People who have a large amount of debt often feel overwhelmed and afraid. Many are unsure of the best way forward, and some try to ignore the issue – until they face a garnishment.
What is a wage garnishment?
In Ontario, creditors can take legal action against people who don’t pay their debts by seeking a Garnishment Order from the Court. This order forces your employer or financial institution to make payments directly out of your pay check or bank account.
Wages can be garnished to pay off any type of debt, including taxes, child support, credit cards and payday loans. In Ontario, up to 50% of your gross income can be garnished for child support, while other creditors can garnish 20%.
In addition to making an already difficult financial situation even more stressful, having your wages garnished can damage your professional reputation. That’s why you should never ignore a creditor who is threatening legal action.
How does garnishment work?
Most creditors have to go to court to file a Statement of Claim to obtain a Garnishment Order. The debtor has 21 days to dispute the debt or to file a Statement of Defence. Otherwise, the court will assume the debtor is in agreement, and will grant the order.
It’s important to note that the Canada Revenue Agency can obtain a Garnishment Order without having to go to court. So can credit unions or payday loan companies, if you have signed a voluntary wage assignment in case of default.
I’m facing a wage garnishment. What should I do now?
If you are facing a wage garnishment, it’s not too late to protect your next paycheck. Here’s how:
Try to settle on your own.
Call your creditors and offer to settle. In rare cases, you may be able to make a deal. However, since most creditors only obtain a Garnishment Order against someone with a history of non-payment, it’s unlikely that they’ll accept your offer.
File a Consumer Proposal or Declare Bankruptcy.
One of the benefits of a consumer proposal or bankruptcy is they protect your wages by stopping most wage garnishments immediately – unless the order is for unpaid child or spousal support.
Whether you have creditors threatening to garnish your wages, or need to stop an existing garnishment, it’s important to act quickly. The team a Dana MacRae Licenced Insolvency Trustee can help. Call or email us today to start exploring your options.
Dana MacRae Licenced Insolvency Trustee has been helping people manage their debt since 2000. With 10 offices across Southwestern Ontario, it’s easy to schedule an appointment. Just go to www.danatrustee.ca and book your appointment online. We offer video conferencing, or book a home consultation and have the trustee will come to you (when allowed by COVID-19 protocols). Contact us today at 1.800.665.9965 or [email protected] to learn more about our services and find the financial solution that’s right for you.