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In continuation to my other question here. We are trying to prepare yourselves to file a lawsuit against one of the contractors who did a lot of damage during renovations.

My question right now, is it possible, and how, to find out what assets the corporation has? Is it even public information?

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For public companies this is public information (at least the financial records must be made public annually).

For private companies, this information is, generally, private. I cannot speak for Canada but in Australia large corporations (>$5 million in assets or >$20 million in revenue) have public financial records.

When you get a judgement debt against a person (including corporation) one of the court orders you can seek is an ‘account of assets’.

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My question right now, is it possible, and how, to find out what assets the corporation has? Is it even public information?

There is no compulsory way of doing so in the case of a closely held private company that is for profit. Non-profit companies in Canada and publicly held companies in Canada are required to make certain public disclosures. But, there is no general rule requiring closely held, private companies that are for profit to disclose their assets.

Ownership of real estate and motor vehicles is a matter of public record.

Some companies are bonded and insured and make that information widely available. Often a company is contractually required to prove that it is bonded and insured as a term of a construction contract. But, if the contract doesn't provide for that, and the property owner or general contractor didn't require asset disclosures from the company before it was awarded the contract, then there is no way to compel the company to provide that information before brining suit.

One of the common tasks for which private investigators are hired is to determine the ability of a prospective defendant in a lawsuit to pay a judgment if one is awarded. Sometimes private investigators are successful in learning the facts through non-legally binding means, and sometimes they are not.

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