Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Financial Education and Counselling Services (CA-FEC) 8: Administration of the Debt Management Plan

The organization administers the debt management plan in a manner that ensures proper use of client funds, timely payments to creditors, and client awareness of payments and obligations.
NA The organization does not provide debt management plans.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

Clients who receive Financial Education and Counselling services learn to solve financial problems and gain personal financial management skills.
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for DMP administration that include:
    1. proposal letters;
    2. development of client status reports;
    3. discontinuation of DMPs
  • Client status reports
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review client files

CA-FEC 8.01

In administering the DMP, the organization:
  1. promptly disburses client funds following a payment schedule in the client’s best interests and within no more than 30 business days of receipt or as required by provincial law;
  2. promptly disburses money in emergency situations;
  3. offers a variety of client deposit options including electronic methods;
  4. assumes responsibility for remediating errors caused by its actions; and
  5. ensures the payment schedule does not cause a negative amortisation situation.

CA-FEC 8.02

Debt management proposals are sent to creditors:
  1. within a timeframe that meets the client’s best interests;
  2. according to the creditor policy;
  3. according to applicable federal and provincial law; and/or
  4. within five business days of issuance of the first payment, in the absence of creditor policy or law.

CA-FEC 8.03

The organization provides at a minimum, a quarterly status report to active DMP clients that fully discloses their deposit history, disbursement history, any fees charged by the agency, and the creditors' estimated balances.

Interpretation

Reports can be sent electronically as long as there is record that the client opted to receive electronic statements.

CA-FEC 8.04

The organization maintains ongoing communication with clients by:
  1. being responsive to client questions and concerns;
  2. informing the client of issues that arise;
  3. offering regular progress reviews of program and budget; and
  4. assisting clients by adjusting their program and budget when the client indicates a change in financial situation.

Interpretation

Regarding element d, when the creditor’s policy is in conflict with the requirements of these standards, the organization should act in accordance with creditor requirements and with the client’s best interest in mind.

CA-FEC 8.05

When an organization determines the need to discontinue a DMP based on missed payments or creditor policy:
  1. the client is notified in writing of the discontinuation;
  2. the client is informed of the potential consequences of discontinuation, through verbal or written communications, such as missed payments and/or DMP discontinuation notices; and
  3. the basis for exceptions to discontinuation are documented in the client’s file, when exceptions are granted.