Glossary of Terms



Act of Bankruptcy

An act committed by a debtor as defined under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. One of the most common is if a debtor ceases to meet his liabilities generally as they become due. A creditor with a provable claim of $1000 and over may file a petition for a receiving order if the debtor has committed such an act within the six months preceding the filing of the petition.


A voluntary written declaration of facts affirmed or sworn under oath before an authorized officer such as a Notary Public or Commissioner of Oaths.


In the context of bankruptcy it means all the property of the debtor available for distribution for the general benefit of creditors (available for paying debts).

Application for Bankruptcy Order
An application to a court of law made by creditors in order to put the debtor in bankruptcy.
Money that is owed and should have been paid earlier.
Assignment in Bankruptcy
Voluntary assignment by an insolvent person of all of his property to a trustee for the general benefit of creditors.



A person who acts on behalf of any other person in the repossession or seizure of property.

A natural person or corporation who has made a voluntary assignment in bankruptcy or against whom a receiving order has been made.

The state of being bankrupt or the fact of becoming bankrupt.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA)

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, a federal statute governing bankruptcy and insolvency in Canada, which is applicable to all provinces and territories.


Certificate of Full Performance of Proposal

a document issued by the trustee or administrator once a debtor has fully performed his or her obligations under the proposal.


Property that is pledged as security against a debt.

Conditional Sale

The sale of goods where the buyer receives possession of goods or property but does not receive title to them until specific conditions are fulfilled.

Consolidation Order

In specific provinces, an order handed down by a provincial court to combine the debts of an insolvent person pursuant to the Orderly Payment of Debt Regulations in Part X of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Consumer Proposal

A simplified process to make a proposal for repayment of debt to creditors, available under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to a consumer debtor whose aggregate debts, excluding any debts secured by the person’s principal residence, do not exceed the amount prescribed in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Contingent Claim

A provable claim in bankruptcy that may or may not become a debt depending upon the result of some future event.


A process under which the services of a qualified counsellor are made available to assist and educate bankrupts and/or relatives of bankrupts, or consumer debtors, on good financial management, including prudent use of consumer credit and budgeting principles; in developing successful strategies for achieving financial goals and overcoming financial setbacks; and at any time, where appropriate, making referrals to deal with non-budgetary causes of insolvency (e.g.: gambling, addiction, marital and family problems, etc.).


One to whom a debt is owed; in insolvency matters, a person having a claim provable under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.



The specific sum of money due by an agreement or otherwise.

Debt Consolidation

A form of debt refinancing that involves taking out one loan to pay off multiple other debts. Commonly this refers to a personal finance process of individuals addressing high consumer debt.


One who owes money to another.

Deemed Trust

A trust established by statute. For example, income tax deducted at source as prescribed by the Income Tax Act is deemed to be held in trust for the Crown.

Discharge from Bankruptcy

The release of a debtor from the obligation to repay his or her debts. A bankrupt’s discharge may be automatic, suspended, conditional or absolute. A bankrupt may also be refused discharge. 

– Absolute:

It is effective immediately when it is granted by the Bankruptcy Court and means that you are no longer responsible for the debts you had, except for those Debts “not released” described below.

– Adjourned:

Any objection to the granting of a discharge order will, in most cases, cause the hearing to be postponed to a later date.

– Conditional:

Conditions may be imposed by the Court that will have to be met before your discharge becomes absolute. For example, you may have to pay a certain sum of money to the Trustee for distribution to your creditors.

– Suspended:

Same as an Absolute Order but with a delay before coming into effect.

– Refused:

While the Court has the right to refuse a discharge, it rarely exercises this power.

The proportional share of a bankrupt’s estate paid out by the Trustee to creditors who have proven claims against the estate.
Duties of a Bankrupt

Obligations that must be performed by a bankrupt. For example, provide the Trustee with a statement of the bankrupt’s affairs showing the particulars of his or her assets and liabilities, the name of all his creditors etc.



A claim or liability that is attached to property or some other right that may lessen its value, e.g. a lien or mortgage.



A legal process whereby a creditor requires a third party to turn over to the creditor, a debtor’s property such as wages or bank accounts.


A person (see definition of “person“) who takes on financial responsibility for another’s debt.



The condition of being unable to pay debts as they become due, or in the ordinary course of business, or having liabilities that exceed the total value of assets.

Insolvent Person

A person is considered to be insolvent when they have ceased to pay their debts in the ordinary course of business, cannot pay their debts as they become due, or the amount of their debts exceed the fair value of their assets.

Interim Receiver

A Trustee appointed by the court to safeguard the estate assets and perform such other functions as the court may order for such a time period as the court may determine.


Joint and Several Liability

The liability of more than one individual that may be enforced against them all by a joint action or against any one of them by individual action.


A formal decision issued by a court on a matter under its consideration.



A fee payable to the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the supervision by the Superintendent in the administration of estates.


Financial obligations or debt of an individual or a business, including unpaid taxes, salaries, accounts payable etc.

Licensed Insolvency Trustee/Trustee

A person licensed by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy to administer bankruptcy and proposal estates.


Financial obligations or debt of an individual or a business, including unpaid taxes, salaries, accounts payable etc.


The act of converting assets to cash, especially in bankruptcy or in the dissolution of a business.



A lien against property, which is registered on title, that is granted to secure an obligation such as a debt.


Notice of Intention to File a Proposal

A legal document filed with the Official Receiver stating that the debtor intends to file a proposal. The document is to include the name and address of the licensed Trustee who has consented in writing to act as the Trustee under the proposal and the names of the creditors who are owed $250 or more and the amounts of their claims. The filing of this document triggers the protection afforded to insolvent debtors under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.



The offences and sanctions provisions are contained in Part VIII of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. These are criminal or quasi-criminal violations of law; a person guilty of an offence is liable to a fine or imprisonment.

Official Receiver

The Official Receiver is a federal government employee in the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy and appointed by the Governor in Council. The Official Receiver, among other things, accepts the documents that are filed in proposals and bankruptcies, examines bankrupts under oath and chairs meetings of creditors.

Orderly Payment of Debts

In certain provinces, a procedure prescribed in Part X of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, governed by provincial courts, which allows a person to pay debts.

Ordinary Resolution

A resolution carried by the majority of votes (one vote for each dollar of debt) of claims of creditors at a meeting of creditors; disallowed claims do not have votes.


Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, an agency of Industry Canada. The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy supervises the administration of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. The OSB has Division Offices throughout Canada.



Includes a natural person (human being), a partnership, and a corporation that is recognized by law as having the same rights and duties as a natural person.

Power of Attorney

A legal instrument (document) setting out explicitly an individual’s authority to act as the agent of the person giving the power of attorney.

Preferential Treatment

The payment of money or the granting of security by an insolvent debtor that benefits one or more creditors to the detriment of the other creditors.

Preferred Creditor

A creditor who has been given priority under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act over other creditors in the distribution of dividends.


The order in which creditors are ranked for payment of claims provable under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Proof of Claim

A creditor’s written statement that is submitted to prove the creditor’s claim; used as the basis for paying dividends, if accepted by the Trustee.


Includes money, goods, land and every description of property, whether real or personal, situated in Canada or elsewhere.


An offer to creditors to settle debts under conditions other than the existing terms. It is a formal agreement under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.


A document signed by a creditor granting another person the authority to represent them at creditors’ meetings. The proxy holder can exercise the creditor’s right to vote.


The minimum number of creditors who must be present in person or by proxy to conduct business or to take a vote. At a meeting of creditors, one creditor present, in person or by proxy, who has duly proven a claim with the Trustee prior to the meeting, constitutes a quorum.


A person who has taken possession pursuant to a security agreement of substantially all of the inventory, accounts receivables or the other property of the debtor. “Receiver” also includes a person who has been appointed privately pursuant to a security agreement or by an order of the court for the protection or collection of property that is the subject of diverse claims, usually to seize and sell the property of the debtor.
An Officer of a provincial court appointed by the Chief Justice with the powers and jurisdiction as specified under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
Related Persons
Persons who are connected by a blood relationship, marriage, adoption or common-law partnership; while so related, they are deemed not to deal with each other at arm’s length. The Act provides that the definition of related persons extends to corporations, shareholders and directors in certain specified situations.


Secured Creditor
A person holding an instrument such as a mortgage or a lien on or against the whole or part of the property of a debtor as security for a debt due to him from the debtor.

Property or asset given or pledged to guarantee the fulfilment of an obligation, e.g. for the payment of a loan.


The act of taking possession of property by legal right or process.


Includes bailiff and any officer charged with the execution of a writ or other process under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act or any other Act or proceeding with respect to any property of a debtor.

Special Resolution
A resolution decided by a majority in number and three-fourths in value of the creditors with proven claims present, personally or by proxy, at a meeting of creditors and voting on the resolution.
Statement of Receipts and Disbursements

A statement detailing the receipt and disbursement of funds, interest received, fees charged by the Trustee, all the dividends distributed to the creditors and particulars of property that is not sold.

Stay of Proceedings

A bar against any creditor for the recovery of a claim provable in bankruptcy against the insolvent person or the insolvent person’s property. No creditor shall start or continue any action, execution or other proceeding for the recovery of such claims.

Superintendent of Bankruptcy

A federally appointed official who oversees the administration of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in Canada.

Surplus Income
The portion of an individual bankrupt’s income that is required to be paid into the bankruptcy estate during the bankruptcy as per standards established by the OSB.



A property interest held by one person at the request of another for the benefit of a third party.

Trustee / Licensed Insolvency Trustee

A person licensed by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy to administer bankruptcy and proposal estates.


Unsecured Creditor

A creditor who advances credit without taking any rights against the property of the debtor.


Voting Letter

A document in which a creditor with a provable claim registers his vote for or against a proposal.



A written guarantee of performance from a vendor to a purchaser stating that the item being sold is good and fit for its intended use by the purchaser.

Share this Page:

It’s Ok to hit a financial rough patch, and it’s ok to get help.

Contact us for a FREE confidential consultation

Scroll to Top