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Where to get free credit counselling in Canada

If you're struggling with debt, getting your finances back on track can sometimes seem impossible. The good news is that there's expert help available in the form of credit counselling.

A credit counsellor can assess your financial situation and help you put together a plan to get out of debt. Even better, several agencies across Canada offer free credit counselling.

Keep reading to find out where to get free credit counselling near you.

What is credit counselling?

Credit counselling is financial advice for people who are struggling with debt.

When you book a confidential appointment with a credit counsellor, they will review your financial circumstances including your income and existing debts. They then explain options for managing your debt and create a plan to help you become debt-free.

Credit counsellors can also offer information and advice on how to manage your money to help you avoid financial hardship in the future.

Credit counselling services in Canada

If you need to get out of debt and get your finances back on track, these credit counselling services can help.

1. Consolidated Credit Canada

Consolidated Credit Debt Relief
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$1000 – $75,000

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Consolidated Credit Canada is a non-profit credit counselling service headquartered in Toronto. Founded in 2005, its mission is to help Canadians get out of debt and stay debt-free.

Consolidated Credit Canada is an accredited member of the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services and the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services. Consolidated Credit Canada is also accredited with the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.

How it works: Book a free appointment with a counsellor to discuss your financial situation. They will help you determine whether you qualify for a debt management plan or other debt relief solution like a consumer proposal. If you enroll in a debt management plan, Consolidated Credit will contact your creditors to negotiate lower interest rates.

Serviced provinces: All

Is it completely free? Counselling is free, but fees apply if you sign up for a debt management plan.

Loan amount $1000 – $75,000
APR N/A
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Fees Costs vary
Serviced provinces Across Canada

2. Credit Counselling Canada

Credit Counselling Canada
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Headquartered in Toronto, Credit Counselling Canada is a national association of non-profit credit counselling agencies that have helped hundreds of thousands of people across the country. To join, member agencies must complete the Credit Counselling Canada Accreditation Program.

How it works: If you need help getting out of debt, visit the Credit Counselling Canada website to find a non-profit credit counsellor near you. The counsellor can then assess your financial situation and offer advice on the best solution to get your finances back on track.

Serviced provinces: All

Is it completely free? Yes

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3. Credit Counselling Society

Credit Counselling Society
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The Credit Counselling Society is a non-profit organization that has been helping Canadians take control of their debt since 1996. It offers free credit counselling, affordable debt solutions, and financial education to help you manage your money.

How it works: You can contact the Credit Counselling Society by phone, in-person at one of its branches or via live chat online. During your confidential session, the counsellor will figure out the best debt solution for your situation. They will also outline your options for getting debt-free, which can range from debt consolidation to debt settlement or submitting a consumer proposal.

Serviced provinces: BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario

Is it completely free? Counselling is free, but there are fees for debt settlement and debt management programs.

Loan amount N/A
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4. Debt.ca

Debt.ca
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N/A

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Debt.ca is a debt relief website where you can compare options for getting out of debt. Established in 2000, it is headquartered in Vancouver and offers advice tailored to your personal financial situation.

How it works: Fill out an online questionnaire with details about your debt and your overall financial situation. A consultant from Debt.ca will assess your situation and goals before providing advice on your debt relief options.

Serviced provinces: All

Is it completely free? Consultation is free, but a fee may apply depending on the debt relief option you choose.

Loan amount N/A
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Term Varies
Min. credit score 300
Fees Varies (depends on the company you're connected with)
Serviced provinces All of Canada

5. Money Mentors

Money Mentors
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Money Mentors is a non-profit credit counselling agency that has been helping Albertans get out of debt for more than 25 years. Founded in 1997 as Credit Counselling Services of Alberta, it now has 6 locations across the province. Money Mentors is a founding member of Credit Counselling Canada and has won multiple Consumer Choice Awards for Credit and Debt Counselling Services across Alberta.

How it works: You can book a free financial needs assessment with Money Mentors to get help in-person, over the phone or via video chat. You can also book a free counselling session with a certified credit counsellor who can assess your financial situation and offer unbiased advice on how to get out of debt. Your counsellor will talk you through debt consolidation options, including the Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program, to help you find one that meets your needs.

Serviced provinces: Alberta

Is it completely free? Yes

Loan amount N/A
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6. OACCS and CACCS

OACCS and CACCS
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The Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services and the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services have been helping Canadians access financial help since 1968. These associations offer certification and training programs for financial counsellors and their mission is to help individuals and families achieve optimal financial health.

How it works: Visit the financialfitness.ca website and select your province to find an accredited financial counsellor or agency near you. The counsellor you choose will provide confidential counselling services and education to help you rebuild financially.

Serviced provinces: All

Is it completely free? Yes

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7. 211.ca

211.ca
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211 is a nationwide information source for Canadians who need to access government and community-based health and social services. This free service is available 24 hours a day in over 150 languages. It can be accessed online or via phone, chat and text.

How it works: Visit the 211.ca website and select your province or territory. You can then search for credit counselling services in your area and find the relevant contact details for each agency.

Serviced provinces: All

Is it completely free? Yes

Loan amount N/A
APR N/A
Term N/A

What to expect and bring to a credit counselling meeting

You might feel nervous or embarrassed about meeting with a credit counsellor, but there is nothing to worry about or be ashamed of. Credit counsellors are trained professionals who work ever day with Canadians struggling with debt. Counselling sessions are confidential, and you’ll be treated with respect.

The first thing the counsellor will do is ask questions about your financial situation, such as how much debt you have, your income and your expenses. With this in mind, prepare any documents ahead of time that may help the counsellor get a clearer picture of your financial circumstances. This may include:

  • Bank statements
  • Pay stubs
  • Credit card statements
  • Bills
  • Requests for payment
  • Other letters or legal documents from creditors

After reviewing your finances, your counsellor will explain different options for paying off debt as well as the pros and cons of each. They can also put together a plan to help you get out of debt, negotiate with creditors on your behalf, and help you create a budget so you can better manage your money in the future.

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