How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

Posted on 16 June 2021

Written by Gillian Goldblatt

Filing bankruptcy is often a last resort for anyone who finds themselves insolvent. Although a big decision, bankruptcy can provide relief from huge financial burdens, and allow a fresh financial start. Before committing to filing bankruptcy, it is important to know all the facts. Once you have spoken to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to understand your financial circumstances and any alternatives to bankruptcy, it may be that you proceed with filing bankruptcy. So, how long does bankruptcy stay on your credit report? And how will this affect your life beyond bankruptcy?

What is credit reporting?

In Canada, there are two primary credit bureaus – Equifax and TransUnion. As credit reporting agencies, their role is to report on each individual’s credit history. This is typically used by credit lenders to assess a borrower before they potentially provide them with a loan. Banks and other creditors use the credit report to assess the risks involved, and the probability of having the loan repaid. For high value loans like mortgages and car loans, you will typically need a good credit report and a strong borrowing history.

How does credit reporting affect me?

Lenders throughout Canada will usually send a monthly report on their borrowers to the credit reporting agencies. The credit bureaus will also receive an update from the Superintendent of Bankruptcy on anyone who has filed bankruptcy. This update will also include anyone who has been discharged from bankruptcy. The credit reporting agencies including Equifax and TransUnion will then review this update and provide this information to lenders. This data enables lenders to review who is requesting to borrow from them, and make an informed decision. If, therefore, your credit report states bankruptcy and a poor repayment history, it could prove difficult for you to borrow. If you are looking to borrow from a lender, it is important that your credit report is as strong as possible.

How long does bankruptcy stay on your credit report?

This is a common question when it comes to life after bankruptcy. How long will bankruptcy continue to impact your life? As in Canada there are two primary credit bureaus, each of them handle credit reporting slightly differently. Both Equifax and TransUnion will usually clear a bankruptcy from your credit report six years after an official bankruptcy discharge. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule:

  • If this is your second or subsequent bankruptcy, it may be that the bankruptcies will remain on your credit report for fourteen years
  • Equifax will clear bankruptcy from your credit report after seven years if you do not have a discharge date
  • TransUnion will clear bankruptcy from your credit report seven years after discharge if you live in one of the following provinces:
    • New Brunswick
    • Newfoundland and Labrador
    • Ontario
    • Prince Edward Island
    • Quebec

How to rebuild your credit report after bankruptcy

If you have concerns about your credit report and how life will look after bankruptcy, there are a few things you can do:

  • Consider bankruptcy alternatives and other forms of debt relief, including filing a consumer proposal or taking out a debt consolidation loan instead.
  • Book a free consultation with an experienced Licensed Insolvency Trustee. At Spergel, you will receive your very own bankruptcy trustee to walk you through each step of the process of gaining debt relief.
  • Remember that filing bankruptcy can be the first step in beginning a fresh financial start as it clears debt you are unable to pay. If you continue as you are, your financial situation is unlikely to improve.
  • Check out our tips for rebuilding your credit. If you begin to save your money, make your monthly repayments more manageable, and pay them on time, you can steadily rebuild your credit after bankruptcy.
  • Work with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to work on improving other factors that lenders may look at – these include your assets, income, and job stability, all of which may be easier for you to control than your credit report.

If you work on creating healthy financial habits, it is achievable to gain access to credit before bankruptcy is removed from your credit report. Use our debt calculator to see which debt relief option may be most appropriate for you.To find out more about how long bankruptcy will stay on your credit report, book a free consultation with Spergel. Our Licensed Insolvency Trustees have been helping Canadians become debt free for over thirty years. Together, we can help you to clear your debts and begin a fresh financial start. You owe it to yourself.


Gillian Goldblatt

Gillian Goldblatt is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Insolvency and Restructuring Professional. She is also an award-winning LIT (Licensed Insolvency Trustee) and Vice-Chair of the Ontario Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Practitioners Board. As Spergel's resident expert on debt consolidation and financial literacy, you can find Gillian being interviewed regularly on popular Canadian news programs when she's not at the office helping individuals and businesses get back on track.

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