The modernized Exemptions Act receives assent

The Government of Yukon is committed to modernizing laws to better support Yukoners. Yesterday, the Yukon Legislative Assembly passed the Exemptions Act.

This legislation allows Yukoners filing for bankruptcy to keep more of their assets so that they are able to rebuild their financial futures. Prior to today’s update, maximum monetary amounts of items that Yukoners filing for bankruptcy could keep had not changed since 1954, potentially leaving vulnerable Yukoners destitute. The replacement legislation exempts the following items with no limits:

  • medical equipment
  • social assistance payments

It also exempts the following items, with limits:

  • a vehicle for personal use
  • primary residence
  • tools-of-the-trade
  • hunting, trapping and fishing equipment

These changes allow debtors to maintain a reasonable standard of living and to continue earning an income while going through bankruptcy. The changes made to the Exemptions Act follow the approach recommended by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada’s Civil Enforcement of Money Judgements Act. Similar legislation has already been adopted in full by four provinces and in part by other provinces and territories. 

Licensed Insolvency Trustees, who help debtors through the bankruptcy process, were engaged to help determine best practices and to inform the development of regulations to be introduced under the updated Exemptions Act and Garnishee Act. Their responses helped establish the maximum dollar values of certain exempted items and garnished wage limits.

It is important to keep legislation up-to-date and the changes made to the Exemptions Act and Garnishee Act ensure Yukoners are better protected when going through bankruptcy.

Yukoners who are undergoing bankruptcy or are under money judgments are facing extreme hardship and updating this legislation provides better guidance and protections for both debtors and creditors. It is in our collective best interest to ensure debtors and their dependents do not become destitute. This legislation allows Yukoners to maintain a reasonable standard of living while ensuring creditors are compensated fairly. It is unfathomable that the Yukon Party refused to support changing this 70-year-old legislation that is harming Yukoners. 

Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee

Quick facts 
  • Licensed Insolvency Trustees are federally regulated and provide advice and services to individuals or businesses with serious debt problems.

  • Our engagement with Licensed Insolvency Trustees will inform whether limits should be set for maximum values of certain household furnishings and appliances.

  • Seniors over 65 account for one in five bankruptcies in the Yukon, the highest rate among all age categories. 

  • An “evergreen clause” will be enabled to provide annual adjustments to ensure the exemption values remain up to date.

Media contact 

Laura Seeley
Cabinet Communications

Jasmine Doll
Communications, Justice

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