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DEBTORS' ASSISTANCE ACT

DEBTORS ASSISTANCE ACT

Chapter D‑6

Table of Contents

                1      Definitions

                2      Debtors Assistance Board

             2.1      Composition of Board

             2.2      Additional members

             2.3      Conditions of membership

             2.4      Term of office

             2.5      Limit on terms

             2.6      Vacancies

             2.7      Prohibitions

             2.8      Fidelity bond

                3      Powers of members of Board

                4      Powers, duties and functions of Board

                6      Support, maintenance and alimony

                7      Bylaws

                8      Delegation

                9      Immunities

              10      Annual report

              11      Audit of Board accounts

              12      Confidentiality of information

              13      Reviews

              14      Powers of the Minister

              15      Transitional


HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, enacts as follows:

Definitions

1   In this Act,

                               (a)    “Board” means the Debtors’ Assistance Board;

                              (b)    “debt” includes

                                        (i)    secured and unsecured debts and money owing under a guarantee, and

                                      (ii)    money owing under or secured by mortgage, hypothec, pledge, charge, lien or privilege on or against the property of the debtor or any part of it;

                               (c)    “debtor” means a person who is unable to pay a debt as it becomes due, and includes the legal representative of a deceased debtor;

                              (d)    “Minister” means the Minister determined under section 16 of the Government Organization Act as the Minister responsible for this Act.

RSA 2000 cD‑6 s1;RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s2

Debtors Assistance Board

2(1)  The Debtors’ Assistance Board is hereby established as a corporation.

(2)  In order to carry out its purposes, the Board has the capacity and, subject to this Act, the rights, powers and privileges of a natural person.

(3)  The Board is not an agent of the Crown.

RSA 2000 cD‑6 s2;RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3

Composition of Board

2.1(1)  The Board shall initially consist of 11 members, appointed as follows:

                               (a)    the Minister shall appoint one member, who must not be a member of the credit‑granting industry;

                              (b)    the Alberta Home Economics Association shall appoint one member;

                               (c)    the Alberta Insolvency Practitioners Association shall appoint one member;

                              (d)    the Association of Canadian Financial Corporations shall appoint one member;

                               (e)    the Canadian Bankers Association shall appoint 2 members;

                               (f)    the members appointed under clauses (a) to (e) shall jointly appoint 5 members as follows:

                                        (i)    from nominations from major retailers represented in Alberta, one member;

                                      (ii)    from nominations from post‑secondary educational institutions based in Alberta, one member;

                                     (iii)    from nominations from debtors who have successfully completed the debt repayment program, one member;

                                     (iv)    from nominations from financial institutions incorporated under the laws of Alberta, one member;

                                       (v)    from nominations from the general public, one member.

(2)  If an association fails to appoint a member under subsection (1) within the time prescribed in the bylaws, the other members of the Board may appoint the member and that member is considered to have been appointed by the association.

(3)  If the members appointed under subsection (1)(a) to (e) fail to appoint a member under subsection (1)(f) within the time prescribed in the bylaws, the Minister may appoint the member and that member is considered to have been appointed by the members appointed under subsection (1)(a) to (e).

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3

Additional members

2.2   Members of the Board may appoint additional members if 80% of the existing members agree as to the person to be appointed.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3

Condition of membership

2.3   The majority of Board members must be residents of Alberta.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3

Term of office

2.4(1)  The terms of office of the members initially appointed under section 2.1 are as follows:

                               (a)    in the case of the members referred to in section 2.1(1)(a), (b), (c) and (f)(ii) and the first member appointed under section 2.1(1)(e), 3 years;

                              (b)    in the case of other members, 2 years.

(2)  The term of office of a member initially appointed under section 2.2 is 3 years.

(3)  Except in the case of a vacancy, all appointments to replace members initially appointed and to replace members subsequently appointed are for a term of 3 years.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3

Limit on terms

2.5(1)  A member of the Board is eligible for reappointment for a 2nd term of office, but not for a further term of office until the expiration of a period of 3 years following the end of the 2nd term.

(2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), a member of the Board may, with the Minister’s approval, be appointed for a further term where the 3‑year period referred to in subsection (1) has not expired.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3

Vacancies

2.6(1)  A vacancy in the membership of the Board must be filled by an appointment for the unexpired portion of the term of office, made in the same manner as the member who is being replaced was appointed.

(2)  A vacancy in the membership of the Board does not invalidate the constitution of the Board or impair the right of members of the Board to act if the number of remaining members constitutes a quorum.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3

Prohibitions

2.7(1)  No person, while a member of the Board, shall do any of the following:

                               (a)    engage directly or indirectly in any business transaction or private arrangement for a pecuniary benefit, knowledge of which is gained from or based on the person’s being a member of the Board, or from confidential or non‑public information gained by reason of the member’s position or authority with the Board;

                              (b)    act in a manner, whether or not prohibited by this Act, the regulations or the bylaws, that may result in, or create the appearance of,

                                        (i)    using the member’s position for private gain,

                                      (ii)    giving preferential treatment to any person,

                                     (iii)    impeding the Board from carrying out its purposes,

                                     (iv)    foregoing independence or impartiality, or

                                       (v)    adversely affecting the integrity of the Board;

                               (c)    represent the Board, explicitly or impliedly, or act in an official capacity on any matter in which the member has a real or potential personal interest, direct or indirect, in a manner that is incompatible with the member’s duties under this Act or the bylaws;

                              (d)    unless approved by the Board, accept a fee or benefit from another person on account of an occasion at which the member appears or provides a speech, lecture or publication, if the occasion is part of the official duties of the member for which compensation is being paid by the Board;

                               (e)    contravene this Act, the regulations or the bylaws.

(2)  Subject to subsection (3), a member who contravenes subsection (1) shall resign immediately on becoming aware of the contravention.

(3)  Instead of accepting a resignation under subsection (2), the Board may suspend the member from all or any Board activities for any period of time and subject to any terms and conditions that the Board considers appropriate.

(4)  If a member contravenes subsection (2) or any terms and conditions under subsection (3), the Board may apply to a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench for

                               (a)    an order determining whether the member was never qualified to be or has ceased to be qualified to remain a member under this section, or

                              (b)    an order declaring the member to be disqualified from membership on the Board.

(5)  An application under subsection (4) may be made within 6 years of the date on which the contravention is alleged to have occurred, but not after that period.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3;2009 c53 s46

Fidelity bond

2.8   The Board must obtain a fidelity bond

                               (a)    in the amount required under the regulations, and

                              (b)    covering the persons specified under the regulations.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s3

Powers of members of Board

3(1)  For the purpose of performing any duty or function or exercising any power that is conferred or imposed on the Board by this Act, any member of the Board may act for and on behalf of the Board in accordance with a written delegation by the Board under section 8, and any act or thing so done is deemed to have been done by the Board.

(2)  The Board may authorize a person who is not a member of the Board to do any act or thing required or permitted to be done by the Board.

(3)  The Board may pay remuneration and expenses, in accordance with the regulations, to its members, officers, employees and delegates.

RSA 2000 cD‑6 s3;RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s4

Powers, duties and functions of Board

4   The Board has the following powers, duties and functions:

                               (a)    to advise and assist debtors in adjusting their debts and in working out satisfactory arrangements for the settlement of their debts with their creditors;

                              (b)    to arrange meetings between debtors and their creditors in an endeavour to bring about amicable arrangements for the payment by the debtor of the debtor’s indebtedness to the debtor’s creditors;

                               (c)    to advise and assist debtors in the preparation of any plan or scheme for settlement of their debts before any Canadian board or court set up for the settlement of debts;

                              (d)    to aid debtors in obtaining postponements, adjustments or extensions of time for the payment of their debts in proper cases;

                               (e)    to assist the parties to a proceeding in which support, maintenance or alimony is an issue in settling the amount of support, maintenance or alimony to be paid;

                               (f)    to provide  a court, on its request, with a report as to the finances of the parties to a proceeding in which support, maintenance or alimony is an issue;

                               (g)    to act as an intermediary in negotiations between debtors and creditors in the adjustment and settlement of debts;

                              (h)    generally to provide to all Albertans counselling and education relating to family and personal money management including debt, credit and budgeting.

RSA 2000 cD‑6 s4;RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s5;
2003 cF‑4.5 s116

5   Repealed RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s6.

Support, maintenance and alimony

6(1)  If an application for an order, the variation of an order or the enforcement of an order directing the payment of support, maintenance or alimony is made under any other Act, the court to which the application is made may request the Board to inquire into the finances of the parties to the application and report its findings to the court.

(2)  This Act applies to an inquiry made under subsection (1) as if the parties to the application were debtors.

(3)  A report requested under subsection (1) may be received by the court requesting it as proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, of the facts stated in it, without proof of the authority or signature of the person signing it.

RSA 2000 cD‑6 s6;2003 cF‑4.5 s116

Bylaws

7(1)  The Board may make bylaws

                               (a)    respecting the procedure for appointing members of the Board other than the member appointed by the Minister;

                              (b)    prescribing time periods for the purposes of section 2.1(2) and (3);

                               (c)    respecting the appointment and election of officers of the Board;

                              (d)    respecting the duties of members and officers of the Board;

                               (e)    respecting the services and other things to be provided by or on behalf of the Board;

                               (f)    respecting the conduct of the business and affairs of the Board;

                               (g)    respecting the receipt, management and investment of contributions, donations, bequests and any other revenue received by the Board other than payments made to the Board by debtors for the purpose of repaying debts;

                              (h)    designating the location in Alberta of the offices of the Board.

(2)  The Regulations Act does not apply to bylaws made under this section.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7

Delegation

8(1)  The Board may delegate in writing to any person any or all of its powers, duties or responsibilities under this Act, except the power to make bylaws.

(2)  The Board may, when delegating a matter, authorize the further delegation of the matter.

(3)  A delegation may be made subject to any terms and conditions the Board considers appropriate.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7

Immunities

9   No action or other proceeding for damages may be commenced against the Board or a member, officer, employee or delegate of the Board

                               (a)    for any act done in good faith in the performance or intended performance of any duty or in the exercise or intended exercise of any power under this Act, the regulations or the bylaws, or

                              (b)    for any neglect or default in the performance or exercise in good faith of the duty or power.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7

Annual report

10(1)  Not later than 120 days after the last day of the Board’s fiscal year, the Board shall prepare an annual report for the previous fiscal year, which must contain

                               (a)    an audited financial statement summarizing the income and expenditures of the Board,

                              (b)    a list of current members and officers of the Board,

                               (c)    any other information that the Board determines relevant or necessary,

                              (d)    the information referred to in section 9(2) of the Fiscal Planning and Transparency Act, if required by the Minister, and

                               (e)    any other information required under the regulations.

(2)  The Minister may require the Board to disclose in the annual report the amount of remuneration and expenses paid in the fiscal year to the members, officers, employees or delegates of the Board specified in the regulations.

(3)  The Board must send a copy of the annual report to the Minister.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7;2013 cF‑14.5 s22;2015 cF‑14.7 s15

Audit of Board accounts

11   The accounts of the Board must be audited annually by a professional accounting firm registered under the Chartered Professional Accountants Act and authorized to perform an audit engagement.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7;RSA 2000 cR‑12 s147;
2014 cC‑10.2 s173

Confidentiality of information

12   Part 2 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act applies to the Board as if it were a public body.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7

Reviews

13(1)  The Minister may, whenever the Minister considers it necessary, review or appoint a person to review

                               (a)    the conduct of the Board, or

                              (b)    any matter relating to the Board.

(2)  The Minister or other person conducting a review

                               (a)    may require the attendance of any member, officer or employee of the Board or of any other person whose presence is considered necessary during the course of the review, and

                              (b)    has the same powers, privileges and immunities as a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Act.

(3)  When required to do so by the Minister or other person conducting a review, a person referred to in subsection (2)(a) shall produce for review all books and records that are in that person’s control that are relevant to the matter being reviewed.

(4)  A person, other than the Minister, who conducts a review shall forthwith on the conclusion of the review report in writing to the Minister.

(5)  On conducting a review or receiving a report under subsection (4), the Minister may by order direct that the Board, or any member, officer or employee of the Board, take any action that the Minister considers appropriate in the circumstances.

(6)  If an order under subsection (5) is not carried out to the satisfaction of the Minister, the Minister may by order do either or both of the following:

                               (a)    appoint a comptroller to oversee the management of the affairs of the Board, and attach terms and conditions to the continued operation of the Board;

                              (b)    dismiss all or any of the members of the Board or the member, officer or employee who fails to carry out the order.

(7)  If the Minister dismisses the Board, the Minister may in the same or a subsequent order do either or both of the following:

                               (a)    appoint an official administrator to manage the affairs of the Board until a new Board is appointed;

                              (b)    direct that a new Board be appointed under this Act.

(8)  An order under subsection (7)(a) may provide for the payment of remuneration and expenses to the official administrator and may provide that the remuneration and expenses are the responsibility of the Board.

(9)  An official administrator has all the powers and is subject to all the obligations of the Board under this Act.

(10)  An order or direction under subsection (5), (6) or (7) takes effect on the service of a copy of it on the person to whom it is directed.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7

Powers of the Minister

14(1)  The Minister may make regulations

                               (a)    respecting fidelity bonds for the purposes of section 2.8(a) and (b);

                              (b)    respecting remuneration and expenses payable by the Board under section 3(3);

                               (c)    respecting fees for services performed by the Board or a delegate of the Board or in respect of any act or thing done under this Act;

                              (d)    respecting the contents of annual reports required under section 10(1)(e);

                               (e)    specifying members, officers, employees and delegates of the Board for the purposes of section 10(2);

                               (f)    respecting the manner in which the Board must handle payments made to the Board by a debtor as part of a repayment plan;

                               (g)    respecting any other matter the Minister considers necessary to carry out this Act.

(2)  The Minister may establish any forms required under this Act.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7

Transitional

15   Notwithstanding section 7, the Minister shall make the initial bylaws under that section, and those bylaws are considered to have been made by the Board, and after they are made may be amended or repealed only by the Board.

RSA 2000 c10(Supp) s7