Archived — Dealing with Credit

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

If you are between 18 and 30 years old, you have likely already faced some hurdles in the financial world — maybe you didn't have all of the information you needed or you just weren't aware of the obstacles. To avoid going into debt, or to find ways to get out of debt, read the following information. It will give you a general understanding about the pros and cons of credit.

Do you know you have a credit rating?

Your credit history or credit rating starts from day one — the first time you get a credit card in your name, a loan or line of credit from a bank, or even a subscription to a CD or video club. Virtually everyone has a credit history.

Credit reporting agencies are in the business of gathering credit information to establish your credit history and your credit worthiness. When you ask for a loan, apply for a credit card, or even want to rent a place to live, the potential lender or landlord, as a member of a credit reporting agency, may buy credit information about you. There are two main credit reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax Canada Inc. and TransUnion of Canada. These private agencies collect information about borrowers from other credit grantors.

What's in my credit file?

Although the information allowed in a file may differ depending on where you live in Canada, you will generally find the following in your file:

  • Identifying information — name, address and date of birth (there is no legal requirement to provide your social insurance number).
  • Employment history — company, job title, length of employment and income.
  • Credit status — late payments, current outstanding debt, available credit and payment history on existing debt.
  • Public information — any of your financial affairs that are on the public record, including bankruptcies, judgements against you and unpaid taxes.
  • A list of those who have made credit inquiries about you.

Your home province or territory may have credit-reporting laws.

What should not be in my credit file?

Again, provincial or territorial laws may limit the kinds of information that are on your file, but generally, the following information should not appear:

  • Information about race, colour, religion, health or health care history, or criminal charges not resulting in conviction.
  • Negative credit information if it is beyond limitation periods.

To get copies of your credit report, send a letter to both agencies with your full name, current address, former address, date of birth and daytime telephone number with a copy of two pieces of signed identification.

Equifax Canada Inc.
Box 190, Jean Talon Station
Montréal QC H1S 2Z2 Toll-free: 1-800-465-7166
Tel.: (514) 493-2314
Fax: (514) 355-8502
Web site: www.equifax.ca

For all provinces except Quebec:

Trans Union of Canada
Consumer Relations Centre
P.O. Box 338, LCD 1
Hamilton ON L8L 7W2 Toll-free: 1-800-663-9980
Tel.: (905) 525-0262
Web site: http://www.tuc.ca

For Quebec residents:

TransUnion (Echo Group)
Suite 200
1600 Henri Bourassa Boul. Ouest
Montréal QC H3M 3E2
Toll-free: 1-877-713-3393
Tel.: (514) 335-0374
Web site: http://www.tuc.ca

Reviewing your file

  • You have a legal right to see your credit file.
  • Credit reporting is regulated provincially or territorially.
  • Check your credit file for errors, and for positive information that is missing (such as a successful repayment).

Correcting your file

If you find information on your file that you disagree with, you have the right to explain or protest. Your first contact is Equifax or Trans Union.

If you find an error, contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs agency and ask them what you need to do to correct it. Errors can include someone else's information on your file; debts listed that aren't yours; debts listed that have been paid in full; and incorrect payment history.