An Overview of Creditors’ Rights Part Two: Lawsuits and Liens

If all the remedies described in Part One of our series fail, the creditor can take the debtor to court to recuperate the debt owed. The creditor will then be entitled to compensation if the case is proven, or if the debtor fails to contest the claim.

Once a creditor has obtained a judgement order, they have the ability to enforce it. This means the creditor can demand property from the debtor to cover the outstanding debt, which is usually done with the assistance of the authorities. The police may confiscate the property or will record the actual lien against the property, as is the case when real estate is involved. Authorities may also arrange a sale for the, and the profits are used to pay the debt.

If more than one creditor is involved in the case, each creditor will be compensated based on priority. This ranking system is most often based on the order the claims were made in.

What is a lien?

A lien is a legal claim to the debtor’s property that helps guarantee debt repayment. There are multiple types of liens in Alberta. We have amalgamated a list from the Service Alberta Website to get you started.

Security for goods

  •  Sale of Goods/Factors Act – Used for a buyer’s interest in goods left in the possession of the seller (Financing Statement PPSA Security Agreement or Sale of Goods Act).
  • PPSA Security Agreement – Security interest under the Personal Property Security Act, including leases for a term of more than one year, transfers of accounts or chattel paper and consignments. (Financing Statement PPSA Security Agreement or Sale of Goods Act).
  • Receiver’s Report – A notice of a financial statement, final account or final report of the receiver’s administration when they take over a business.


  • Garage Keepers’ Lien – A garage keeper can register a lien against an owner’s vehicle for repairs, parts or storage that haven’t been paid for.
  • Maintenance Order – An order or interim order from a court in Alberta for child, spousal and partner support.
  • Crown Charge – A lien, charge or other interest of the Crown created by any law in force in Canada.
  • Writ of Enforcement – Enables a creditor to take enforcement activity.
  • Writ of Seizure and Sale (Federal Writ) – Federal judgment registered in the Personal Property Registry System to enable the creditor to take enforcement activity.
  • Court Order – An order authorized by a court or statute that directs registration.
  • Statutory Charge – A lien charge or other interest that affects property and is created under an enactment in force in Alberta.


  • Attachment Order – An order granted by a court, attached to property in order to protect an interest.
  • Matrimonial Property Order – An interest of a spouse given exclusive possession of a mobile home or household goods, granted by a court.
  • Land Charge – An interest in real property of a corporation that secures payment or completion of an action in place of payment.
  • Property under possession, service or labour – You can claim a lien against personal property that has been left under someone’s possession, such as a rented storage facility, or if you have performed labour or service on it and have not been compensated.
  • There is no requirement to register these types of liens in the Personal Property Registry System.

Possessory Liens

A lien can be claimed on personal property, owner or keeper of a wharf, or a bailee who stores goods for a fee (The Possessory Liens Act).

Warehousemen’s Lien

Any person who stores goods as a bailee for hire can claim a lien against those goods for non-payment of fees for storage (The Warehousemen’s Lien Act).

Woodmen’s Lien

Any person who has provided labour or service in relation to logs or timber in Alberta can claim a lien for any unpaid wages (The Woodmen’s Lien Act).

Hire Lawyer to Assist with Collecting Debts

If your business needs assistance collecting on debts that are owed from customers, you’ll likely want to speak to an attorney about the rights that you have. A qualified business and commercial lawyer can advise you about the most effective methods for your situation.

Contact KGPC LLP today.

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