Commercial Debt Collection in Canada: A Legal Handbook

Editor: David Franklin, Ad.E.

     “Of what use would a guide to collections in Canada be for a New York attorney?” I asked myself when I saw David Franklin’s newest commercial debt collection treatise. And so with a healthy dose of skepticism, I dove into the first chapter featuring practice in British Columbia, followed rapidly by similar presentations from the Prairies to the Territories through Quebec and out to the Atlantic Provinces. And I was hooked.

It wasn’t the nitty-gritty details of every Provinces’ procedures but rather it was overall insight into the collection process that is of value to every practitioner. Each of the chapters is authored by an expert in the field, and not only has Mr. Franklin provided them with a detailed yet meaningful outline to follow, but he has also allowed them the stylistic freedom to present the information in interesting, often colorful and creative ways. Vincent Pigeon from British Columbia, for example, sets the tone in his opening paragraph when he states, “Where the debt is ascertained, and not in dispute, the creditor is well-informed about the debtor and the debtor is solvent and vulnerable, the procedure can be done quickly, efficiently, and your client will see you sitting to the right of God.” He then presents the alternative reality.

All of the distinguished contributors embellish the outline with advice about effective credit applications for clients, or distinguishing ‘debt’ from ‘damages’. In fact, taken together, the chapters serve as primer on debt collection with useful nuggets of advice, sprinkled liberally throughout, for the clients, the attorneys and even such esoteric practices as cargo claims, subrogation, intellectual property and debt collection, insolvency as well as a fascinating chapter on arbitration where there is even an emphasis on how your client can retain a customer while collecting a debt from that customer.

Franklin has compiled a wonderfully detailed yet cogent tome which is relevant to collections practitioners anywhere in the world. Attention is paid to every aspect and I found myself picking up useful tips in almost every chapter. And by the way, did you know that Canada has a new province, formed in 1999 called Nunavut?

Finally, I must admit that I took this book with me on vacation and dreaded the thought of sitting on the beach reading about Canadian law. Maybe it was the sun, or maybe the rum, but I thoroughly enjoyed my trip through the Provinces and Territories. It was time well spent and I came back mentally and physically refreshed by this wonderful overview of collection practices.

© 2013 Howard Weber