Debt Counselling – Get the Best Debt Advice and Debt Help

Debt counselling is also commonly known as “credit counselling” or a “debt advisor” in Canada and covers a wide range of debt options and consumer advice for dealing with debt problems.

There are many ways to address different debt problems. For over 25 years, Richard Killen & Associates have helped Canadians on the path to becoming debt-free by providing an in-depth perspective of all their debt relief options including informal and formal arrangements.

Now with the COVID-19 global crisis at hand, household debt in Canada has reached levels that could be qualified as excessive. Debt counselling has become a much-needed service in this difficult financial time. It provides a means for many individuals drowning in excessive debt to regain financial control.

Our Licensed Insolvency Trustees at Richard Killen & Associates provide debt counselling services to help you understand the different relief options that are available to you. Whether you need self-help strategies like budgeting or you’re having trouble making your monthly payments and need to make an arrangement with your creditors, we will make sure to discuss your financial situation and work to provide you with an affordable repayment plan that is tailored to your specific circumstances.


The key to selecting the right option for your unique financial problem is knowing which program is right for you.

Informal options include debt settlement and debt consolidation arrangements between a debtor and creditor that are not legally binding. Formal solutions, on the other hand, are legislated by the provincial and federal governments and legally bind both debtor and creditor to the terms of the arrangement.

When do you need an arrangement with your creditors?

Generally speaking, if you can afford to make the minimum monthly payments, you don’t need an arrangement with your creditors at all. You can simply make use of do-it-yourself strategies like reviewing your household budget or “snowballing” your financial obligations to clear them faster.

It’s when you can’t afford the monthly payments on your monthly obligations that you need to. Making an arrangement with your creditors simply entails reaching out to them and keeping them informed of your situation. It usually necessitates that you be honest to them about your financial situation, that you can no longer afford to pay off the money owed and you’re seeking to make an arrangement that’s more affordable and that would give you more time to pay it off. Some can do this on their own and find the courage to face their creditors and negotiate with them directly. However, those with monies owed to multiple creditors typically would like help to deal with creditors as they are not financially savvy enough to understand how to negotiate for affordable terms.

Depending on your financial situation, you might be able to create a plan to pay off your financial obligations through do-it-yourself strategies. However, if DIY strategies would not work, you might need to look at other formal debt relief solutions that require the help of professionals. Learning more about the many other options you have can give you a different perspective on your financial troubles and empower you to make an informed choice on the best one that fits your needs.

Credit counselling

Credit counselling is great for people who have unmanageable financial obligations and need to get some professional advice on what they can do to get back on track financially. You will meet with a credit counsellor for a one-on-one consultation of your financial situation and you’ll get unbiased information of all your options to eliminate your financial burden. By the end of the consultation, you’ll know if you simply need to review your budget or take out a consolidation loan or if you need more serious help to deal with your financial burden. If they see that you need more help, the credit counsellor can refer you to trusted sources.

Debt management plan (DMP)

A debt management plan or program (DMP) is an informal debt arrangement with your creditors. A reputable credit counselling agency can provide this service. The credit counsellor will negotiate with your creditors to reduce the interest on your outstanding amounts and arrange an affordable repayment plan. It’s important to know that there is no reduction in money owed in a DMP, you have to pay back 100% of what you owe.

Debt settlement plan

A debt settlement plan is also an informal arrangement with your creditors. It involves a consumer debt consultant who will negotiate with your creditors. For 36 months or more, you will need to build up a lump sum payment in a holding account, and once the company feels there is enough money in the account, it will start contacting your creditors to try and settle each of your debts for less than what you owe. It’s important to be aware that you will be making monthly payments to the debt settlement company, not to your creditors. Looking at the scheme of things you will understand how the process can put you at a high risk of scammers. Be very careful, particularly of debt settlement companies that promise to slash the amount owing from credit cards or student loans by 30 to 60 percent of the amount you owe. As a general rule, if anything sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Consumer Proposals

A consumer proposal is a formal debt arrangement with creditors. It is the only government-approved debt reduction program in Canada which allows you to repay only a portion of the money you owe, instead of the full amount. As a legal process regulated by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), you are provided with creditor protection when you file a consumer proposal through the automatic Stay of Proceedings which Immediately stops all legal action taken against you like a lien on your home or a wage garnishment. Only a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, as an Officer of the Court, can administer consumer proposals in Canada.

To learn more about how a consumer proposal can protect you, visit our Consumer Proposals page.

Filing for Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is another type of formal debt arrangement with creditors that releases you from all, or most, of your unsecured debts, such as credit card balances and student loans more than 7 years old.

Once you obtain bankruptcy discharge, all the debts included in the bankruptcy filing will be discharged and you will not have to pay them back. Similar to a consumer proposal, you get creditor protection once you file for bankruptcy through the automatic feature known as the Stay of Proceedings which immediately stops all legal action against you. Also like a consumer proposal, only a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can administer a bankruptcy proceeding. Contrary to the popular myth surrounding bankruptcies, you will not ‘lose everything when you go bankrupt as there are federal and provincial laws that protect certain assets from being seized. As a matter of fact, for certain people declaring bankruptcy can be the best solution for getting out of debt and getting a fresh financial start.

To learn more about how bankruptcy can help you get out of debt, visit our Bankruptcy page.


The burden of overwhelming debt is difficult to carry. Debt stress is real for millions of Canadians, more so now than ever as many face financial challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, you don’t have to go through it alone. At Richard Killen & Associates you can find a trusted debt advisor who can provide practical help and legal advice to help you manage complex personal debt. You could be struggling to meet your mortgage payments or rent, or have difficulties paying back a loan, or struggling to decide which creditor you should pay first.

No matter how complex your financial burdens are, we can help you regain control of your financial situation through our services such as financial planning, budgeting, money management, credit counselling, consumer proposal or personal bankruptcy.

Get started today by calling 1-888-545-5365 to make a free appointment to talk to one of our licensed insolvency trustees at Richard Killen & Associates. We’re happy to share expert advice with you in a free, completely confidential and non-judgmental environment.

If you have debt, talking to one of our debt advisors can go along way in helping you solve your debt problems.

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    Since 1992, Richard Killen & Associates, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, have helped thousands of people resolve their financial problems. With 25 years experience in this industry, our president, Richard Killen, and the rest of our team understand the difficulties that honest people can sometimes find themselves in. This expertise makes it possible to provide you with a service that effectively deals with the issues.

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    "Serving the GTA for 25 years."