Overview

A collection agency is defined as a person, other than a collector, who carries on the business of:

  • collecting or attempting to collect debt or debts from a debtor in Alberta under any name that differs from that of the creditor to whom the debt is or was originally owed, regardless of to whom or where the payment is made
  • on behalf of another person
  • where the person has purchased a debt or debts that is or are in arrears

Unless they are collecting a debt of which they are the original creditor or owner, acquired the debt through a merger, the acquisition of another business, the seizure of accounts receivable under a security agreement, or were assigned the debt for the purpose of financing the transaction. Specific information on the exemptions can be found in section 1(b) of the Collection and Debt Repayment Practices Regulation.

Cost

There is a one-year licensing fee of $168 for the collection agency and $72 for each collector, payable to the Government of Alberta.

How to apply

You will need to complete an application form, collector application form(s), provide a security, provide trust account information, provide additional information and pay a licensing fee. You’ll also need to ensure your collector(s) are licensed to operate in Alberta. To get started, follow these instructions to save and open the application and other applicable forms.

Failure to provide complete information will delay processing of your application and may result in a refund of your fees and closure of your file.

Step 1. Fill out the application form

Trouble opening or completing PDF forms?

Fillable forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save this form:

  1. Click on the PDF link to save it on your computer.
  2. Launch Adobe Reader.
  3. Open the PDF from within Adobe Reader. You can now fill and save your form.

Application for an Agency Licence (PDF, 85 KB)

Step 2. Fill out an application form for each collector

Each collector within your business will need to complete an application for a collector’s licence.

For more information see the Collector page.

Step 3. Obtain and provide security

Obtain and provide an original, signed security in the amount of $25,000*. You may get this security in one of 4 ways:

  • General Surety Bond
  • Cash Security Agreement accompanied by one of the following:
    • Irrevocable Letter of Credit
    • Cash (bank draft, money order or certified cheque payable to the Government of Alberta)
    • Term deposit or similar instrument in the name of the Government of Alberta, c/o Service Alberta, 3rd Floor, 10155 – 102 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 4L4, in trust for (name of licensee)

Depending upon the option selected please do the following:

  • General Surety Bond (PDF, 121 KB)
    • The surety company will complete and provide you with a signed and sealed original of the form. You will need to review, sign, affix your company seal or have your signature witnessed, and provide the original to the address on the form.
    • The form may be found at https://cfr.forms.gov.ab.ca/Form/CONP0045.pdf (PDF, 121 KB). Please provide this address to your Surety Company.
  • Cash Security Agreement (PDF, 120 KB)
  • Irrevocable Letter of Credit (PDF, 119 KB)
    • The financial institution will complete and provide you with a signed original of the form letter. You will need to review and provide the original to the address on the form.
    • The form may be found at https://cfr.forms.gov.ab.ca/Form/CONP0123.pdf (PDF, 119 KB). Please provide this address to your financial institution.

* In accordance with the Security agreement, the security provided will be held for 2 years after the agreement expires or 2 years and 3 months (27 months) from the date the business licence expires, or the business closes or longer in the event of a claim being received. The amount of security given is a minimum security requirement. The amount could increase at the discretion of the Director of Fair Trading. When setting the security amount, the Director can consider the department’s previous history with the business and its partners or directors, the business’ financial history, and criminal convictions.

Step 4. Obtain and provide trust account information

Trust Account Information form (PDF, 1 MB)

  • This form is not required if the agency will only be collecting debts that they have purchased.
  • The financial institution will complete and provide you with a signed original of the form. You will need to review and provide the form to the address on the form.
  • The form may be found at https://cfr.forms.gov.ab.ca/Form/CONP0053.pdf (PDF, 1 MB). Please provide this address to your financial institution.

Trust money must be deposited in a financial institution that is registered in and is actively operating in Alberta. The account must be located in Alberta. The Director of Fair Trading must approve any request for an out-of-Alberta trust account.

Step 5. Provide additional information

Include the address information for all offices that will be conducting collection activities in Alberta or contacting Albertans.

Include a request for approval by the Director for all first part collection where the agency will be contacting debtors in the name of the client.

Out of province applicants

If you are applying from outside of Alberta, you need to provide some additional information with your licence application:

  • a letter from the collection agency stating that it will allow Service Alberta or staff from other provincial jurisdictions access to its records for the purpose of investigation or financial review
  • a letter from the collection agency stating that it agrees to be governed by and comply with the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act and applicable regulations under the act
  • a letter from the collection agency requesting approval to maintain a trust account outside of Alberta
  • a letter from the collection agency stating that if they cease to do business they will maintain their financial records for 3 years

Your agency must be extra-provincially registered to operate a business in Alberta (this must be done within 30 days of when the licence is issued). For information on extra-provincial registration, please visit Corporate Registry.

Step 6. Submit the application form

Email your application form, collector application form(s), trust account information form, and any required additional information to sa.businesslicensing@gov.ab.ca. Provide your original security document(s) to the address noted on the form(s). You will be contacted to set-up online payment for the one-time licensing fee of $168 for the collection agency and $72 for each collector.

You may also mail or drop off your application package to the address noted on the application. You may pay by credit card online, by credit card or debit card in person at our office, or you may mail a cheque or money order to our office.

When paying by cheque or money order please make it payable to the Government of Alberta.

Processing of your application will not start until payment is received.

After you apply

Licence takes effect the day the licence is issued.

It is your responsibility to ensure your licence is in force as long as you continue to do business. Once your licence is issued please make note of the expiry date and ensure your licence is renewed prior to this date.

Licence holders must notify Service Alberta in writing within 15 days of a change in:

  • business address
  • partners of the business if the licence is issued to a partnership
  • officers or directors of the corporation if the licence is issued to a corporation

Licence holders must notify Service Alberta in writing within 15 days of ceasing to carry on the activities for which the licence was issued.

Your responsibilities

  • Please pay particular attention to the following sections of the Collection and Debt Repayment Practices Regulation:
    • 12.1 regarding knowledge of the legislation and prohibited collection practices
      • the maximum one-time fee for a dishonoured cheque or pre-authorized debit is $25
    • 13 regarding advertising
    • 14 through 20 regarding maintaining a trust account
    • 21 regarding issuance of receipts
    • 21.1 regarding settlement agreements
    • 22 regarding reports to creditors
    • 23.1 regarding credit reporting
    • 23.2 regarding complete accounting of a debt to the debtor
    • 23.3 regarding retaining records
  • If any of the applicant, partners, directors or officers primary residence is Out-of-Canada, a criminal record check is required from the jurisdiction of the individual’s primary residence which follows the requirements set out by Citizenship and Immigration Canada or a check provided by a local policing organization (i.e., state or municipal police service) provided the results include national records. For US applicants, a criminal history record information check performed by a vendor from this list is also acceptable.
  • Compliance

Copies of legislation can be obtained from the Queen’s Printer Bookstore.

Renewing a licence

You may use Service Alberta’s PABLO (Province of Alberta Business Licensing Online) to renew your licence.

PABLO System

This system is used for processing payments, printing issued licenses and renewing licenses.

  • Applications submitted by email, fax or without payment will have a user ID created in the name of the applicant and provided to their email address. They will need to submit payment or their application will not be processed.
  • Once issued, licenses are made available electronically for printing by the business. If an ID does not already exist one will be created and provided to the applicant’s email address along with notification the licence has been issued. If an ID was created for payment of the fees the applicant will receive an email notification the licence has been issued.
  • Within 60 days prior to the expiry of a licence a renewal may be processed using this system. Mark your calendar as a reminder so you stay continuously licensed.

Contact

To connect with the Consumer Contact Centre:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-4088
Toll free: 1-877-427-4088 (in Alberta)
Email: sa.businesslicensing@gov.ab.ca