How long will bankruptcy show on credit reports in Canada for the first time bankrupt after receiving a bankruptcy discharge?
There are two large credit reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax and Trans Union. Unfortunately neither of them is very forthcoming with regards to their credit reporting practices.
A few years ago you could go to their websites and read a complete description of their reporting procedures. Today, unfortunately, their websites are mostly sales vehicles, so that they can sell you their credit reporting services, and that’s a key point to remember: Credit bureaus are profit making businesses: they exist to sell credit information to the lenders (like banks) and to consumers (like you). They are not impartial arbitrators; they are there to earn a profit. There’s nothing wrong with earning a profit, but it’s important that you understand their perspective.
With that background, based on the most recently available information (which I can no longer link to, since it no longer appears on their websites), Equifax’s policy is to retain the note about your first bankruptcy on their system for six years after the date of discharge.
So, for example, if you declare bankruptcy in January of year 1, and you were not discharged until October, year 2, the note about your bankruptcy would remain on your credit report for six more years, until the end of October, year 8. It’s not the date that your bankruptcy started that matters; it’s the date you were discharged.
In the past Trans Union maintained this information for seven years.
Once you are discharged your trustee sends the discharge information to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, and it is the OSB that then reports to the credit bureau. Your trustee is not able to report directly to Equifax or Trans Union.
It should also be noted that each individual creditor also reports to the credit reporting agency, and the information they report individually may be different than the information reported by the OSB. It’s possible that a debt included in your bankruptcy may still appear on your credit report after the six year period if an individual creditor reports incorrect dates.
I therefore recommend that three months after you are discharged from bankruptcy, get a copy of your credit report from both agencies and review them for any errors, and then report those errors to both the credit bureau and the individual creditor.