Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Monday, April 9, 2012

How Long Is A Debt Good For? Part III: Saskatchewan


(There was no article posted last week – Kingston Data and Credit has had the good fortune of being very busy this past two weeks. To the people who visited Receivable/Accounts last week looking for new content, thank you for your patience).

Many questions often arise about the age of a debt, and what can be done, especially when it comes to bad debt write-off, collections, the credit bureau, or legal action. Each Province has its own statute of limitation on legal action. These vary from province to province.
As the next article in our series, we will address the province of Saskatchewan.




The Limitations Act of Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, the Limitations Act has been updated fairly recently (as of this writing, it was updated in 2007).

As many other provinces, it states “no proceedings shall be commenced with respect to a claim after two years from the day on which the claim is discovered”. There is some definition of discovering the debt, but there is an ultimate limitation period of 15 years from the date of incurring the debt.

Judgments are stated to be actionable for ten years from the date of judgment or order.
Similar to Alberta, the provincial limitation is suspended for the period that the claimant (creditor) is disabled, either physically or mentally. There is also a unique clause that the limitation period does not apply for the period a claimant (creditor) is a minor. There is some language dealing with disabled persons or minors with agents, guardians, or powers of attorney that deals with specific circumstances.

As with other provinces, the date of limitation can be “reset” by a payment or acknowledgement of the debt. An acknowledgement of the debt can be a written refusal to pay, or not even address or offer payment. The acknowledgement must be in writing by the debtor or their agent, and the acknowledgement allowing a reset of the limitations period must be made within the original limitation period – thus, it appears as an example, that an acknowledgement of a debt six years after the debt was incurred is not sufficient to reset the limitation period – this effectively creates an absolute limitation period of four years for a non-judgment debt not dealing with other oddities involved in the matter.

There are some exceptions, and some circumstances that debts have no limitation, but they are specific, and bear reviewing the actual Limitations Act.\

Here is the link to the actual provincial act:

http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/Limitations-Act




The Credit Bureau

Looking separately at the provincial rules in Saskatchewan, this is addressed in the Credit Reporting Act. Information regarding bankruptcies or judgments are kept for a period of six years (although there is an exception where the report of the judgment can be extended). A bureau can also include a debt or “adverse information” for a period of six years, or include older debts with the most recent payment within the last six years.

The Credit Reporting Act can be found here:

http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/Credit-Reporting-Act




Who Can Look At A Credit Bureau?

In Saskatchewan, or any other province, there are rules on who can look at a credit bureau. Every person is entitled to look at their own credit bureau, and can in most cases sign permission to a company to look at their credit bureau.

In certain cases, unauthorized parties can look at a credit bureau. Any party attempting to collect on a debt can look at a credit bureau without the consumer’s knowledge or authorization. Any law enforcement agency can look at a bureau for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting a party, and the court can order a credit bureau can be given to another party.

Of course, the credit bureau includes a history of hard inquiries on the bureau – a consumer or creditor can see who has been examining their credit bureau record.

The major credit reporting companies in Canada, of course, are Equifax Canada (http://www.equifax.ca/, 1-800-465-7166) and Trans Union Services (http://www.tuc.ca/, 1-800-663-9980).




Conclusion

I received an email last week – it asked about our missing article last week (sorry again), and it asked why our company, and why I personally am doing this series of articles. Why is the Chief Operating Officer of a third party collection agency putting an article out there talking about what a collection agency can’t do, what debts aren’t valid, and help the consumers?

Let me tell you why – if you go to Google, and search for consumer rights in Canada, you find debt settlement companies (who will help you for a price), consumer rights’ lawyers (who will help you for a price, paid by a retainer in advance), and a few angry consumer forums where horror stories are told about collection agencies and their mistreatment of the average person. And meanwhile, the collection agencies are silent.

No one likes being told they owe money. Yet hundreds of collection agencies exist in Canada, and impact millions of Canadians – this is an essential part of the credit cycle, and deals with hundreds of millions of dollars every month. I have been in the field of credit and collections for over twenty years. And I don’t believe silence by the credit industry is necessary.

Consumers should be given the knowledge of what consequences can happen. Be it affecting their credit rating, or being subject to legal action, I believe this knowledge should be given to consumers, and then they should be given a fair choice to cooperatively submit payment, or live with the real and honest consequences. Collection agencies should be in the business of consequences, not intimidation or deception.

As always, if you have any questions regarding the pursuit of receivables, and the legal recourse of the creditor to secure their debts, you are certainly welcome to contact myself.

Blair Wettlaufer
Kingston Data and Credit
Cambridge, Ontario
226-444-5695
http://www.kingstondc.com/
bwettlaufer@kingstondc.com