1. First, pull a credit check on you. In most cases you can obtain your own credit bureau report free of charge by contacting the credit bureaus or visit CREDIT SOLUTIONS to print off an application:

   There are three credit bureaus in Canada:

Equifax: toll free at 1-800-465-7166 or you may purchase your credit bureau file online at EQUIFAX

Trans Union: toll free at 1-800-888-4213 or you may purchase your credit bureau file online at TRANSUNION

Experian Canada: toll free at 1-888-826-1718 or you may purchase one online at EXPERIAN

In order to be sure all of your information is correct and current you will need to get copies of all your files. Yes, that means you will have to contact each credit bureau!

 2. Review your credit report. Once you receive your file review it very carefully for any errors or omissions. Did you know? Surveys advise us forty seven percent of the time the information contained in a credit report is wrong? However, no one knows the information is wrong until someone actually reads the file and can verify the information.  So, read your file once a year to be sure the reporting information about you is correct.

 3. Correcting wrong information. Accompanying your file the credit bureaus will provide you with information regarding how to correct or update any wrong information. You may need to have the credit bureau contact the creditor to get undated information. It is the responsibility of the credit grantor to send correct information to the credit bureaus for reporting. So if there is an error follow the instructions carefully and you will be able to correct your own file.


4. Pay off debt: Even if your credit report states that you have made all your payments on time all the time, a potential lender may refuse to lend you more money due to the amount of debt you are currently carrying.  It is best to pay off as much of your existing debt as possible before applying for another loan.

 5. If you have more debt than you can repay: Your credit rating will improve by dealing with your current debts. You may need to speak with a licensed credit counsellor to get professional advice in order to look at what solutions are available.

 No matter what anyone tells you, you can not erase bad credit from your file if the information on the file is correct it will remain for the allotted time frames. However do not despair; any credit information good or bad will report on your credit file for a maximum of 6 years and then drop off. The exception to this rule is Court Judgments which can report for a maximum of 10 years if they remain unpaid. 

Unique to British Columbia after six years if the debt has not had a payment or been acknowledged in writing the debt is extinguished. You no longer owe the money!! This does not seem however to apply to Government Debts. I am wondering when someone will take this one on and ask the courts if the law should apply.Maybe it will be you!

So what are you waiting for? Get a copy of your credit report today and start repairing your credit rating.


Jeannine Mitchell has created a wonderful new website at Debt101!

Are you one of the 2 million Canadians with student loans? This help-site can save you money and stress. Student loan debt gets complicated – it’s not like other debt.

As a non-profit community service, Debt 101 provides forums, calculators, application forms, student aid and tax rules, links and more, including advice by an award-winning finance writer, as featured in Moneysense, Canadian Business and Macleans. Check out the new site there is something for everyone here. Enjoy!

What it all means

Coming to terms with insolvency is emotionally draining for people and the stress can be overwhelming. Constant calls from creditors/collectors at home and even at work can cause sleepless nights. It can harm relationships and affect a person’s performance at work.The final solution to insolvency, is to apply for protection under the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, either by filing a proposal or by making an assignment in bankruptcy
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