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Expected to Work/Barriers to Full Employment Policy & Procedures

Published Date: July 10, 2007
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18 Overpayment, Debt and Recovery

Write Off and Suspension of Debts


When all efforts at collection on closed files are ineffective, the debt is considered not collectible and may be approved for write-off. The Deputy Minister or designate may approve the write-off of all or part of the amount owing. This authority has been delegated to:

  • The Director of Financial Operations for individual debts of $5,000 or less.
  • Executive Director of Finance for individual debts exceeding $5,000.

The identification of debts for permanent write-off is the responsibility of Financial Operations.

Debt write-offs are divided into two classes – permanent write-offs and suspensions.

Permanent Write-Offs
The following are the criteria for a permanent write-off:

  • Balance is $500 or less with no payment activity for more than one year.
  • Balance is greater than $500 with no payment activity for more than two years.
  • Ministerial request to cease collection activity on compassionate grounds.
  • Repayment of debt would cause the debtor undue hardship.

When approval is given for a permanent write-off the Collections Unit removes the debt from the Recoveries System. The debt is no longer part of the client’s outstanding debt.

Debts are considered for suspension on when:

  • The debt does not meet any of the criteria for permanent write-off.
  • Collection is deferred due to temporary financial hardship.

A person whose debt is suspended is not advised their debt is cancelled as the debt remains as part of the debtor’s outstanding balance and may be collected in the future. A suspended debt is not actively pursued for collection; however, they are subject to collection if the client’s file is reopened (auto-deduction) or their financial circumstances change.