Ontario is Canada’s Debt Capital.
Closing on $500 Billion in provincial debt, it’s a matter of shame and fury for Ontario residents, with nearly double the debt of second place Québec and five times British Columbia’s provincial debt burden.
For perspective, Ontario nearly is not far behind California’s crippling debt of US$550 Billion, but has only one-third the population base to pay it off. Every Ontario man, woman and baby now owes nearly $32,000, after conversion roughly 50% more per capita than their California counterparts!
It’s hard to imagine how Ontario will ever recover such a massive debt. But at least for businesses operating there, help is close at hand. Collection agencies exist to help companies rein in unruly debt, so there is no reason for Ontario business owners to ever be in a situation as dire as the one facing their home province.
There are a few things you should know in advance. Collecting debt in Ontario is a little different from other provinces. Ontario’s debt legislation is similar to most (with the exception of Québec), but the vast geography, many cultures and population distribution can make debt collection challenging in Ontario.
Ontario Collection Agencies: The Landscape
The province of Ontario is home to numerous collection agencies, operating in a range of different styles and structures. The Ontario Society of Collection Agencies (currently transitioning to The Canadian Society of Collection Agencies) lists 49 member companies, each of which operates as a “professional business involved in the credit and collection industry” within Ontario. It’s a good idea to check this list when you consider working with any Ontario collection agency, because although membership is in itself is no guarantee of quality service, it can indicate an interest in contributing, working towards industry advancement, and continued learning.
Collection agencies operating in Ontario must be registered with the Government of Ontario, and are governed by the province’s Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act.
Choosing a Top-Performing Ontario Collection Agency
As a business owner or Accounts Receivable manager, it is important to be cautious in selecting an Ontario collection agency to represent your interests. Once you have submitted an account for collection, it is out of your hands, and you are dependent on the collection agency to recover the money owed to you. If they fail, enough time will have passed that the account will almost certainly become a bad debt writeoff.
Look for a top-performing Ontario collection agency that does not charge you any fees unless the debt is collected. I always recommend visiting your shortlisted prospects in person to see how they operate, and even observe the collectors in action if the agency allows. A lot can be learned by even a short tour of the premises. These are the people who will be representing your brand. Do they have a culture of respect and professionalism? You may be surprised. If you’re in the GTA, I invite you to visit our Toronto collection agency office at any time.
Also check if the Ontario collection agencies you are considering are accredited members of the local Better Business Bureau. In debt collection, it is massively challenging to sustain a high BBB rating, especially as a consumer debt collection agency like MetCredit that makes thousands of calls to often-anxious debtors every month as MetCredit does. I won’t try to conceal my pride that we’ve been able to sustain our coveted AAA rating. It takes a level of commitment most Ontario collection agencies won’t (or cannot) achieve. Again, it’s your good name and your brand that’s at stake. Don’t take unnecessary and irreversible risks.
If you expect to be submitting several accounts to your new Ontario collection agency, put it to the test. In a recent blog post, I explain how this can be done effectively.
Working with an Ontario Collection Agency
It’s generally quite easy to get started once you’ve chosen the Ontario collection agency you want to work with. When you submit your accounts for collection, be sure to include all supporting information, including copies of contracts, invoices, bills of lading, and correspondence that reinforces the debt’s viability. Usually this can all be done electronically.
Then step back and give your collection agency professionals room to do what they do best. After submitting an account, you get to let go of your debt collection stress and allow third-party psychology go to work on your behalf. If you’ve chosen a solid Ontario collection agency partner, the debt is in good hands and won’t take long to collect. Try this very good resource for additional collection agency tips on collecting debt in Ontario and the rest of Canada.
Ready to get started collecting debt in Ontario? Contact us at 1-888-797-7727, or reach out to me directly, and I’ll personally see that you’re taken care of.