Application Process

The Farm Debt Mediation Act is divided in two sections. The question below will help determine which section best suits your needs.

Have you received a Notice of Intent to Realize on Security or notice of other recovery action from your creditor(s)? If so, and you have not applied for a mediation under Section 5-(1)-(a) within the past two years, Section 5-(1)-(a) may be the appropriate application for you. This section provides a financial review, mediation and a stay of proceedings.

If you have not received a Notice of Intent to Realize on Security or notice of other recovery action, but you can foresee financial difficulties and you have not applied for a mediation under Section 5-(1)-(b) within the past two years, Section 5-(1)-(b) may be the appropriate application for you. This section provides a financial review and mediation without a stay of proceedings.

Once you have decided which section is best-suited to your situation or if you want to discuss your situation, you can contact your nearest Farm Debt Mediation Office at 1-866-452-5556.

You should complete and send the application form to your Farm Debt Mediation Service (FDMS) office as soon as possible.

By acting as soon as it is clear that you are in financial difficulty, you will keep the lines of communication with your creditor(s) open and it will be easier to discuss issues in an atmosphere of trust. The earlier you contact the Farm Debt Mediation Service office nearest you, the sooner you can start developing a recovery plan for the future.

For applicants participating in the Advanced Payments Program (APP), please see the APP/ FDMS Information Page.

Section 5-(1)-(a) Mediation with a Stay of Proceedings

Creditors who send you a Notice of Intent to Realize on Security under Section 21 of the Farm Debt Mediation Act must wait 15 business days before they can begin or continue any action to realize on their security.

If you apply and you qualify for Section 5-(1)-(a), you will be entitled to a financial review and mediation with a stay of proceedings. During the period of the stay of proceedings creditors may not begin or continue recovery or seizure action against your assets. You must also follow guardianship directives such as you cannot incur additional debt, make payments to creditors for debt you had when the stay is put in place, nor sell or transfer assets without prior written permission. Initially, the stay of proceedings is in place for 30 calendar days, but may be extended in 30 day increments to a maximum of 120 calendar days. If you are considering an application under Section 5-(1)-(a), you are strongly encouraged to contact the Farm Debt Mediation Service office nearest you.

Section 5-(1)-(b) Mediation only

An application for mediation under this section of the Act is generally used when you can foresee financial difficulties, but have not yet been served with a Notice of Intent to Realize on Security or any other legal documents from your creditors. The service includes a financial review and mediation without a stay of proceedings. There are no restrictions placed on either you or the creditors. This section normally deals with secured creditors and may include major unsecured creditors essential to an arrangement.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Farm Debt Mediation Service, you must farm commercially and meet one of the following two criteria:

  1. You have stopped or are no longer able to make your payments on time.
  2. If sold, the value of your property would not be enough to cover the cost of your debts.

For creditors:

Meeting financial obligations has always been important to farmers, but adapting to today's rapidly changing and fiercely competitive global market place can sometimes make debt repayment difficult. If you and your client have reached a stalemate in your repayment negotiations, the Farm Debt Mediation Service provides a mediation process that encourages a mutually agreeable solution on a practical payment plan.

The Farm Debt Mediation Service includes the development of a recovery plan outlining the steps for moving ahead and the responsibilities of both you and the farmer.

If you are a secured creditor, Section 21 of the Farm Debt Mediation Act, requires you to serve a farmer with a Notice of Intent to Realize on Security before taking legal action to recover debts. You must wait 15 business days after the Notice of Intent to Realize on Security is deemed to be effected before starting or continuing collection action. The farmer may choose to apply to the Farm Debt Mediation Service during this period, or at any time afterwards.

For farmers: 

If you decide to apply and you qualify for Section 5-(1)-(a), you will be offered a financial review and mediation with a stay of proceedings, during which time creditors may not begin or continue recovery or seizure action against your assets. The stay of proceedings is initially issued for 30 calendar days, but may be extended in 30 day increments to a maximum of calendar 120 days. If you decide to apply and you qualify for Section 5-(1)-(b), you will be offered a financial review and mediation without a stay of proceedings.

Please see the Farm Debt Mediation Act and the Farm Debt Mediation Regulations for more details.

Assessment Process

As soon as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada confirms that you are eligible for the Service, a qualified financial consultant will be assigned to work with you throughout the mediation process. The consultant will visit your farm to learn how your operation works, then will:

  • assess your current financial situation
  • explore options and develop a plan for the future
  • collect financial information to prepare a financial statement and recovery plan
  • complete projections to evaluate the viability of the plan
  • contact creditors to verify amounts owed
  • attend the mediation meeting and assist you with negotiations
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