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4 Pillars

About Us

We’re the first place Canadians turn to deal with complex debt crises.
4 Pillars was founded in 2002 and has grown to become Canada’s largest independent debt restructuring firm. Our mission is to help Canadians deal with unmanageable amounts of debt with our expertise, guidance, and independent analysis of the best solution, based on the debtor’s unique financial situation.

Easy to understand, no nonsense advice

We believe that Canadians suffer unfairly from the complex language and confusing processes of the debt industry. This abstraction works in the favor of creditors, keeping Canadians deep in debt and robbing them of a chance at rebuilding their financial futures.

We use education and our industry expertise to guide Canadians to the solutions that best benefit them—not the solutions that benefit creditors.

4 Pillars has more reviews than any other competitor, with over 2,600 independent, unbiased reviews on TrustPilot. We’ve maintained a 4.9 average out of 5, ranking our services as 5-stars.

In the past, 'debt help' providers have used fear and technical confusion to mask the conflicts of interest that they face. These providers serve the interests of creditors, a fact they openly hide from the average Canadian without knowledge of the debt and credit industry.

Today, consumers demand choice, transparency, and want to make their own decisions, based on online research and peer-to-peer reviews.

We believe consumers must have choice and transparency, to make the right decisions for their own financial futures. They must be presented with all the options available and fully understand the benefits and implications of each solution.

We use an independent review site called TrustPilot to give consumers a clear view into how our services work, the fees we charge, and the outcomes they can expect. TrustPilot is similar to Yelp or Tripadvisor, preventing companies from deleting or bullying clients into giving positive reviews.

4 Pillars Locations

We have 51 offices across Canada including offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, Halifax, London, Winnipeg, Fredericton, St. John's, and Victoria, as well as towns and rural areas.

Our offices are part of our national network, giving us national strength as well as local expertise in different rural economies, housing markets, and the diverse situations of Canadians in debt.

Together, we’ve helped over 50,000 families regain financial control and drastically reduce their debt with $250 million of unmanageable consumer debt resolved every year.

Financial literacy initiatives

4 Pillars also helped to create a community-based financial literacy program called EmpowerU.

EmpowerU offers participants’ financial literacy training with the opportunity to save money and have those funds matched 2:1 by the program. Participants attend a number of sessions covering financial topics such as budgeting, credit, goal setting, fraud prevention, debt reduction and investments.

EmpowerU is delivered through 11 non-profit organizations. The program brings together the financial strength of ATB Financial, United Way, City of Edmonton, The Home Program, EPCOR, Government of Alberta, and 4 Pillars with the research power of Civitas Consulting to better understand how people learn about money and the long-term benefits of financial literacy.

EmpowerU participants’ results:

  • 20.5% found employment
  • 97.8% increased their confidence managing money
  • 50.8% feel more comfortable self-advocating at a financial institution
  • 91.1% increased their overall self-confidence.
  • The EmpowerU model resulted in a 105% percent social return on investment in the community.

How 4 Pillars works

At 4 Pillars, we’re experts in helping people navigate complex debt situations. We know that the debt system—a system that is maintained by insolvency trustees and credit counselling agencies—is rigged towards the interests of creditors.

We’re similar to the concept of a mortgage broker. If you know nothing about mortgages and wander into your nearest giant corporate bank, at best you might end up with a bad rate. You’ll also likely agree to many things you don’t understand: hidden fees, penalties, restrictions, and complex terms that benefit the bank, not you.

Unlike insolvency trustees and credit counselors, we have no duty to creditors. We are not paid by creditors or compensated by the amount of debt we can get you to pay back. We’re independent. And so, we empower you to make the right choice for you.

We also take a holistic approach to helping you, dealing with debt is only one part of the services, keeping you out of debt is equally as important. Whereas others are only interested in salvaging your assets, extracting as much as they can to pay back creditors and moving on to the next client. .

This leaves you vulnerable for future financial failure, which is why it pains us to say 13.5% of the clients we help have been bankrupt before. They were not given the support and education they need to stay out of debt and abandoned by a system designed to help them.

The system has failed them.

We help you to not only choose the right option. But also to rebuild your long-term financial stability. The below diagram provides a very simplistic overview of the process we follow.

You can book a free assessment to learn more about how our process works. But here is what it looks like from a client’s perspective. This is a man we helped. He fell into deep debt and these are his words:

I had never carried consumer debt in my life and always paid my credit cards off. But circumstances left me with negative equity and negative cash flow properties, which quickly put me deep into debt. I had not considered bankruptcy as that was failure in my mind.

I met a consultant with 4 Pillars. He explained to me all my options. He also explained how the Trustee would file my proposal and how everything would work and the Trustees role etc. It was very clear to me who the Trustee was and that the proposal would be filed by the Trustee; and it was very clear who the 4 Pillars agent was and what their role and fee was.

I agreed to hire the 4 Pillars agent to advise me through this confusing process. The agent was amazing, answered every call, every email, and every question I ever had and for many years. He put my mind at ease through the process, helped represent my interest and did a great job. Once my proposal passed with the Trustee my 4 Pillars agent met with me and helped me understand how to avoid credit and debt problems in the future, and how to run a proper family budget. He also helped advise me on how to repair my credit so that I could have a good credit score very fast.

This good credit score enabled me to save a lot of money on mortgage financing by allowing me to negotiate a lower rate with my bank at renewal time.

Before I did the proposal, my rate had gone way up due to me having high debt, and having to borrow some high interest money off my house as a 2nd mortgage to try to pay unsecured debt. Had I met the 4 Pillars agent before this might not have even happened, but without advice I did what I thought I could do to fix the debt problem.

I sought help from the bank first and they would not offer me a loan or any help or any solutions and told me to go bankrupt if I could not pay the debt. Distressed I talked to a mortgage broker and they offered me high interest high fee financing which I took; but was poor advice and it did not pay off the debt, and we ended up worse off than before thanks to the bad financing. But thanks to my 4 Pillars agent, the plan he made, and the Trustee he introduced me to, we could deal with all my debt, and get me into better financing within a very short period (3 yrs.).

Here are the proven benefits I personally experienced by hiring 4 Pillars:

  1. I had better credit sooner than if I had gone to a trustee direct which saved me literally tens of thousands of dollars in mortgage interest cost over the years shortly following the proposal. No trustee teaches these concepts and offers the products that helped me repair my credit so fast. The products themselves saved me thousands later due to the credit repair effect.
  2. I had more advice and help from 4 Pillars than with the Trustee. There was no advice from the Trustee’s office on anything relating to credit repair or budgeting as it was not required under the insolvency act.
  3. I received a lower settlement which offset the 4 Pillars fee. The 4 Pillars agent really pushed a lower offer than what the trustee originally suggested and fully understood my situation to support the lower offer so the trustee and ultimately the creditors agreed to the proposal. Without this help I would simply have gone with the Trustee's original suggestion of offering a higher payback which would have been good for the banks but would likely have resulted in me failing the payments due to them being unaffordable.

You can read thousands of similar stories from clients we’ve helped here.

4 Pillars fees

Like any professional service, we charge fees, which are clearly outlined at the outset of the process. However, our clients agree: the fees charged are tiny in comparison to the debt reduction gained and the improvement of their financial situation from our guidance and expertise.

We aren't funded by the creditors, we don't receive a percent of what you pay back and therefore we have absolutely no conflicts of interest. Our allegiance is only to the debtors we are committed to help.

It’s a myth that insolvency trustees and “non-profit” credit counselors do not charge fees. The fees charged are usually built into the monthly payments you make that get distributed to your creditors.

Most credit counsellors charge a monthly processing fee based on the amount of debt you have, and you usually repay 100% of the amount owed. Alternatively, our fee is based on the pre and post restructuring work we complete, in addition to the work your 4 Pillars consultant does representing you, to ensure your restructuring plan is successful and fits your budget.

Find your nearest 4 Pillars location

Here’s an interactive map and list of our 4 Pillar offices if you’re ready to take the next step. You can also give us your email here and we’ll route you to the closest office.

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