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How to deal with COVID Debt in Saskatchewan

Posted on 22 April 2021

How to deal with COVID Debt in Saskatchewan

COVID debt is on the minds of many Saskatchewan residents (just like others seeking debt relief in Canada). Each province has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in their own way and, though government aid has been put in place, not much has changed for the Saskatchewan economy since the summer of 2020.

This means that not much has changed for residents either.

Many individuals and families in Saskatchewan are faced with new debts they were not expecting to take on, just to survive this global challenge. Some are dealing with the costs of divorce after living 24/7 with their spouse for the past year and deciding to part ways. Others are forced to repay government benefit payments.

Needless to say, these are not easy times for anyone.

For those who are unsure about what debt help options they have in Saskatchewan during the pandemic, I share with you my interview on CTV Morning Live Saskatoon.

Note: A full transcript is below the video for those who prefer to read.


https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1963751&jwsource=cl

CTV Morning Live Saskatoon – Transcript

Mike (Host): Well, it may be some time before we know the full economic impact of COVID-19. But, for many, the effects are already being felt. So, we are talking with Chris Galea, partner at Spergel. Good Morning.

Chris (LIT):  Hey, Mike! How are you doing?

Mike (Host): I’m doing very well. Thanks for joining us. Chris, let’s talk about what COVID is doing – specifically – in terms of the economy in Saskatchewan. What are you seeing?

Chris (LIT): Yeah, Mike, it’s not just Saskatchewan that’s shut down. It’s the entire world economy and, you know, if people aren’t spending money, then businesses aren’t succeeding – they’re going to shut down too. People will lose jobs and there’s less money in the system. And, it’s pretty clear that the economy’s going to go into recession in Saskatchewan and, maybe, the entire world.

But, it’s not just COVID that’s impacting Saskatchewan’s economy. You know, there were storm clouds on the horizon for years now and I think that’s been reflected in real estate prices and – more specifically – the decline in values in Saskatchewan. You know, most Canadians don’t understand the impact the oil and gas industry has in Saskatchewan and how important it is to that economy. When oil dropped from $130 per barrel to $60 in a relatively short period of time back in 2014, that was the start of some pretty bad things going on in the economy.

Mike (Host): Alright, so now let’s say it’s… you know, ‘Joe Public’, and we’re having problems right now what can your company do to help?

Chris (LIT): So, there’s a couple things you can do – an individual who’s got some debt issues. The first thing they shouldn’t do, Mike, is nothing. I mean, ignoring your debt is not going to make it go away – unless you’re counting on winning the lottery (which, you know, is not good planning) that debt is going to survive.

So, if you have no means to deal with your debt on your own – in other words, equity in a property (for example) that you can refinance… if you can’t do that, then give us a call.

You can either file a bankruptcy, which I know sounds… horrible – but we’ll chat a bit about that briefly. Or, you can do what many people are opting for: a consumer proposal.

Mike (Host): Okay, now how does all of that work? Are there rules that vary from province to province? Where does Saskatchewan line up?

Chris (LIT): Yes, Saskatchewan (believe it or not) is one of the more generous provinces in the country when it comes to what we call ‘exemptions’ (things that you can retain in the event you file a personal bankruptcy). Very seldom – I mean, people just don’t lose their house. People are concerned – are they going to lose their house? Are they going to lose their RRSPs? Their savings? Their vehicles? None of that happens.

When somebody comes to us in Saskatchewan, one of the advantages we have as a province is that the first $50,000 of equity in your property is exempt from seizure – we can’t touch it, a trustee in bankruptcy. And that’s $50,000 per person on title.

So, the bottom line is, if people are concerned about their homes, they need not be.

RRSPs are exempt, most vehicles are exempt, you know – they’re not losing their assets.

But, as I say, an alternative to bankruptcy is to make a consumer proposal where we – well, whether you do a bankruptcy or consumer proposal, your debt problems go away. We step in, we intervene, we deal with the creditors. If you’re being sued, or a garnishee, even the phone calls – we’ll stop all that. You don’t need to worry about harassing phone calls, or the mail that you’re going to get, we’ll deal with all that.

With a proposal, we go back to your creditors with an offer to settle and that offer is going to vary, depending on: what you own, what you owe, who you owe, how much you make, and there’s other factors that we need to assess.

Mike (Host): Perfect. Well, uh, Chris – just the tip of the iceberg. As often happens, we are fresh out of time, but appreciate that. If somebody is looking for that specific kind of one-on-one opportunity to talk and kind of tailor-make a plan, how can they find you?

Chris (LIT): If you want to go to our website: www.spergel.ca or simply send us an email (hello@spergel.ca), we’ll get right back to you and schedule a consult. And, Mike, the nice thing is we can do it all from your home. With COVID, we can do everything remotely. You know, you could even do it with your pajamas on, for all I care!

Mike (Host): Fantastic! Alright. There you go. Well, Chris, thanks for a couple of minutes. Stay safe.

Chris (LIT): Alright. Be well. Thank you. Cheers.

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Chris Galea Spergel Trustee LITChris Galea is a Chartered Accountant and Insolvency and Restructuring Professional with over 20 years experience as an LIT. When he’s not at the office educating people about bankruptcies and consumer proposals, Chris is playing pick-up hockey with his friends, spending time with his family, and learning Spanish!

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

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Want to learn more about filing for Bankruptcy in Saskatchewan? Download our PDF Guide below.

Bankruptcy in Saskatchewan Guide

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