Are you struggling to stay on top of your farm debts? Has a creditor threatened to take your assets by issuing a Notice of Intent to Realize on Security? If so, you may be able to get help through the Farm Debt Mediation Act.
To qualify, you need to farm professionally. You must also be behind on your debt repayments, or your assets must be worth less than your total debts. If you meet those criteria, you can apply to the Farm Debt Mediation Program or contact the office over the phone for more information. There are two sections to this program.
If you qualify for Section 5-(1)-(a), you get a financial review of your situation, which involves a consultant coming to your farm, assessing your debt levels, and looking over your finances. Then, you receive help mediating payment agreements with your creditors along with a legal stay. The stay prevents creditors from taking collection actions such as seizing your assets, but it also prevents you from taking out more loans or selling your assets without permission. Usually, the stay is in place for 30 days but can be extended for up to 120 days.
Under Section 5-(1)-(b), you also receive a financial review and help with mediation, but there is no stay. Because of that, people usually only apply to this section if they have not received a Notice of Intent to Realize on Security. Instead, they use this program to work out a deal with their creditors before the creditors attempt to take their assets.
Being a farmer has always involved a lot of hard work, but this role is harder than it’s ever been before. If you’re struggling with debt, you don’t have to get through it on your own. The Farm Debt Mediation Program can help. According to the Government of Canada, the majority of participants have reached agreements through this program, and it’s completely confidential so there’s no risk in applying.