What do I do about a Wage Garnishment?

Wage garnishment in Canada is a legal order from the Court which allows a creditor, who is owed money by an individual, to seize a certain percentage of that individual’s income until they are paid back in full. A creditor cannot simply start garnishing your wages; there is a process that must be followed, and it starts with a creditor first obtaining a judgment from the Court after the creditor has proven that it is owed money and has a valid claim as against the Debtor.

Wage garnishments are most common among those Debtors who do not have assets or equity that can be seized to cover the cost of their debts.

If a creditor is threatening to garnish your wages, has already gotten a judgment from the Court or has provided your employer with a writ of seizure, you may still be able to stop the garnishment from happening or continuing.

There are some options for dealing with garnishment, including:

  • Quitting your job so that you have no wages to garnish or change employers. While this is an option it is not one that is recommended. This option does not address the issue of the debt and only serves to delay dealing with your Creditors. Addressing your debt with your Creditors on a timely basis is always a better option.

  • Trying to negotiate a new payment plan with the Creditor and ask them to remove the garnishment. It is important to note that having had to go to this stage in the debt collection process, the Creditor may not be willing to make such an arrangement.

  • Looking into obtaining a personal loan so that you can pay off the Creditor who is threatening to garnish your wages. This option is not always possible if you are financially stretched to begin with.

  • Filing a consumer proposal with your Creditors or personal bankruptcy. Both of these options provide an immediate stay of proceedings which prohibits the Creditor from continuing to collect under the garnishment or to commence the garnishment process and provides you with a measure of protection from the Creditors.

  • It is important to note that a garnishment with respect to current obligations for Child Support cannot be stopped and Maintenance and Enforcement will continue to collect these amounts.

If you find yourself being threatened with a garnishment or currently have a garnishment order in place, give us a call to discuss your options for dealing with your situation. We offer a free consultation to review your situation in a non-judgmental manner.