What Can the United States Learn from the Canadian Means Testing System?

Unlike the United States, Canada has never adopted a “fresh start” policy in the American sense with respect to individual bankrupts. Ra-ther, from 1919 onwards, Canadian bankrupts have been obliged to sur-render, for distribution to their creditors, surplus income and nonexempt property acquired by them prior to the discharge order, as well as after discharge from bankruptcy if required as part of the discharge order. Important changes were made to these provisions in 1992 and 1997.The author compares the current Canadian means testing requirements with those adopted in BAPCPA and notes that the Canadian scheme serves a very different purpose from the BAPCPA requirements. So far as the actual means tests are concerned, the author expresses the view that the Canadian test is substantially less generous than the BAPCPA test and he concludes that the United States has little to learn from Canada unless the United States is minded to adopt even more basic changes in its fresh start philosophy than those appearing in BAPCPA.

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