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2020–21 Business Plan

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Business Plan 2020-21

1.65 MB, 17 pages

Message from the Superintendent

Elisabeth Lang

I am pleased to share the 2020–21 Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) Business Plan that builds on last year’s priorities and strategic objectives of engagement, compliance, and organizational excellence.

It is with these objectives in mind that, this year, the OSB will continue to fulfill its mandate, work toward modernizing Canada’s insolvency system and contribute to the efficiency of the Canadian marketplace while responding to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring a well-functioning insolvency system in this novel context. A well-functioning insolvency system that helps promote investment and creditor confidence in the Canadian marketplace is a pillar of the economy.

Areas of focus in 2020–21

A Modern and Efficient Regulatory Framework

A modern regulatory framework is the foundation upon which the Canadian insolvency system operates. To ensure that the regulatory framework effectively supports the Canadian insolvency system, the OSB will consult with stakeholders to undertake a comprehensive review of associated regulations and directives. This priority is also key to ensuring that the OSB’s compliance and enforcement tools are meaningful and effective.

Helping Canadians Make Informed Decisions

The debt advisory landscape is broad and can be difficult to navigate, and thus many Canadians face challenges when looking for an appropriate debt solution. For this reason, the OSB will enhance its online tools and messaging, and work with partners to help Canadians have access to the information they need to find the right debt solution and to avoid paying for unnecessary services.

While the OSB will make every effort to advance its business priorities as set out in this plan, it may also be necessary to divert resources to address challenges to the insolvency system resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As always, the support of OSB’s committed and professional employees is key in the delivery of its priorities, and I look forward to working together with them and with stakeholders to achieve significant results for Canadians.

Elisabeth Lang
Superintendent of Bankruptcy

Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy

Who we are

The OSB contributes to an efficient marketplace by maintaining the integrity of the Canadian insolvency system, thereby strengthening confidence in the Canadian economy.

The OSB is a vote-net organization within Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) that recovers its costs from the insolvency system and is led by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, a Governor in Council appointee, with independent statutory and quasi-judicial authorities.

To deliver its mandate, the OSB’s operations are carried out in 13 offices located in 3 regions (West, Ontario, and East) and at its headquarters in the National Capital Region.

Geographic regions

A geographical map of Canada segregated in three coloured regions

This graphic shows a geographical map of Canada—segregated in three coloured regions: West, in
yellow; Ontario, in blue; and East, in green. Thirteen offices are identified as per their respective
geographical location as follows (from West to East):

  • West Offices (6):
    • Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg.
  • Ontario Offices (4):
    • London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa (circled in red and labelled as National
  • East Offices (3):
    • Montréal, Québec, Halifax.

Below that are two coloured blocks, side-by-side. The first block reads: 370 Planned full-time equivalent employees for 2020-21. The second block reads: Budget Authority: $44 million.

What we do

The OSB is responsible for the administration of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), as well as certain aspects of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). It licenses and regulates the insolvency profession, ensures an efficient and effective regulatory framework, supervises stakeholder compliance with the insolvency process, and maintains public records and statistics.

The OSB is part of the Small Business and Marketplace Services Sector of ISED. It works collaboratively with colleagues across the department, including through the Regulators’ Table, to achieve results for Canadians.

The OSB values and recognizes the contributions of its employees across the organization who work together to help maintain the integrity of Canada’s insolvency system and deliver results for Canadians. This includes employees in the regions carrying out regulatory duties, compliance monitoring and enforcement, as well as those responding to public enquiries and statutory complaints. Employees at National Headquarters advance the mandate by developing policy, guidance and training for program operations, carrying out research and analysis, providing support for business applications and delivering trustee licensing services. Employees who deliver internal services across the organization are key to enabling program delivery. The following provides an overview of how the OSB delivers its mandate.

Program Policy and Regulatory Affairs

Canada’s insolvency system is defined by a regulatory framework that includes the BIA and the CCAA, regulations, directives and policies, as well as related provincial legislation. The OSB reviews, analyzes and proposes amendments to regulatory instruments to ensure they remain relevant and effective and balance the interests of stakeholders in a way that helps protect the integrity of the insolvency system. The regulatory framework provides the foundation on which professional standards for the administration of estates are built. It guides the collection of information to support insolvency registration and administration, and it establishes a basis for compliance-monitoring activities.


Qualified private-sector practitioners are licensed by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy to manage the administration of insolvent estates pursuant to the BIA and the CCAA, and are required to use the professional designation of Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). Before granting a licence, the Superintendent requires that LIT candidates successfully complete a curriculum designed to ensure they have the necessary qualifications, including knowledge, skills and experience, as set out in Directive No. 13R6, Trustee Licensing. The OSB also provides ongoing support to LITs in ensuring that they continue to meet the requirements of the regulatory framework.

Licensed Insolvency Trustee Compliance

The OSB administers and enforces the laws and requirements governing insolvencies in Canada. In its oversight capacity, it seeks to determine whether LITs are fulfilling their obligations as set out in the legislative and regulatory framework, which include effectively managing estates and estate trust funds. To detect, assess, and investigate LIT non-compliance, the OSB conducts ongoing monitoring activities, reviews stakeholders’ complaints against LITs, and reviews insolvency estate banking and management practices. Depending on the nature of the non-compliance, it regulates LITs with potential professional conduct, civil, and criminal sanctions.

Debtor Compliance

In its oversight capacity regarding debtors, the OSB seeks to determine whether they are fulfilling their obligations as set out in the legislative and regulatory framework, which include the complete disclosure of financial information, co‑operation in the insolvency process, and active participation in their financial rehabilitation or restructuring. To detect, assess, and investigate debtor non-compliance, the OSB conducts ongoing monitoring, reviews complaints against debtors, receives information through the OSB’s Debtor Compliance Referral Program (DCRP) and conducts debtor examinations. Debtor non-compliance may result in civil and/or criminal sanctions.

Creditor Compliance

The OSB seeks to determine whether creditors are fulfilling their obligations as set out in the legislative and regulatory framework, which include respecting the stay of proceedings and the discharge of debts in the insolvency process. To detect, assess, and investigate creditor non‑compliance, the OSB reviews complaints and intervenes in legal proceedings, as appropriate. Creditor non-compliance may result in civil and/or criminal sanctions.

Consumer Protection and Insolvency Information

The OSB receives and registers all insolvency filings in Canada. It maintains and provides access to a public record of BIA and CCAA filings, and publishes insolvency data and statistics. It disseminates information on insolvency so that debtors, creditors, and LITs clearly understand their rights and responsibilities and are therefore better able to voluntarily comply with their statutory obligations. The OSB also protects consumers by providing them with key information so they can make informed decisions about debt solutions.

Statutory Complaints

The OSB receives and provides responses to complaints from stakeholders on matters relating to the BIA and the CCAA. Where warranted, complaints may be further investigated by the OSB to determine if there has been non-compliance with the regulatory framework.

Internal Services

The OSB’s internal services provide support to the management and the delivery of sound and effective corporate planning, performance measurement, human resources, professional development, internal communications, as well as financial and administrative services. By using best practices in information management, information technology, and business data analytics, the OSB manages a notable amount of information resources of business value that are integral to the insolvency business processes.

Ongoing activities

In 2020–21, the OSB will continue to advance the following activities that support the organization’s strategic objectives.

Providing insolvency information to Canadians

The OSB is committed to providing Canadians with relevant, accurate, and timely insolvency information across a variety of channels, including its website, social media platforms, and its National Service Centre (NSC). The OSB’s comprehensive approach to the delivery of insolvency information maximizes consistency and optimizes client experience.

In 2020–21, the OSB will:

Service Fees Act

The replacement of the User Fees Act by the Service Fees Act resulted in annual adjustments, based on the Consumer Price Index, to the following OSB fees:

In 2020–21, the OSB will continue to provide information to LITs and external LIT software providers to support fee adjustments each year on March 31.

Internal services enhancements

The OSB’s Internal Services provide ongoing support, leadership, and strategic direction to organizational activities. In 2020–21, the OSB will use business data analytics to support compliance activities and transform some of its business applications to enable compliance modernization efforts.

The OSB will develop strategies to enhance recruitment and retention of a qualified workforce that is engaged, agile and high performing. It will also continue to foster workplace wellbeing.

Our Priorities for 2020-21

Our Priorities for 2020-21

An image of the OSB's organizational structure

The graphic shows the three main strategic objectives on top of a table with six rows and two columns. The first column lists the OSB’s six operational priorities for 2020-2021 and the second column lists the strategic objectives that correspond with each priority. The strategic objectives are identified with colorful symbols. Engagement is represented by the orange symbol, compliance is represented by a blue symbol, and organizational excellence is represented by a green symbol.


Increasing engagement with stakeholders, including meaningful consultations, will help the OSB pull the right players together in order to achieve significant results for the benefit of Canadians.


The OSB has an important compliance mandate that it must fulfill effectively. To ensure compliance from all those it regulates, the OSB will use its full range of compliance and enforcement tools in a meaningful and effective manner.

Organizational Excellence

Organizational excellence involves establishing an evidence-based approach to decision-making, as well as recruiting, training and retaining a qualified workforce that is healthy, respectful, and high performing.

1. Comprehensive Regulatory Review (New)

  • Engagement
  • Compliance
  • Organisational Excellence

2. Strengthening the OSB Compliance Framework (Continued from 2019-20)

  • Compliance
  • Organisational Excellence

3. Registrars Conference (New)

  • Engagement
  • Organisational Excellence

4. Helping Canadians: Finding the Right Debt Solution (Continued from 2019-20)

  • Engagement
  • Compliance
  • Organisational Excellence

5. Helping Canadians: Engaging Stakeholders on the Debt Advisory Marketplace (Continued from 2019-20)

  • Engagement
  • Organisational Excellence

6. Operational Training (Continued from 2019-20)

  • Compliance
  • Organisational Excellence

1. Comprehensive Regulatory Review

Building on recommendations from the 2019–20 priorities of Reducing Administrative Burden, Strengthening the OSB’s Compliance Framework, and Exploring Compliance Modernization, the OSB will undertake consultation, research, and analysis required to recommend initiatives for the regulatory modernization of the Canadian insolvency system.

Why it matters

Effective regulations promote social and economic wellbeing, protect health and safety, and foster innovation and a competitive business environment. In recent years, the Government of Canada has undertaken a number of initiatives to modernize the regulatory system and improve its performance for both Canadians and businesses. The OSB is seeking to modernize the regulatory framework that governs the Canadian insolvency system.

The plan for 2020–21

The OSB will continue this work by:

Measuring success

In 2020–21, the OSB expects to achieve the following results:

2. Strengthening the OSB’s Compliance Framework

To effectively fulfill its core mandate of protecting the integrity of the insolvency system, the OSB will make significant progress toward the implementation of a modernized Debtor Compliance (DC) program that is risk-based and nationally consistent. It will also continue to enhance its LIT Compliance Program to efficiently detect, assess, and address risks of non-compliance in the insolvency system.

Why it matters

A nationally consistent and risk-based approach to program delivery is key to the success of the OSB’s Compliance Framework (CF).

Enabling the delivery of a national DC program that is comprehensive and risk based will ensure that the OSB achieves its objective of assessing debtor compliance and responding to identified non-compliance in a manner that protects the integrity of the insolvency system. The OSB will also work to improve its use of data to support meaningful decision-making and inform the organization on the effectiveness and efficiency of compliance activities.

Since this is a core element of the CF, the OSB also needs to assess its LIT Compliance Program regularly to ensure program effectiveness and identify potential areas for improvement.

The plan for 2020–21

Building on last year’s progress to deploy a modernized DC program, the OSB will:

The OSB will continue to monitor and improve the effectiveness of its LIT Compliance Program by:

Measuring success

In 2020–21, the OSB expects to achieve the following results:

3. Registrars Conference

The OSB will convene a conference for Registrars, providing participants with an opportunity to discuss insolvency topics of national interest and share best practices.

Why it matters

Registrars in Bankruptcy are officers of provincial courts with the powers and jurisdiction as specified under section 192 of the BIA. Many important estate administration decisions in Canada’s insolvency system are implemented through Registrars. It is beneficial to the insolvency system to have Registrars exchange ideas on insolvency topics of common interest and to share best practices. A conference for Registrars will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss improvements to insolvency processes and their application of insolvency laws in courts across the country, for the benefit of all stakeholders.

The plan for 2020–21

The OSB will convene a conference for Registrars to facilitate dialogue on a variety of topics in the context of insolvency proceedings. It will consult on and explore the most workable format for such a forum (e.g. teleconference, videoconference, or in person) and will determine the best method for disseminating the results of the exchange to interested stakeholders.

Measuring success

In 2020–21, the OSB expects to achieve the following results: 

4. Helping Canadians: Finding the Right Debt Solution

The OSB will enhance its debt solutions portal launched in 2019 by developing new interactive tools to help Canadians find the right debt solution for their needs. To support this work, the OSB will also conduct research to better understand how indebted Canadians select debt solutions.

Why it matters

Many Canadian consumers are facing increasing levels of debt and a number of solutions are available to help them deal with serious debt problems. Cohesive and helpful information is widely dispersed across a variety of sources, including government websites, and may not always be easy to find.

There is an opportunity to increase awareness amongst Canadians on a range of debt solutions and help them evaluate their level of financial risk by providing reliable information through the OSB’s portal.

The plan for 2020–21

The OSB will further enhance its debt solutions portal by:

Measuring success

In 2020–21, the OSB expects to achieve the following results:

5. Helping Canadians: Engaging Stakeholders on the Debt Advisory Marketplace

The OSB will develop and implement a strategy to engage with federal and provincial regulatory organizations and other stakeholders on a co‑operative approach to provide indebted Canadians with information to make appropriate debt‑related decisions and explore potential shared compliance initiatives.

Why it matters

The Canadian insolvency system offers honest but unfortunate consumer debtors a fresh start while also securing returns for creditors. The debt advisory marketplace provides Canadians with many options that may result in debtors paying for services they do not need and/or delaying their opportunity to seek an appropriate solution for their financial challenges.

A strategy to foster relationships with key stakeholders will support the OSB’s objective to provide indebted Canadians with the right information to make efficient and appropriate decisions regarding debt relief solutions. Informed decision-making to deal with debt can reduce the negative financial effects consumers may experience and maximize returns to creditors.

The plan for 2020–21

The OSB will seek to:

Measuring success

In 2020–21, the OSB expects to achieve the following result: 

6. Operational Training

The OSB will continue to invest in the revitalization of its Operational Training
Program using a blended delivery model to ensure its employees have the necessary skills and information to effectively support its mandate.

Why it matters

The revitalization of the OSB’s Operational Training Program will ensure that its employees have the expertise needed to fulfill its mandate in a consistent and effective manner. Clear identification of training requirements will ensure the design and delivery of training is timely, engaging, and cost-effective, which will contribute to employee engagement and job satisfaction, and position the OSB as a workplace of choice.

The plan for 2020–21

The OSB will continue implementation of its renewed multi-modal learning and development model, to be carried out in phases over the coming years.

This upcoming year, the OSB will seek to:

Measuring success

In 2020-21, the OSB expects to achieve the following results:

Appendix 1 — 2020–21 Summary of Key Priorities and Planned Results

Business Priorities

Measurable Objectives

1- Comprehensive Regulatory Review (New)

• Publish an online consultation paper to invite stakeholder submissions regarding a comprehensive regulatory review;

• Collaborate with ISED’s Strategy and Innovation Policy Sector to recommend any consequential legislative changes identified through the consultation; and

• Prepare a package of recommended regulatory reforms for approval.

2- Strengthening the OSB Compliance Framework (Continued from 2019-20)

• Implement a modernized, risk-based DC program that includes AI capability after piloting an enhanced DC risk model;

• Pilot a tailored approach to LIT compliance activities; and

• Incorporate the findings of the CF review to strengthen its compliance programs.

3- Registrars Conference (New)

• Design, plan, and host a conference for Registrars; and

• Summarize and broadly share the results of the discussion with interested stakeholders.

4- Helping Canadians: Finding the Right Debt Solution (Continued from 201920)

• Conduct research relating to Canadians who are experiencing financial difficulties;

• Implement enhancements to the debt solutions portal, including the publication of a comparative table of debt solutions; and

• Assess the feasibility of an interactive debt solutions calculator and decision tree.

5- Helping Canadians: Engaging Stakeholders on the Debt Advisory Marketplace (Continued from 2019–20)

• Engage with federal and provincial regulators and other partners on the debt advisory marketplace; and

• Increase stakeholders’ awareness about information that can help debtors avoid paying for services they do not need.

6- Operational Training (Continued from 2019–20)

• Update existing training modules and deliver new ones;

• Implement a national training calendar; and

• Implement a learning catalogue and customized learning plans for operational employees according to individual training needs.

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