Questions People Often Ask
Learn how we are funded, the most common reasons people need our help, and options for dealing with debt

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions that people often ask. If you have a question, are confused about something, or would like a bit more information, feel free to call us at 1-855-232-4888, chat with us online, or send us an email. We'd be happy to answer any question you might have - even if you're asking for someone else.

If you don’t see your question listed here, please call us at 1-888-527-8999, or send us an email, and we’ll be happy to answer your question.

If you’re non-profit, where does your funding come from?

Over 70% of our funding comes from donations from creditors and the credit granting community.


Why would creditors want to give you money?

Creditors help fund our services and programs because:

  • they value the impartial information, advice and counselling consumers receive free of charge
  • they recognize and benefit from the success of our services and programs
  • they recognize that their customers, who find themselves in financial difficulty, may be more comfortable receiving advice from an unbiased credit counselling service


What are the requirements to enter a debt repayment program?

The first step is an appointment with a Counsellor to review your specific financial situation. The Counsellor will determine if you have a reasonable budget with realistic expenditures. If there are surplus funds available to repay the debt, a debt repayment program may be an option for you.


How long is a debt repayment program?

A debt repayment program is typically 3-4 years. However, it can be longer or shorter depending on your circumstances. The Counsellor will determine your time frame during your appointment.


What is a credit report?

A credit report is a summary of how you pay your financial obligations. It begins when you first apply to borrow money. It allows potential lenders to evaluate risk so that, based on your past performance, they can decide if you are likely to repay the borrowed funds or not.


Who are the main credit bureau companies in Canada?

There are 2 main credit bureau companies in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion, and each will send you a copy of your own report once a year for free if you request it by mail or phone.


Consumer Relations: 1.877.323.2598
Touch tone request: 1.800.465.7166
Consumer Relations: 1.866.525.0262
Touch tone request: 1.800.663.9980


What is credit?

Credit is the purchase of goods and services in the present, with a promise to pay in the future, with money we’re still planning to earn.


What are the most common forms of credit?

The list includes: credit cards, student loans, personal loans, utilities (ie: gas, hydro, phones), overdrafts, cell phones on contract, lines of credit, mortgages and payroll loans.


What are the main reasons for credit problems?

These are the main reasons we see why someone experiences financial difficulty:

  1. Excessive use of credit / Using credit for living expenses
  2. Unemployment / Underemployment
  3. No budget / Lack of financial education
  4. Injury / Illness
  5. Divorce / Separation
  6. High student loan debt / Education expenses
  7. High housing costs

What are the warning signs?

You may want to consider giving us a call if you:

  • have no spending plan or budget in place
  • use credit to pay for most purchases
  • use credit to pay for credit
  • spend more than your income
  • don’t pay your bills on time
  • have little or no savings
  • receive letters or phone calls from collectors
  • withhold spending information from your partner

The Credit Counselling Society is happy to help. Please contact us if you have any questions.