What is with Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. and its charitable status?

 

 

Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. is a large credit counselling agency operating in the four Atlantic provinces.  According to its website, www.solveyourdebts.com, the organization has five offices in Nova Scotia, three offices in New Brunswick, and one office in each of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

 

Agency collects large sums of monies for Canadian chartered banks

Industry sources confirm that Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. facilitates the repayment of a substantial amount of debt owing to creditors–including Canada’s chartered banks and major credit card companies.  On the organization’s webpage titled Organization Information the agency describes itself as a “registered non-profit organization”. Furthermore, at the bottom of a substantial percentage of the webpages on this organanization’s website appears the logo for Credit Counselling Canada, an industry association whose membership accreditation is restricted to “registered charitable organizations”. 

The logo for an industry association, Credit Counselling Canada, appears at the bottom of many of the webpages on this agency's webiste.

The logo for an industry association, Credit Counselling Canada, appears at the bottom of many of the webpages on this agency’s webiste.

 

 

Canada Revenue Agency annulled the agency’s charitable status in 2013

There is only one problem!

According to the CRA website, the charitable status of Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. was annulled on July 12, 2013more than eighteen months ago!

 

According to CRA's website, Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. had its charitable status annulled on July 12, 2013.

According to CRA’s website, Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. had its charitable status annulled on July 12, 2013.

 

The term “annulled” is definded on the CRA website as follows:

When a charity’s .. registration is annulled, it is deemed to have never been registered.

 Why did CRA annull the charitable status of Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc.?

Like me, most people reading this blog might be wondering why the Canada Revnue Agency annulled the charitable status of Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc., one of the largest credit counselling agencies in Canada.  If anyone wants to learn the reason for the annullment all they have to do is contact CRA and request the information which might take up to 30 days to obtain.

 

Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc.’s use of Credit Counselling Canada’s logo

Given the information contained on the website for Credit Counselling Canada, www.creditcounsellingcanada.ca–that membership accreditation is limited to “registered charitable organizations”–it would appear to be inappropriate for Credit Counselling Canada to permit the agency to use the Credit Counselling logo on its website.

 

Credit Counselling Canada's website states its membership is limited to "registered charitable institutions".

Credit Counselling Canada’s website states its membership is limited to “registered charitable organizations”..

 

Not only does Credit Counselling Canada’s logo appear at the bottom of numerous webpages on the website for Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. but also the agency’s website contains a statement that it is an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada.

 

The agency's website states that it is an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada.

The agency’s website states that it is an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada.

 

It would be reasonable for a member of the public, reading the website for both Credit Counselling Canada and Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc, to come to the conclusion that Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. is a “registered charitable organization”, something which does not appear to be true.  This is an issue which ought to be brought to the attention of the Compliance Division at the Charities Directorate at the Canada Revenue Agency.

 

Appropriateness of content appearing on Credit Counselling Canada’s website

Given the fact that Credit Counselling Canada’s website states that membership accreditation is limited to “registered charitable organizations” is it appropriate for its website to include any information whatsoever regarding Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc?  In fact,  website visitors to Credit Counselling Canada’s website can find all of Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc.’s locations on its website.

An individual visiting Credit Counselling Canada’s website would conclude that Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. is a “registered charitable organization”.  By including content regarding Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. on its website is Credit Counselling Canada misleading the public about the charitable status of the agency?  At some future date the Compliance Division at the Charities Directorate at the Canada Revenue Agency might be asked about the appropriateness of content on Credit Counselling Canada’s website with respect to this agency.

 

Appropriateness of agency’s accreditation with Credit Counselling Canada

On its website Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. states that it is an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada.  One can find detailed contact information for Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc.’s offices on Credit Counselling Canada’s website which I would assume means that the agency is an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada.

Given the fact that Credit Counselling Canada’s website states that membership accreditation is restricted to “registered charibable organizations”, is it appropropriate for this agency to be an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada?  It would appear that Atlantic Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. is not a “registered charitable organization”.  Therefore, some might believe that by providing this agency with membership accreditation that Credit Counselling Canada is misleading the public about the agency’s charitable status.

 

Should creditors be participating in Debt Management Plans with a credit counselling agency that misrepresents its charitable status to the public?

Some industry obervers might take the position that Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc., directly or indirectly, with the assistance of Credit Counselling Canada, is misleading the public as to is charitable status. This then raises the issue of whether or not credtiors should decline to participate in Debt Managment Plans arranged through Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc.

 

Time for representatives from the agency and Credit Counselling Canada to make a public statement

It is time for senior management at both Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. and Credit Counselling Canada to make a public statement and make themselves available to the media to answer important questions surrounding the facts and issues arising from this post.  They owe it to every person who not only is, but also anyone who might at a future date be, enrolled in a Debt Management Plan with Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc.

 

If you have any information that would shed light on this unfolding story then I would invite you to contact Mark Silverthorn toll free at 1 (866) 996-9941  or  (519) 827-5513 or via e-mail, at mark@comprehensivedebtsolutions.ca.

Any consumers who are currently enrolled in a Debt Managment Plan with Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. are invited to contact Mark Silverthorn.

 

People should feel comfortable calling Mark Silverthorn and speaking with him as an anonymous source.

People should feel comfortable calling Mark Silverthorn and speaking with him as an anonymous source.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *