OSB News January 2013

OSB News - January 2013

A word from the Superintendent

It is a pleasure to provide an update on the work of the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) through this latest edition of OSB News.

In addition to the information provided herein, I would like to highlight two initiatives we have undertaken this year, based on input from the trustee community.

Changes to 2013 Oral Boards of Examination

As you know, Oral Boards of Examination are convened annually across the country by the OSB as a final step in the process to obtain a trustee licence. In the context of the implementation of the new National Insolvency Exam by the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals, the OSB will be making a number of complementary changes to the oral board process this year to support consistency, transparency and rigour in the assessment of candidate competencies.

If you are involved in supporting a candidate in preparation for an Oral Board of Examination, I encourage you to review the Information on 2013 Oral Boards of Examination posted on the OSB's website.

New trustee professional conduct policy

The OSB has undertaken a review and an update of its policy and procedures for trustee professional conduct investigations and decision making, with a view to maximizing opportunities for early resolution, and facilitating transparency and consistency in the investigative and adjudicative processes. In support of these objectives, we have published an “Overview of Trustee Professional Conduct Proceedings,” which explains, in general terms, how the process works. We will also establish a directive on trustee professional conduct proceedings, which will set out the process in more detail, including the powers of the adjudicator and hearing procedures to be followed during proceedings. The draft documents have been posted for comment on the OSB's website from to .

In 2013, we look forward to continued collaboration with all members of the insolvency community on improvements to the insolvency system.

Bill James
Superintendent of Bankruptcy

Paperless recordkeeping moving ahead

The move toward a paperless insolvency system took another step forward in September when stakeholders were asked to provide their input on the Draft Trustee Electronic Recordkeeping (TERK) Directive. The draft directive sets out conditions, principles and minimum requirements for electronic recordkeeping by trustees.

The OSB's goal is to encourage and facilitate initiatives like TERK that enable a paperless insolvency system, while ensuring that such initiatives are consistent with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and other relevant statutes.

The TERK initiative started in 2008 with a pilot project conducted with the trustee firm Lemieux Nolet Inc. Information gathered during the pilot project provided the basis for research and analysis regarding the parameters of the draft directive.

Stakeholders were generally supportive of the draft and provided constructive comments that are now being reviewed. The new directive will be published in spring 2013.

Evaluation of mandatory counselling under way

The review of the mandatory counselling program for debtors continued this fall with two surveys. The first survey was conducted with a random sample of individuals who filed a bankruptcy or consumer proposal between March 2011 and February 2012. Respondents had the option of completing the survey by telephone or online. A second survey, involving trustees and qualified insolvency counsellors, was also conducted. We would like to thank participants for taking the time to respond to the surveys.

The goal of the surveys was to capture stakeholders' perceptions about the effectiveness of mandatory counselling to ensure it continues to respond to current needs. The surveys were administered by Industry Canada's Audit and Evaluation Branch (AEB) and the results will help inform the evaluation's conclusions.

A report on the evaluation and an action plan will be developed and made available on the Industry Canada and OSB websites in the summer 2013.

Time to switch to electronic submission of remittance forms

The pilot test of the new electronic process for submitting Remittance Advice forms has been completed. Trustees are encouraged to switch to electronic submission of remittance forms now. The OSB expects to complete its transition to a fully automated process for submitting remittance forms by January 2014.

The OSB is moving away from its former mail-in process in an effort to improve the accuracy and timeliness of information flowing between the OSB and trustees.

Electronic submission ensures that the data are sent directly from the trustee's practice management software to the OSB, thereby reducing the potential for data-entry errors while also lowering paper consumption and postage costs. It also enables trustees to consolidate more payments into a single remittance.

To enrol, please send an email to Colin.Frick@canada.ca.

IAIR conference 2012

The International Association of Insolvency Regulators (IAIR), an association of governmental insolvency regulators from around the world, provides members with a forum for discussing and sharing information and best practices.

The 2012 annual conference's theme, "Innovation in Insolvency Regulation," attracted presentations on a number of topics, including an evaluation of a new insolvency procedure in New Zealand, developments at Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia, and the planned reform of Scotland's bankruptcy legislation.

The conference also involved reporting on the results of studies undertaken. This year, Canada reported on the OSB-led study, Financial Education and Counselling in the Insolvency System, in which 16 countries participated. How is financial education or counselling provided in various countries? Is it provided by insolvency regulators or other governmental organizations? Is financial education required by law in the context of insolvency? These are some of the questions considered in the study, which will be released in a few months. The study will be posted on the IAIR's website.

IM/IT modernization at the OSB

From E-Filing and e-remittance to electronic recordkeeping, the OSB is constantly looking to use technology in new ways that serve trustees better and make its internal processes more effective and efficient. In that light, the OSB recently began a global review of its information management (IM) processes and information technology (IT) systems.

As with the majority of organizations today, the OSB delivers many of its services online. However, its systems need to keep up with evolving business and legislative requirements.

In addition to reviewing its systems, the OSB is also looking at how it manages the enormous amount of data it collects annually. The goal is to find better ways to use that data to improve service delivery, foster more informed decision making and improve timely access to reliable, relevant information.

In the coming months, we will be consulting with government colleagues and industry experts as we develop a vision and plan for our IM/IT modernization. We will also be seeking input from trustees who, as E-Filing users, are the creators of much of Canada's invaluable insolvency data. In the end, the more responsive and dynamic our systems, the better we will be able to support trustees and contribute to the efficient functioning of Canada's insolvency system.

Photo de Bill James, surintendant des faillites

Trustees provide ideas for finding creditors who don't claim dividends

Thanks to those trustees who provided feedback, the OSB is now analyzing potential solutions to reducing the number of unclaimed dividends. As part of the analysis, the OSB will reach out to stakeholders to determine which of the proposed solutions, including a possible amendment to the directive, would be most effective in maximizing the amount of dividends distributed to creditors. Trustees will be consulted in the coming months.

Trustees are still encouraged to make every effort to locate creditors before sending unclaimed dividends to the OSB, especially when the dividends belong to nationally known businesses that can be located more easily.

OSB website to get new look

The OSB website will soon feature an updated appearance and a navigational structure that reflect a trend toward more user-friendly design. The changes will be completed in late spring or early summer 2013.

The website will be revamped to meet the Government of Canada's new Standard on Web Accessibility and Standard on Web Usability. These changes will make the site's content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, while also making it easier for users in general to find information.

In addition to improving the efficiency of the search engine, the changes will contribute toward consistency across all governmental websites.

The Industry Canada website already features the new look. Click on the "All topics" tab to find the new Bankruptcy section on the site.

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