How long will I be bankrupt in Ontario?

February 21, 2011

Question: I have heard that some bankruptcies last longer than others.  How do you know how long your bankruptcy will last?  I would be going bankrupt in Toronto, Ontario.

Answer: The minimum bankruptcy period is nine months.  However, your bankruptcy will last longer under certain conditions.  There are three reasons for a bankruptcy to be extended:

First, if you have surplus income, your bankruptcy is extended for an additional year.  In simple terms, federal law allows you to earn a certain amount each month, based on the size of your family, and based on certain expenses you may have.  If you exceed that amount by more than $200 per month on average, your bankruptcy is extended for 12 months.

Second, if you were bankrupt before, you are not eligible to be discharged in nine months.  If this is your second bankruptcy you will be bankrupt for a minimum of 24 months, and if you are a second time bankrupt with surplus income you will be bankrupt for a minimum of 36 months.

Third, if you do not complete your duties as a bankrupt, you will not be eligible for an automatic discharge.  You will be required to attend a court hearing, and the bankruptcy court will determine when you are discharged.  Examples of duties you are required to perform include making your monthly payments, providing proof of your monthly income to your trustee, attending your credit counselling sessions, and providing information to your trustee to prepare your taxes.

In summary, each case is different, so you should contact an Ontario bankruptcy trustee to arrange a no-charge initial consultation to review your situation and help you determine how long your bankruptcy is likely to last.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert July 9, 2013 at 2:02 am

A friend of mine declared Bankruptcy she said that they got her GST for one year. I declared bankruptcy in 2009 but I still do not get my GST. So how long do they get my GST?


J. Douglas Hoyes July 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Your HST quarterly rebate (formerly GST refund) is an asset of your bankruptcy estate, which in simple language means that when you go bankrupt, CRA will send the cheque to your trustee for as long as you are an undischarged bankrupt. If your bankruptcy lasts for 9 months, you lose your HST rebate for nine months.

If you went bankrupt in 2009 and your bankruptcy is over, you should contact CRA to find out why you are not getting your HST rebates. It could be because your income is now too high to qualify, or it could be because you have not filed your tax returns.

In addition, your trustee will only keep your HST refund if there is less than about $1,750 in your estate. So if you are paying $200 per month for nine months there will be $1,800 in your estate, plus your income tax refund and any other asset realizations, so in that example the trustee would return the excess HST to you. (It’s Rule 59, and you can read it here:,_c._368/page-10.html#h-16 ). That’s why many trustees don’t even take your HST at all, since they know they may have to return it.

In your case I would suggest you contact your trustee and CRA to find out why you are not getting your HST.


deb July 10, 2013 at 5:41 am

I was discharged in 2004, but the bankruptcy is still on my credit report. how do I get rid of that?


J. Douglas Hoyes July 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

According to Equifax, a first bankruptcy remains on your credit report for six years from the date of your discharge. So, if you were discharged from your first bankruptcy in 2004, which is more than six years ago, it should have automatically purged from your credit report. You should get a copy of your credit report and confirm that your discharge appears on your credit report, and then contact the credit bureau and request that they correct it.

If it was your second bankruptcy than Equifax will leave the note for 14 years and then it will automatically purge.

More information can be found in this article:


Amanda July 4, 2014 at 6:04 am

I was discharged from my bankruptcy in April. I tried to call my trustee, but instead of being helpful they were rude. I too was lead to believe that I would get my HST rebates after I was discharged. There was no discussion about the trustee being discharged. Anyways, I can’t get a direct answer from them as to how long it typically takes for them to be discharged. When I called in April regarding HST I was told that was the last one they would be holding, but now I am told they hold until discharge. Sorry if this is a ramble, I am not gready – just in need. I was expecting my credit today. Thanks.


Wendy Wells September 17, 2015 at 10:27 am

I sent a previous email about setting up an appointment on October 5th for bankruptcy but I would really like a no charge initial consultation to review my situation and help me determine how long my bankruptcy will last.
Wendy Wells


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