How Long Can Debt Collectors Try to Collect in Canada? – Things You Need to Know

How Long Can Debt Collectors Try to Collect in Canada? - Things You Need to Know


Debt can be a heavy burden to bear, and it’s not uncommon for Canadians to find themselves struggling to keep up with payments. Unfortunately, once you fall behind on your debts, collection agencies may start hounding you relentlessly. But did you know that there are limits as to how long debt collectors can try to collect in Canada? That’s right! Understanding the statute of limitations is crucial when dealing with creditors. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how long debt collectors can try to collect in Canada and what steps you can take if you’re being harassed by collection agencies. So sit back and read on!

Overview of Debt Collection Laws in Canada

How Long Can Debt Collectors Try to Collect in Canada? - Things You Need to Know

Debt collection laws in Canada are governed by the provinces and territories, which means that there is no federal law that regulates debt collection practices across the country. However, all provinces and territories have legislation in place to protect consumers from predatory debt-collection tactics.

Under these laws, debt collectors are required to follow certain guidelines when attempting to collect a debt. For example, they must identify themselves as a debt collector when contacting you for the first time and cannot use abusive language or threaten legal action if they do not have the authority to do so.

Additionally, there are strict regulations around how often a debt collector can contact you and what times of day they can call. In most cases, they cannot contact you on holidays or outside of reasonable hours (usually between 7 am-9 pm).

It’s important to note that while these laws provide some protection against harassment and abusive behaviour from debt collectors, they don’t necessarily prevent creditors from taking legal action against you if you fail to pay your debts. As such, it’s always best to seek financial advice if struggling with unmanageable debts.

Statute of Limitations for Debt Collection in Canada

The Statute of Limitations for debt collection in Canada refers to the time limit within which a creditor or debt collector can sue someone over an unpaid debt. It varies depending on the province or territory, and the type of debt involved.

In most provinces and territories, the limitation period is two to six years from the date when you last made a payment, acknowledged or promised to pay, or defaulted on your obligation. However, certain types of debts such as student loans and taxes may have longer limitation periods.

It’s important to note that if a creditor obtains a judgment against you within this timeframe, they can continue to enforce it indefinitely until paid off in full. But if they fail to obtain a judgment before the statute of limitations expires, they lose their legal right to collect through court action.

Moreover, making partial payments or acknowledging your debt during this time could reset the clock on your statute of limitations. Therefore you must understand how long creditors can try to collect in Canada and avoid resetting any clocks inadvertently.

How Long Can Debt Collectors Try to Collect in Canada?

How Long Can Debt Collectors Try to Collect in Canada

In Canada, debt collection laws are governed by the provinces and territories. Each province or territory has its own limitations period for debt collection. This means that the length of time that a creditor or collector can legally try to collect a debt varies depending on where you live.

Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for most debts in Canada is two to six years. After this time limit expires, creditors and collectors may no longer be able to sue you for payment.

However, it’s important to note that there are exceptions to this general rule. For example, some types of debts such as government fines or taxes have longer limitation periods and can follow you indefinitely until paid off.

To determine when the limitation period started for your particular debt, it’s best to consult with a legal professional who specializes in consumer law. They can help you understand your rights and obligations under the applicable laws in your province or territory.

It’s worth noting that if a collector tries to collect on an expired debt outside of their legal limitations period, they could be violating Canadian consumer protection laws. If you believe this has occurred with one of your accounts, contact a lawyer immediately.

Understanding how long creditors have before they can no longer pursue payment on an overdue account is crucial knowledge for anyone dealing with financial difficulties in Canada today.

How to Determine When the Limitation Period Started for Your Debt?

When it comes to debt collection in Canada, the limitation period starts when the debtor defaults on their payments. This means that if you miss a payment or fail to pay off your debts entirely, the clock begins ticking for how long a creditor can pursue legal action against you.

  • It’s important to note that each province and territory in Canada has its statute of limitations for debt collection. In most cases, this time limit ranges from two to six years.
  • To determine when the limitation period started for your specific debt, you’ll need to first review your credit report and any documentation related to the debt. Look for the date of last activity or delinquency as this is typically used as a starting point for calculating the limitation period.
  • If you’re unsure about when your limitation period started or have questions about any aspect of debt collection laws in Canada, consider seeking advice from a licensed professional such as a lawyer or financial advisor.
  • By understanding how to calculate when the limitation period began for your debts, you can ensure that creditors are not pursuing legal action beyond what is legally allowed under Canadian law.

Consequences for Debt Collectors Who Violate the Statute of Limitations

Consequences for Debt Collectors Who Violate the Statute of Limitations

Debt collectors have a limited time frame in which they can try to collect debts from consumers. This is known as the statute of limitations, and it varies based on the type of debt and the province or territory where you live. If a debt collector tries to collect a debt that is past its limitation period, there can be consequences.

  • Firstly, if you are aware that your debt is beyond the statute of limitations and a debt collector continues to harass you for payment, you have legal options available. You can file a complaint with your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office, or retain an attorney who specializes in this area of law.
  • Secondly, if a creditor takes legal action against you after the limitation period has expired and obtains a judgment against you from the court without disclosing their knowledge about the expiry date then they may be penalized by paying damages for causing mental harassment.
  • Thirdly, violating the statute of limitations also violates Canadian collection laws and regulations. Debt collectors who violate these laws risk having their license revoked or being fined by regulatory bodies such as Consumer Affairs Canada.
  • Finally, both consumers and creditors alike need to understand when debts expire under Canadian law. Consumers should know their rights and seek help if necessary while creditors need to ensure they are following collection laws carefully so as not to face penalties themselves!

What Can Debt Collectors Do After the Limitation Period?

After the limitation period for debt collection has passed, it does not necessarily mean that you are off the hook. Debt collectors can still try to collect on your debt even after the statute of limitations has expired. However, their options are limited.

  • Debt collectors may continue to contact you and ask you to pay your debt. They may also threaten legal action or report your unpaid debts to credit bureaus, which could negatively impact your credit score.
  • It is important to know that while they can still attempt to collect on the debt, they cannot take legal action against you once the limitation period has expired. This means that they cannot sue you in court or take any other legal measures to force payment.
  • If a collector attempts to take legal action against you after the statute of limitations has run out, this is a violation of consumer protection laws and should be reported immediately.
  • While there are limited actions available for debt collectors after the limitation period expires, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of their tactics to protect yourself from any potential violations or negative impacts on your credit score.

How to Stop Debt Collectors and Collection Agencies?

Dealing with debt collectors and collection agencies can be a daunting experience. However, it’s important to remember that you have rights under Canadian law. One of the first steps you can take is to request that they stop contacting you.

  • Under the federal government’s Collection Agencies Act, debt collectors are required to comply with your request for them to cease contact. This means they cannot phone or email you about the debt anymore but must communicate only by mail.
  • You may also choose to hire a lawyer who specializes in debt collection cases. A good lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected, and they can help negotiate on your behalf.
  • Another option available is credit counselling services or consumer proposal administrators. They can work with you and your creditors to come up with a payment plan that works for everyone involved.
  • It’s essential always to keep accurate records of all communication between yourself and the collector or agency. You should note details such as dates, times, names of people spoken to and what was discussed during each conversation.

By following these steps, you can protect yourself from harassing calls from collectors while working towards resolving your debts in an organized manner without violating any laws set forth by Canada’s Collection Agencies Act

How Long Does a Collection Impact Your Credit Report?

how long can debt collectors try to collect in canada

When you fail to make payments on a debt, it can negatively impact your credit report. This is because the creditor might report your delinquent account to the credit bureaus. Once this happens, the negative information will stay on your credit report for a certain amount of time.

  • In Canada, most derogatory marks, including collections accounts, remain on your credit report for up to six years from the date of the last activity. The last activity refers to either when you made a payment or acknowledged that you owe the debt.
  • It’s important to note that even after paying off an overdue account, it may take some time before it’s updated on your credit report. In some cases, it could take up to 30 days or longer for creditors and collection agencies to update their records and notify the credit reporting bureaus.
  • Having a collection account on your credit report can make it harder for you to get approved for loans or lines of credit in the future. Lenders are less likely to extend financing if they see evidence of missed payments and defaults in your history.
  • To avoid having collections impacting your score, always strive towards timely payments and good financial habits as this not only prevents any further damage but helps rebuild positive finance habits moving forward.


In summary, debt collection in Canada is governed by laws that aim to protect both the debtor and the creditor. The statute of limitations sets a time limit for debt collectors to collect outstanding debts, after which they are no longer legally allowed to pursue payment. It’s essential to understand your rights as a debtor and take steps toward resolving any outstanding debts before they impact your credit score.

Remember that debt collectors have limits on what actions they can take when collecting a debt, and it’s crucial to know how to stop them if you feel like they’re violating your rights. Seeking legal advice or engaging with a licensed debt relief agency can also help guide you through the process of dealing with collections agencies.

Managing personal finances responsibly will prevent financial difficulties down the road, including those related to unpaid debts. By being proactive about managing money and seeking assistance when needed, Canadians can avoid falling into unmanageable levels of consumer debt while keeping their credit scores healthy over time.

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