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Debtor Assistance

Managing Your Debt

You may be facing more debt than you can pay back, and/or dealing with financial institutions and companies that are aggressively seeking larger payments, larger than you can afford while still keeping your home and family together.

If you're experiencing financial difficulty with your creditors, there are several options available to you as a consumer. Selecting the best one for you depends on:

  • the amount of debt
    • many high-interest loans, maxed out credit cards, etc.
  • types of debt
    • credit cards (19-29% interest rate)
    • mortgages or lines of credit (5-10% interest rate)
    • bank loans for a car, overdrafts
    • Canada Student Loan (6-9% interest rate)
  • your credit history
    • have you previously been bankrupt?
    • defaulted on loan or credit card payments?
    • are you behind on any or all of your utility bills?
  • your monthly disposable income
    • are you employed full-time, but increasing your debt load each month.

Based on your individual situation, you may be successful:

  • reworking your budget (spend less for entertainment, clothes, or travel) and setting priorities
  • access the equity in items you own and/or disposing of assets you own (mortgage free, do you need a second car? no, consider selling it, etc.)
  • taking out a consolidation loan to make one smaller payment over a longer period of time
  • seeking debtor assistance (impartial, professional help dealing with your creditors)
  • making a registered consumer proposal (with the help of a licensed Administrator of Consumer Proposals and/or a licensed trustee in bankruptcy, they will discuss your financial situation). You may make a proposal to your creditors to pay off a percentage of your debt, extend the time you have to pay off the debt, or propose some combination of both, setting out a manageable plan to pay off a portion of your debts or all of your debts over an extended period of time. (Note: excludes mortgages on principal residence).
  • declaring bankruptcy, you must meet with a licensed trustee in bankruptcy. Check the Office of Superintendent of Bankruptcy website for a list of licensed trustees.

Be a wise consumer if/when you choose to seek help in dealing with debt and collection services.

Several companies claim to offer debtor assistance services. It's important to research these companies before you commit to a plan. Company advertising may suggest a connection with the Debtor Assistance programs offered by the province of Nova Scotia, where none exists.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Don't make any payment before the Counsellor has provided services to you;
  • Don't provide your personal financial and identification information without receiving a signed contract or other commitment to protecting your identity and privacy from the Counsellor;
  • Don't enter into a contract before a debt settlement agreement is agreed to by all parties involved (debtors and lendors).

The Province of Nova Scotia, through Service Nova Scotia, offers Debtor Assistance programs. You can meet with a licensed Administrator, who will review your situation and discuss with you, what options are available to you at no charge.
Should a registered Consumer Proposal be an option available to you, there are fees which are by tariff and you may discuss at length with one of our licensed Administrators located throughout the province at various Access Nova Scotia Centres.


(within North America)


(toll-free within North America)
Office Location(s):
Access Nova Scotia Centres

Downloadable Form

Consumer Proposals

Consumer proposals are designed to provide you with an opportunity to make a proposal to your creditors to pay off your debts. You may make a proposal to your creditors to pay off a percentage of your debt, extend the time you have to pay off the debt, or propose some combination of both. Consumer proposals are administered by Service Nova Scotia under the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

If you are facing financial difficulty, you may make an appointment to meet with staff of this Section. An Administrator will ask that you provide information on your financial situation - and together you will discuss the best option for you.

Some of the benefits of a consumer proposal are that your creditors may not be able to take legal steps to recover the debt from you (such as seizing property or garnishing wages). If you have debts less than $250,000 (not including a mortgage on your residence) you may be eligible to make a proposal. Staff will discuss your financial situation, and work with you to develop a proposal that's best for you and your creditors. A report is filed with your creditors and with the Official Receiver. Service Nova Scotia presents the consumer proposal to your creditors and asks them to indicate if they accept or reject the terms. An Administrator will call a meeting of creditors if necessary. Creditors have up to 45 days to indicate if they wish to have a meeting of creditors.

If the creditor responds positively, or does not respond, the proposal is considered accepted. If a sufficient number of creditors accept the proposal, it becomes binding on you and all of your creditors under the consumer proposal. If your consumer proposal is accepted, you must comply with the terms of the proposal. If you stop making payments, the proposal is no longer valid. Your creditors could then claim the full amount owed to them before the proposal (minus what you paid during the proposal). There is a fee to make a consumer proposal which is collected from your payments to your creditors.