Are collection agencies allowed to call you at work?

Posted on 4 November 2021

Written by Samantha Galea

If you are faced with debt and have not been able to make your payments on time, collection agencies may be calling you. The stress of not being able to pay your debt combined with the pressure of collection calls can be very overwhelming. It is also quite possible that you may not know your rights regarding collection agencies – for instance, are collection agencies allowed to call you at work? And what is best to say to collection agencies when they call? Understanding how collection agencies work and your rights can help to reduce the stress of dealing with your debt. Collection agencies are indeed able to call your work or employer if you owe money, but there are some regulations. In this article, we will explain whether or not collection agencies are allowed to call you at work.

Are collection agencies allowed to call you at work?

Put simply – yes, if you owe money, collection agencies are allowed to call you at work. There are two primary reasons why a collection agency might contact your workplace or employer. Firstly, they may want to frighten or intimidate you. They probably think that if they contact your employer, you will take it seriously and be more likely to pay them as you do not want them to continually call you at work. Secondly, they probably want to clarify where your workplace is so that they can work on a wage garnishment. Confirming your employer is the first step they need to pursue court action. If you are being threatened with a wage garnishment, it is important to speak to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee immediately to try to prevent any further action happening. Collection agencies are regulated by province, so their actions can vary somewhat. For Ontario, the Collection Agencies Act of Ontario exists, although it is worth checking for your province.

What are collection agencies able to do?

According to the Office of Consumer Affairs, collection agencies are able to do the following in Ontario:

  • Contact your employer to verify your employment information.
  • Mail you a written notice, including the name of who hired them, the amount owed, the agency name and the authority to collect; 6 days later they may contact you again.
  • Contact your family, neighbours, or friends to obtain your address and telephone number, however they are not permitted to discuss the nature of their call unless you have given permission or the person who answers has guaranteed your debt.

That said, they cannot speak to your employer for any other reason unless your employer has guaranteed the debt. The only other reason they may discuss your debt with your employer is if you have provided written authorization, or the agency is calling with regard to a court order or wage assignment. Therefore, in most cases, collection agencies are not allowed to call you at work.

What are collection agencies not able to do?

Collection agencies are forbidden from doing any of the following:

  • Trying to collect more than the full balance owed.
  • Call on a statutory holiday or between the hours of 9pm and 7am.
  • Call more than 3 times in a 7 day period without your consent after they have made initial contact with you. They must speak with you or leave an email/voice message – calls with no message left do not count.
  • Use threatening language, profanity, excessive/unreasonable pressure or intimidation.
  • Charge you extra, although interest may accrue on your debt.
  • Give false information or recommend any legal action without sending you notice first.
  • If the agency is calling the wrong person, they must cease contact and you have rights to ensure that these calls stop.

If an agency is acting inappropriately, you have the option to first send a letter to them explaining why and that you expect them to follow the law, or, file a complaint with the ministry. The most effective way to stop harassing calls is to put a plan into place that will deal with your debt and protect you from legal action from creditors or collection agencies. At Spergel, we can help you make a debt repayment plan and deal with the collection agencies for you. We can also permanently stop collection calls, and help you to generate a stay of proceedings to stop creditors or collection agencies from contacting you again.

What should I do if I am getting collection calls at work?

Nobody wants to receive collection calls at work, but thankfully there are ways to stop them even if you owe money. Your first action should be to contact a reputable Licensed Insolvency Trustee. At Spergel, we have been helping Canadians gain debt relief for over thirty years, and we can help you too. Our first step will be to stop the collection calls before collection agencies pursue legal action, perhaps through a stay of proceedings. We will review your financial circumstances with you, and help you to assess the best debt relief solution for you. The sooner you act, the sooner you can gain your freedom back. We will assess options like a debt settlement, consumer proposal, and even bankruptcy depending on your situation. We are here to help you handle your debt.

If you want to learn more about ‘are collection agencies allowed to call you at work?’, book a free consultation with Spergel. Our experienced Licensed Insolvency Trustees are here to support you, no matter what your financial situation. We can help to stop collection calls, and get you on a pathway to eradicating your debt for good, allowing you to begin a fresh financial future.


Samantha Galea

Samantha Galea is a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional and LIT (Licensed Insolvency Trustee) who started working with Spergel as a summer student in 2010. With her socio-political background, Samantha is committed to breaking the stigma associated with bankruptcy so that individuals and families can properly understand all of their options on their path to debt freedom. She is also our resident expert on student debt and collection agencies, as well as the manager of our Brampton office. Outside of work, Samantha is an avid reader of historical non-fiction and world traveler.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Samantha Galea (or your local Spergel LIT) by:

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