“We treat everyone we speak to with compassion, dignity, and respect. We understand the pressure they’re under from the personal, family, and financial perspectives.”
That’s the unyieldingly empathetic mindset of Doyle Salewski Inc., the longtime insolvency trustees who’ve been helping Ottawans, as well as clients in twenty-one satellite offices throughout the Valley, Toronto, Windsor, and Quebec, find their way to a debt-free future. Whether it’s the CRA, credit cards, student loans, business challenges, or other obstacles, the company’s trusted team of relief managers and credit counselors has been crafting personalized solutions to economic obstacles since 1996—a reputation staked on a mix of acumen, discretion, and above all, understanding.
“The founders insist upon Doyle Salewski being a client-friendlyatmosphere,” adds Liban Dahir, DS’s proud vice president. “Nobody ever feels judged or out of place. We understand how people can get themselves into difficulty. Debt isn’t one size fits all.”
Doyle is Brian Doyle; Paul is Paul Salewski. Prior to their partnership, each had enjoyed career distinctions. Doyle made headlines at KMPG in 1989, when he spearheaded the daunting restructuring of Glenn Coulter’s fallen 100-million-dollar mortgage and investment empire. Doyle went on to become the founding President of the Ottawa chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. To this day, investor fraud is a Doyle Salewski specialty.
Salewski was also at KMPG, where he vaulted from senior manager to partner due to the deep financial knowledge and indefatigable work ethic he demonstrated handling the receivership of a major plumbing company—qualities that did not go unnoticed by the intuitive, like-minded Doyle. The two broke away in search of greater professional autonomy and have enjoyed an even more solid working relationship since.
The changes in the industry over the 37 years the pair have worked together have been considerable, especially in Ottawa. Explains Liban, “The city has grown exponentially. With that, so has Doyle Salewski’s client base. We’ve seen a major demographic change, with the city becoming more culturally diverse. These changes have only exacerbated the respectful and understanding way we treat our clients.”
Then, of course, came the onset of the pandemic, a phenomenon that had a unique impact on the company: “The effect of the pandemic on the business center in Ottawa was different than in the rest of Canada. That’s because of the large presence of the civil service and their withdrawal from the downtown core. Many small businesses had to close their doors. Other businesses are continuing to run but are carrying substantial debt.” And relief programs like CERB, ironically, simply added fuel to the fire: “CERB prolonged the inevitable for many individuals, people who were in financial distress and in need of help, who thought their situations had improved due to the temporary cash they’d received. Others overestimated their wealth and bought items beyond their budgets. This had a negative effect on many, who had to pay back a portion of the money they received and/or the taxes on it.”
As remedy for these kinds of scenarios, DS offers a series of innovative and practical solutions, many of which are alternatives to bankruptcy. Foremost are “consumer proposals,” an agreement between the debtor and their creditors to pay back a portion of the debt owed through a series of low monthly payments or manageable lump sums. This arrangement puts an instant stop to interest charges, wage garnishments, and those annoying phone calls from frustrated creditors while allowing those in debt to hang on to their homes and cars.
As for prescriptive advice, Dahir offers the following: “It’s incredibly important to review your budget and expenses and to cut non-essential items such as unused subscriptions. It’s also important to lay out your assets and liabilities to see if some maintain higher carrying costs or could be trimmed to reduce expenses. And having an emergency fund is more essential than ever. It can help pay off high-interest debts to reduce monthly expenses even further so that people can continue to save for the difficult times ahead.”
Doyle Salewski might be, as the name suggests, a successful and longstanding partnership, but don’t let that fool you. As Dahir is quick to point out, financial restructuring is a team sport—one that, at least at ever-empathetic DS, counts clients as fellow players. “Brian and Paul believe in the importance of maintaining long-term relationships with everyone who works not only for them but also with them.”
In a place that’s all about valuation, the ultimate value is people.
By Dan Lalande
Photography by Sean Sisk