ever before made an application for credit, as an example by requesting a charge card or a cellular phone service, Equifax has gathered your details.  Equifax will only contact you if they have identified that your information has been breached.  That is why we strongly recommend that you must carefully check all account statements you receive to make sure that:  1.  You recognize the account as being yours; and 2.  You do not see any suspicious activity in your accounts.

Equifax is the largest credit report bureau in Canada and is extensively made use by lenders, including banks, to prove creditworthiness. Equifax accumulates information from your bank as well as other sources to find your credit history, which is then given to lending institutions.

This case is a tip of the importance of data protection, which is something you must take very seriously. That is why IT people always recommend that you use bank-level encryption to safeguard your data.  The Equifax data breach proves them right.

Canada’s privacy commissioner is interested in the Canadian data breach.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has received complaints and calls of concern about this data breach.  The privacy commissioner is now considering the matter.

Equifax data breach:  Your next steps

  1. Check your credit rating

It’s important you watch your credit report as well as your various financial accounts.  That way you will be aware of any kind of adjustments or suspicious activity.

You can do what is called a “soft” credit check on yourself at no cost using one of two Canadian services.  We explain it all in our blogs:

  1. Screen your credit card accounts as well as bank accounts

Your charge card and bank accounts are additionally important to watch. Keep an eye out for any transactions you did not make or approve as well as report any problems to your bank or credit card company right away.

  1. Record any theft or crime

If you find a suspicious activity that could involve a theft of either your identity or assets, or other criminal offense, report the event to your regional police. You could also report the rip-off or fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Inform your financial institution as well as bank card firms.  As well shut any accounts and cards that could have been hacked instantly.

To find out more, please call Equifax at 1-866-828-5961 or visit their website here.

Equifax data breach:  Are you struggling with too much debt?

If you’re struggling with too much debt, give the Ira Smith Team a call. We can help with budgeting and credit counseling so that you can get back on track Starting Over, Starting Now.

Equifax, data breach



too much personal debt

Too much personal debt:  Introduction

The reality is that we live in a credit-based society. As a result almost everyone lives with debt and we don’t give it a second thought. After all, who do you know that pays for a house or a car in cash? And who doesn’t use credit cards? Having debt isn’t necessarily a problem; taking on more debt than you can repay is the problem. So how do you know that you’ve taken on too much personal debt?

Too much personal debt:  What’s too much debt?

Traditional lenders (financial institutions) will typically grant you a loan based on two main criteria (there are other factors involved).

  1. Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR): Add up all of your monthly debt payments – mortgage/rent, car payment/lease, utilities, credit cards, lines of credit, etc. If these monthly payments add up to more than 40% of your income before taxes, it’s not very likely that a traditional lender will grant you a loan.
  1. Gross Debt Servicing Ratio (GDSR): GDSR is your mortgage payment plus heating and taxes and it should not exceed 32% of your income before taxes. If your GDSR exceeds 32% of your income, it’s not very likely that a traditional lender will grant you a loan.

If you don’t qualify for a loan from a financial institution, you know you’ve taken on way too much debt.

Too much personal debt:  Way too much debt

Although subprime lenders will lend money to people who don’t qualify for loans from financial institutions, their interest rates are exorbitant. Borrowing from these companies can put you into worse debt than you’re already in, so run for your life.

Other signs that you’ve taken on too much personal debt are much more obvious. Are you having trouble making your monthly payments? Are you getting calls from collection agencies? Are you living from paycheque to paycheque?

Too much personal debt:  When you have too much debt

If you’ve taken on too much personal debt, get help now. Call Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. today. With immediate action and the right financial plan we can help you get back on track to debt free living Starting Over, Starting Now.

too much personal debt


Bankruptcy discharge:  Introduction

A bankruptcy discharge is when the bankrupt is released under Canadian bankruptcy law from his or her debts as part of the bankruptcy process. Some people think that it is the filing for bankruptcy that releases the bankrupt from liability. This is not the case.  It is the discharge process that “discharges” the bankrupt’s debts.

We explain in this vlog the procedure when a bankrupt’s outright discharge is opposed.  We discuss the top 8 things that the Bankruptcy Court will consider in determining just what outcome the bankrupt could expect.

Bankruptcy discharge:  The primary benefit of the bankruptcy process for the insolvent person

The bankruptcy discharge is among the primary benefits of relief under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada) (BIA). The discharge is vital to the bankruptcy process. Debtors, after bankruptcy, can wipe the slate clean and start over, is a central principle under the BIA statute.

Bankruptcy discharge:  Not all debts may be released

A bankruptcy discharge offers the discharge of many unsecured financial debts. Financial debts, which will not be discharged include:

  • support payments to a previous spouse or to children;
  • fines or financial charges imposed by the Court;
  • debts emerging from fraudulent behaviour;
  • student loans if fewer than seven years have passed considering that the bankrupt quit being a full or part-time student.

Bankruptcy discharge application:  It can be opposed

An insolvent’s bankruptcy discharge application may be opposed by one or more unsecured creditors or the Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT).  This happens if the insolvent has not met all of his/her responsibilities under the BIA.  It can also happen if the bankrupt has actually committed a bankruptcy offense. Those are acts listed in section 173 (1) of the BIA. The Court will after that evaluate the opposition as well as give its decision.

Bankruptcy discharge:  There are four types of discharges possible

There are 4 types of discharges:

  1. Absolute discharge— The bankrupt is launched from the legal obligation to pay off financial obligations that existed on the day of bankruptcy, except for certain types of debt identified above.
  1. Conditional discharge— The bankrupt must fulfill certain conditions to get an outright discharge. Once all conditions have been fulfilled, an absolute discharge will certainly be granted.
  1. Suspended discharge— An absolute discharge that will be granted at later on a specific date determined by the Court.
  1. Refused discharge— The Court has the right to decline a discharge.

Bankruptcy discharge:  The opposition process

When a debtor’s bankruptcy discharge application is opposed by either an unsecured creditor or the LIT, the Trustee needs to secure a Court day.  This will be for a Court hearing on the insolvent’s application for discharge. The LIT must then tell all creditors who have filed a proof of claim of the opposition.  Details are also provided about the date, time as well as place of the Court hearing. The Trustee needs to also file a report with the Court on the conduct of the bankrupt both prior to as well as after applying for bankruptcy.  The report will as well give a summary of the financial results of the bankruptcy administration. If a creditor has opposed the bankrupt’s discharge, then that creditor likewise needed to send a notice of opposition.

Bankruptcy discharge:  Does the bankrupt need a lawyer on an opposed discharge?

When going to Court for his/her discharge application hearing, a bankrupt would be well advised to come with a skilled bankruptcy lawyer to represent his or her interests. Sometimes the discharge hearing is less formal than various other types of Court hearings.  However, the Court follows all the proper regulations of civil procedure. It is sometimes tough for nonprofessionals to put their best foot forward without an attorney’s aid.

There have been many Court cases on applications for discharge. A Court decision released recently from the Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan supplies an exceptional walk-through of the points the Court will take into consideration. For those interested, the reference is Hertz Bankruptcy (Re), 2017 SKQB 224 (CanLII).

Bankruptcy discharge:  The top 8 things the Bankruptcy Court will consider

The concerns the Court thought about, in determining what type of bankruptcy discharge certificate to issue, which is the same in all bankruptcy discharge hearings, were:

  1. Do the conditions of the bankruptcy sustain an order discharging the Bankrupt’s unsafe responsibilities?
  2. The Court’s problem is to make sure that within a choice the policy purposes of the BIA are fulfilled. The bankruptcy, including the insolvent’s discharge, should act as a deterrence for the person not to duplicate the very same behaviour.
  3. If the circumstances of the bankruptcy support an order discharging the bankrupt, what terms of discharge are proper under the distinct circumstances of the bankruptcy?
  4. What were the conditions of the insolvent when the debts were sustained?
  5. What efforts did the insolvent make to pay the creditors?
  • Did the bankrupt pay in respect of certain other debts but not all of them and particularly not the debt of the opposing creditor?
  • Exactly what are the insolvent’s monetary opportunities for the future?
  • Is there any other conduct or reality that need to be factored into with the regards to discharge?

The Court will take lots of variables into account. The conduct, previous income, education and age of the bankrupt are all important factors. The Court will certainly likewise trust the Trustee’s report to Court on the bankrupt’s application for discharge. The Trustee’s report assists in determining facts about the conduct of the insolvent and his or her future prospects.

bankruptcy discharge hearing, bankruptcy discharge application, bankruptcy discharge certificate

Bankruptcy discharge:  Is the bankrupt young or old?

Prevention is always a consideration. It is however very important to remember that Courts tend to be extra conventional when dealing with older bankrupts. A more youthful bankrupt with years of income making opportunities could be needed to make an extra significant repayment.  Less respect is given to instant ability to pay. An older bankrupt with some surplus income but fewer working years, might be needed to pay less.

Bankruptcy discharge:  Do you have too much debt and want to avoid bankruptcy?

Do you have excessive debt and have no idea how to deal with it? Act before you find yourself in the throes of an emergency financial situation. Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. has assisted many Canadian businesses and people throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) dealing with debts that need a plan for Starting Over, Starting Now. Don’t postpone. Give us a call today. Financial problems can be solved while avoiding bankruptcy with timely activity as well as our excellent strategy tailored just for you.


debt elimination

Debt elimination:  Introduction

What’s more important – saving or reducing debt? Should I focus on debt elimination or invest excess funds?  Should I invest or reduce debt.

These are age-old questions that I’m frequently asked and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Let’s get back to basics and figure out what your income and expenses are before I can answer whether it’s better for you to save or reduce debt.  

Debt elimination:  Create a budget

Everyone should have one. The reality is that many people spend what they earn but don’t really know what they’re spending their money on.  A budget will find how you’re currently allocating your money – which may be very different from how you should be allocating it.

  • Detail your income
  • Itemize your fixed expenses which are the same each month – housing, insurance, payments on loans, etc.
  • List your variable expenses which are flexible and will vary from month to month – groceries, gas for the car, cell phone, etc.
  • Identify your optional expenses which are non-necessities – meals out, clothing, vacations, etc.

The good news is that to ask “Should I invest or reduce debt”, that means your budget should confirm that you have an excess of income over expenses each month.  It also means that you can see that monthly cash excess in your bank account.

Debt elimination:  Determine what type of debt you’re dealing with

The reality is that not all debt is created equal. Credit card debt could be costing you 20% interest or more per annum. And, if you have any payday loans, the interest rate could be over 500% (no, this isn’t a typo). High interest debt costs a fortune; pay it off as quickly as possible.

Debt elimination:  Create an emergency fund

I always recommend that you have an emergency fund of three to six months worth of living expenses. Job loss or an unexpected expense can put you in a financial danger zone if you’re not prepared.

Debt elimination:  Where can you find the money to pay off high interest debt and create an emergency fund?

Go back to your budget and have a good hard look. How many of your optional expenses can you cut or cut back on? E.g. Forgo the vacation for now, don’t buy those really cute shoes, etc.

How much of your variable expenses can be reduced? E.g. Shop at a discount supermarket and price match/use coupons, comparison shop for better cell phone plans, drive less/take public transit more, etc.

You’d be amazed how much money you’ll be able to save and put toward paying off high interest debt and creating an emergency fund.

Debt elimination:  Should I invest or reduce debt?

The answer to the question about what’s more important – saving or reducing debt, lies in your budget. If you have high interest debt, pay it off first. If you don’t have high interest debt then you can work on both reducing debt and saving and investing at the same time.

Debt elimination:  Are you struggling with debt elimination?

If you’re struggling with too much debt, give the Ira Smith Team a call. We can help with budgeting and credit counseling so that you can get back on track Starting Over, Starting Now.

debt elimination


I need financial help right now:  Introduction

Nobody expects for their home to be destroyed or to receive a serious disease medical diagnosis. When emergencies like these do occur, the unexpected expenses lead to economic tension. You’re forced to see the bills consume up any financial savings you might have had.  You will no doubt be saying “I need financial help right now”.

The good news is, there are resources for people as well as families who need emergency economic aid. For people and households that typically aren’t qualified for aid from the government or nonprofits, perhaps crowdfunding can help you secure the reserve you need.

I need financial help right now:  Most Canadians can’t save

No person likes to think they will need emergency financial support. The Canadian Payroll Association’s NPW 2016 Employee Research Survey Results discovered that of those surveyed:

“I need financial help right now” is not a pleasant place to find yourself in.  If you aren’t saving for an emergency, you could rapidly become mired in debt.

You cannot expect when something might take place. Having monetary support throughout an emergency could bring peace of mind. Try to keep at the very least 6 months of living expenses or revenue in your emergency fund.

I need financial help right now:  What to do if you find yourself in an emergency

Begin your savings program by conserving tiny bits from your spending every day.

I want to give some ideas on the best ways to handle an economic emergency:

  1. Don’t panic

If you begin stressing, you might begin to make even worse monetary decisions. Think logically about what you need to do and your following steps. If you’re still not sure what to do discover somebody that understands just how to deal with such emergencies.  Tell them “I need financial help right now” so they understand how severe your emergency is.  Find that special someone you can trust and tell them everything.

  1. Know your Priorities

See to it to prioritize your expenses. Only spend on the necessities of life, like food, living accommodations and basic clothing. I suggest that you produce a budget overview to help you plan your spending. Surviving a financial emergency can be made harder if you do not prioritize your costs.

  1. Begin to Spend Less

With an excellent budget plan, you’ll realize what you need and do not need in your life. Say goodbye to spa days and say goodbye to dining in restaurants with pals. Reducing things that look like tiny expenditures really have a big influence later down the line.

Do not throw away cash on things you really do not need.  If you know your priorities and can properly budget, “I need financial help right now” may just turn into “It will be tough but I can survive this emergency because I have savings”.

  1. Request for Help!

It’s fine to ask when you need it, especially in a scenario where you cannot face your costs alone. Perhaps family or close friends could also be able to help you fund raise to get out of your debt problems.

You may have a great relationship with your banker.  Explain to him or her your situation and perhaps your bank can help you.  Before you say to your banker “I need financial help right now”, make sure you have prepared your budget.  Your banker will want to understand how the bank is going to get repaid.

One thing you must not ever do.  Do not borrow from a payday loan company or through a debt consultant.  The interest rate and fees are so high, you will never be able to repay it in full.

i need financial help right now

I need financial help right now:  Entitlement programs

Emergency help programs are hard to qualify for and often take months to supply repayment.  They rarely can help you when you say to them “I need financial help right now”.  However, I do want to give you a list of some emergency programs that are available from the government.

There are various assistance programs offered by the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario providing financial help for families in need.  Some resources to get access to are:

I need financial help right now:  Nonprofits offering emergency financial help

There are many charities and not for profit organizations in the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario.  Each one focuses on a different need or group of people.  You should not overlook the role a charity or not for profit organization can play to help you through a financial emergency.  Again, they can’t solve all of your problems all at once when you tell them “I need financial help right now”.  But they are there to serve needy people and families facing a financial emergency.

I need financial help right now:  What happens if you aren’t eligible for assistance programs?

Government assistance and nonprofit programs often have a lengthy application procedure and certain eligibility criteria. As well, it can take months to get support. Which makes it difficult to get economic aid immediately. Many times they cannot act fast enough when you tell them “I need financial help right now”.

There is one more source that could aid you receive emergency funds quick.

I need financial help right now:  Crowdfunding may work for your needs

In times of economic stress crowdfunding has shown in some cases to be a powerful tool that assists people get the help they need. Many got help through a crowdfunding plea of “I need financial help right now”.  You cannot plan for when you’ll be confronted with an emergency, or just how expensive it will be to recover from it. But you could use crowdfunding to discover support from people who sympathize with exactly what you are going through.

Take the time to acquaint on your own with the various crowdfunding platforms.

I need financial help right now:  What to do if you have too much debt

We hear many times “I need financial help right now” or “I need financial help immediately”.  If that emergency arises and you have not planned for it and saved, your options are very limited.

Act before you find yourself in the throes of an emergency and financial crisis. Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. has helped many Canadian companies and people throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) dealing with economic crisis that need a plan for Starting Over, Starting Now. Don’t delay. Give us a call today. Financial troubles can be solved with prompt activity and the ideal plan tailored just for you.

i need financial help right now



Back to school marketing:  Introduction

Back to school marketing knows that the older your child gets, the more you’ll be investing in education.  This is not simply tuition.

Back to school marketing:  Recent US and Canadian studies

Throughout the US and Canada, children, moms and dads are paying countless dollars on computer systems, school supplies, and clothes. Consulting company Deloitte claims back to school marketing results in back to school shopping statistics show that in the United States, preschool through university, will certainly set consumers back some $73 billion, with university being a lot of that. They state that the numbers are $27 billion for elementary and high school and $46 billion for university.  You can see what is at stake for retailers.  That is why they spend so much money on back to school marketing promotions.

University students as well as their family members will spend about $648 per student.  The highest expenditures are not for tuition or room and board.  An ordinary household will invest $1,347 on back-to-college expenditures. This is about the same from last year.  Back to school advertising campaigns and back to school marketing have been ongoing for almost the last 7 weeks.  Therefore, it isn’t hard to believe that the back to school shopping season begins as early as the end of July.

Canadians expect to invest a monstrous $883 for each family member going back to school.  Just like in the United States, this is for both back-to-school products as well as clothing.  This amount is $325 greater than they spent on holiday gifts last year, according to a brand-new Angus Reid poll.

Back to school marketing:  back to school back to school stress

Over fifty percent of moms and dads claimed that purchasing to prepare for the first day of school places a stress on Canadian household financial resources and the household budget. Virtually 40 percent say that it takes months for them to pay it off.  This means that they have just paid off the back to school spending debt in time to go into Christmas holiday gift spending debt.  In some cases, the school spending debt has not even been fully paid off yet, when Christmas gifts debt is taken on.  Of course you never see this mentioned in any back to school marketing!

Back to school marketing:  Online and brick and mortar sales split evenly

While computer systems and other devices will certainly be expensive things for university students this year, on-line buying will not be the primary spending. Practically fifty percent of moms and dads will certainly go to bricks and mortar stores to get back to school products, About 25 percent will certainly go shopping online. When it concerns students that are getting their very own materials, greater than one-third will certainly purchase online.

A lot of moms and dads purchase exactly what their children want. But not always every little thing they ask for. That implies that university students are left to figure out how to come up with the funds to buy certain of the items they want on their own. Most of them typically aren’t shocked by it.  What this means is that back to school marketing needs to be geared towards both parents and students.

back to school marketing

Back to school marketing:  Students can be budget conscious

Deloitte claims 76 percent of university students consider themselves to be budget-conscious, which is exactly how they go shopping.  University students use certain strategies to stretch their dollars, including:

  • Eighty-one percent use a strategy to purchase from stores that give free delivery
  • Seventy-six percent plan to get more pre-owned books
  • 82 percent use a strategy to allocate funds for fraternizing with good friends
  • Greater than 50 percent want to spend for cultural and sports events
  • Greater than 50 percent look for textbook buy backs as selling books back at the end of the year is also seen as a way to budget and reduce costs

Possibly payments are in the eye of the beholder.  A majority of students expect they will have to contribute when it pertains to back-to-school costs.  Just 21 percent of parents expect their children to really do so.  Back to school marketing campaigns need to take these factors into account.

Back to school marketing:  The earlier you start shopping the more you spend

Two-thirds of moms and dads are going shopping throughout the summertime for school-related items.  Those that go shopping earlier finish up spending even more. Parents that go shopping earlier invest on average $100 more per student compared to those moms and dads that start shopping in July.  This is one reason back to school marketing campaigns have begun so early in the summer.

Back to school marketing:  Early shoppers and unsure shoppers are a retailer’s dream customer

Early consumers as well as unsure consumers – those that typically aren’t certain if they’ll browse the web or travel for in-store – are the most significant targets of stores. The earlier you buy, the more you are most likely to spend. The more not sure you are with where you will go shopping and exactly what you will get, the more you will certainly blow through your budget plan.

This back to school shopping season is worth billions and lets retailers to offer interesting deals as well as consumer interactions. Retailers that comprehend the undecided shoppers’ choices could get a large share of the household spending budget throughout the back-to-school period.  Those retailers who direct back to school marketing to the undecided can score huge.

Back to school marketing:  Prepackaged school supplies popular

One-third of moms and dads intend to purchase prepackaged school supplies. Bundles of products are made up so parents do not have to choose out every solitary thing. Moms and dads that get preconfigured supply packages invest an average of 40 percent even more compared to parents that purchase products individually.  That is why back to school marketing campaigns many times promote savings on bundled items as well as offering convenience and peace of mind to parents.

Back to school marketing:  You really need a household budget

The back to school shopping season provides families the opportunity to choose wisely together.  It also provides the risk for parents to blow through the family household budget and take months to pay off the debt.  The back to school marketing campaigns are slick and prey on our weaknesses.  That is why it is essential to have a back to school buying budget and stick to it, to avoid back to school shopping mistakes.

Do you have too much debt because you succumbed to the back to school marketing promotions and spent too much on back to school shopping or for any other reason? If you’re trying to find a way to restructure your debt, contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc.

Our philosophy for every person is to develop an outcome where Starting Over, Starting Now happens, beginning the minute you come in the door. You’re just one call away from taking the essential action steps to get back to leading a healthy and balanced stress and anxiety free life.


Toronto Credit Counseling:  Introduction

It appears that a high percentage of families in the GTA are in need of Toronto credit counseling.  This week’s blog highlights why people are now carrying debt into retirement.  By having this information, we hope that you will be able to easily prepare your own comprehensive guide to going into retirement debt free.

Toronto Credit Counseling:  Household debt at an all-time high

With household debt at an all-time high and continuing to break records, it’s hard to find families not dealing with debt. But, have you considered how your debt load may impact your children’s futures? As parents I’m sure you want to give your children every advantage in life.  This includes a college or university education.

Unfortunately it’s impossible to give your kids a post secondary education if you have a debt load to contend with. The reality is that student debt is directly tied to parents dealing with debt. So, ultimately your children may pay the price for your debt load. Believe it or not, they may even have debt carry into retirement.

Toronto Credit Counseling:  Carrying debt into retirement

New research from Strategic Insights brought this very important issue to light:

  • Total student debt rose 6.2% annually over the past 10 years to $42.9-billion
  • this compares with an average inflation rate over the same period of 1.6%
  • Average debt for a graduating student as of July, 2015 was $26,819
  • Students graduating with significant debt could buy houses and start families later in life
  • Add on as many as 35 years to pay off mortgages, lines of credit and other borrowings
  • This stretches debt into retirement
  • Student debt has soared despite a substantial increase in the amount of money parents are contributing to RESPs

Toronto Credit Counseling:  Going into retirement with debt

It’s hard to imagine that student debt can still haunt retirees, but it’s happening. And more and more students are graduating with heavy debt loads. Statistics Canada reports that 50% of students graduating with a BA relied on debts to pay for their education which in turn may well affect the future debt load of retirees. Parents, you may not realize it but your children may pay the price for your debt load.

Toronto Credit Counseling:  Going into retirement debt free?

If you’re struggling with debt, now is the time to deal with it, before it becomes a multi generational issue.  Perhaps all you need is credit counseling to get you pointed in the right direction to become debt free. 

Contact the Ira Smith Team. We can help you put debt behind you Starting Over, Starting Now. End the cycle of debt, avoid bankruptcy and help your children have a bright future, free of student debt.


Buying real estate from a receiver:  Introduction

Buying real estate from a receiver is a little different from a normal real estate transaction.  In this Brandon’s Blog I describe a recent Court of Appeal Decision that shows it can even be tricky for the receiver.

Buying real estate from a receiver:  Court appointed receiver+real estate

K was the court-appointed receiver (the “Receiver”) of the assets, properties and undertaking of a lakeside hotel in British Columbia, Carmel Cove Resort & Spa Inc. On October 25, 2013, the Receiver went into a contract in writing to sell the real property owned by the company in receivership to the participant, B.C. Ltd. (the “Purchaser”). The Contract of Purchase and Sale (the “Contract”) was in the form of the standard agreement of the British Columbia Real Estate Association and the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch).

Buying real estate from a receiver:  Contract fine print example

One of the conditions in the Contract was that the deal was subject to approval by the Supreme Court of British Columbia (the “Court”).  It had to be obtained within twenty-one (21) days of acceptance of the Contract by both parties. Clause 3 in the Contract  (“Clause 3”) stated that unless each condition was either waived or satisfied by written notice provided by the benefiting party to the other party on or before the date specified for every condition, the Contract would end.

On November 14, 2013, the twenty-first day after the Receiver’s approval of the deal, an application for court authorization was heard and approved. Five days later, on November 19, 2013, the Receiver gave the Purchaser written notice of the Receiver’s fulfillment of the condition for court approval.

Buying real estate from a receiver:  Fine print matters

The Purchaser chose not to finish the transaction.  The Purchaser refused to do so. The Purchaser claimed it was partly because it thought the Contract was terminated due to the Receiver’s failing to offer written notification on time. The Receiver ultimately sold the asset to another purchaser.  It sold the property for $925,000 less than it would have obtained if the Receiver completed the sale to the Purchaser.

The Receiver expended $312,150.96 to run the resort and administer the receivership in between the collapse of the sale to the Purchaser and the sale to the succeeding buyer closing. Therefore, the Receiver began an action, suing the Purchaser for $1,237,150.96. It applied to Court for a summary trial.

Buying real estate from a receiver: Fine print can’t lie

At the trial, both sides set out their disagreements and arguments on the condition precedent issue:

  • the Purchaser recognized that the Receiver met the need for court authorization by the twenty-first day adhering to the Receiver’s acceptance of the agreement.
  • The Purchaser pointed out, nonetheless, that the Receiver did not conform with Clause 3 by offering the Purchaser written notice of satisfaction of the condition on or before the day specified for the condition; i.e.: on the twenty-first day.
  • The Receiver’s position was that Purchaser knew the outcome of the court application on the day that it was heard.
  • The Receiver stated therefore written notice was superfluous, unnecessary, and duplicative.

Buying real estate from a receiver:  Here comes the judge

The Court kept in mind that the trouble with the Receiver’s position right here was that it was, truly, an invitation to the court to reword the terms of the contract. The notification stipulation in Clause 3 was quickly parsed by any type of literate individual. It was not unclear. The clause did not need interpretation. There was no need to refer to evidence to figure out what it suggested.

By its clear language, the notification arrangement in Clause 3 needed the party benefiting from the condition– in this situation the Receiver– to give written notification– e.g.:

  • a letter.
  • an e-mail.
  • a written note in crayon on the back of an envelope.

The notification that the condition– court authorization–was obtained on or before the day defined for the condition– i.e.: not greater than twenty-one days’ after the Receiver’s acceptance.

Did the Receiver do just what Clause 3 required? It did not. Rather, it offered the Purchaser written notification 4 days later which was also 4 days too late.

The trial judge held that the failure to give written notice of fulfillment of the condition as specifically stated in Clause 3 ended the Contract. For that reason, the Court rejected the Receiver’s claim.

Buying real estate from a receiver:  The appeal

The Receiver appealed the decision.  The appellate court dismissed the Receiver’s application.  The Court of Appeal noted that it is necessary to give effect to notice arrangements included in commercial agreements to offer assurance between the participants who contract with each other.

Buying real estate from a receiver:  What if you have too much debt?

Do you or your company have too much debt due to a contract gone wrong, losing in litigation or for any other reason? If you’re trying to find a way to restructure your debt, contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc.

Our philosophy for every person is to develop an outcome where Starting Over, Starting Now happens, beginning the minute you come in the door. You’re just one call away from taking the essential action steps to get back to leading a healthy and balanced stress and anxiety free life.

You may read the entire Court of Appeal decision by clicking here  KPMG Inc. v. 0747825 B.C. Ltd., 2017 BCCA 277 (CanLII)



Financial abuse statistics:  Introduction

How common is elder abuse? As Canadians we should be ashamed that the financial abuse statistics show it is the most common form of elder abuse in Canada. There are countless stories about seniors being financially exploited by someone close to them – spouse, child, friend, neighbour or caregiver.

The victims are typically alone, lonely, in poor health or in diminishing capacity. They’re easy prey and in many cases lose their savings and their homes, with just their pensions left to exist on. According to Lynn MacDonald, director of the Institute for Human Development, Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto, one of the elder abuse facts is that 2.6% of Canada’s growing population of residents 55 years of age and older are financially abused. It’s very sad that we now have to educate seniors on how to protect themselves from those closest to them.

Financial abuse statistics:  What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse can take many forms. The most obvious forms of financial abuse are actually theft or fraud. E.g. someone takes money out of your bank accounts for their own use without your permission.

Even if that person has power of attorney it’s still illegal because they are legally obligated to act in your interests, not theirs. Having power of attorney doesn’t mean anyone can help themselves to your money or property. Or, someone cashes your pension cheque and keeps some of the money for themselves without your permission.

Financial abuse statistics:  Other forms of elderly financial abuse

Other forms of financial abuse are less obvious, but just as dangerous. According to the Government of Canada financial crimes against the elderly can include pressuring, forcing or tricking you into:

  • Lending or giving away money, property or possessions
  • Selling or moving from your home
  • Making or changing your will or power of attorney
  • Signing legal or financial documents that you don’t understand
  • Working for little or no money, including caring for children or grandchildren
  • Making a purchase you don’t want or need, or
  • Providing food and shelter to others without being paid

Financial abuse statistics:  How can you protect yourself from financial abuse?

You really need to be cautious. Remember that the money and property is yours.

  • Safeguard your personal information
  • Don’t give out your online banking information or PIN numbers
  • Be cautious about opening a joint bank account because the other person can take all the money without asking or needing permission
  • Don’t co-sign credit cards or have joint credit cards. The other person can accumulate huge debts that you will be responsible for
  • Have your lawyer prepare a power of attorney appointing someone you can trust to look after you so that even if you’re ill and can’t take care of yourself, to protect your finances from others who might try to take advantage of you (pick someone who isn’t in a constant need of money)
  • Never sign any documents without legal advice from your lawyer
  • Keep detailed records of any money you give away and whether it’s a gift or loan
  • Don’t allow yourself to become isolated with only the abuser to depend on. It will give them all the power they need to take full advantage of you

Financial abuse statistics:  What are the signs of financial abuse?

According to Leanne Kaufman, head of RBC estate and trust services, be vigilant for red flags such as new bills suddenly being paid or an inordinate or unusual number of financial transactions. And watch for changes in financial spending patterns or the types of places where money is spent.

Financial abuse statistics:  Are facing debts you can’t cope with?

The sad reality is that everyone is vulnerable, not just the rich. If you’ve been a victim of financial abuse and/or are facing debts you can’t cope with for any reason, contact the Ira Smith Team. We give the depth of expertise found in a large company, delivered in a boutique setting that ensures high quality and cost-effective service. With a cumulative 50+ years of experience dealing with diverse issues and complex files, we deliver the highest quality of professional service. Contact us today and let us help you overcome your financial difficulties Starting Over, Starting Now.