The Mind-Boggling PPSA – How to Interpret Ontario PPSA Searches

Anyone who has ever done an Ontario PPSA search knows how hard it is to read it. Its convoluted design which consists of tons of pages with line numbers and registration information, all of which is presented in plain text form and not-so-readable courier new font, starts hurting your eyes in about 10 minutes of looking at it.

Meanwhile, it is well known that the information found on a PPSA search is vital to potential creditors of any calibre. It provides important information about the potential debtor, such as how many securities are registered against him, when these securities expire, what amounts the securities are registered for, and so on. The trick is that sometimes it takes law firms several days to interpret and summarize a single PPSA search, depending on its size and complexity.

How to easily find information on Ontario PPSA searches and, most importantly, how to interpret it? There are several important points that will help you interpret PPSA searches (and for the purposes of this article, only Ontario verbal (uncertified) PPSA searches are discussed, as they are considered ones of the most difficult to work with).

  1. PPSA registrations run in families. Families are identified by File Number, which usually consists of 9 digits and is found closer to the top of each PPSA search page.
  2. Within each File Number, there can be various Registration Numbers. Each time a PPSA registration is made (be it the original registration, an amendment or a change), a new Registration Number is created within its File Number. Registration Number itself has the form of XXXXXXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, where the first batch of 8 digits represents the date of filing. For example, if the first batch of digits is 19981110, then the filing was made on November 10, 1998. Each subsequent registration within that family will have its own date embedded into the Registration Number. For example, if after this original filing, there was an amendment on December 2, 2000, then the first batch of digits will be 20001202.
  3. The type of registration is indicated in line 01 under REG TYP. P stands for original registration; A stands for amendment (the reason of amendment is described in line 26; and B stands for renewal.
  4. Number of years of either registration or renewal is indicated in line 01 under REG PERIOD. Amendments do not change the number of registration years. Usually a PPSA is renewed on the year of expiry in order to avoid expiration and losing the priority placement among other secured creditors.
  5. Expiry date is located near the top-right corner of the page that shows the original PPSA registration. It’s located next to the File Number.
  6. Lines 02 – 07 inclusive contain debtor information: name, type and address.
  7. Lines 08-09 inclusive contain secured party information.
  8. Lines 10-15 contain information on security and collateral description and classification.
  9. Thus, by analyzing Registration Numbers within one File Number you will be able to understand the history of that particular PPSA registration family and see its current status and expiry date.

Law firms usually summarize PPSA registration by hand. From time to time, a PPSA search result contains a great number of pages (for example, a PPSA search against Air Canada will return over 1,000 pages). Summarizing such a long search result may take at least 5 days (!) and can be very intensive and nerve wrecking.

ESC Corporate Services has developed an automated PPSA summarization tool which will retrieve raw data from PPSA search results, put them into a linkable index, and will create a full summary in a very user friendly format in seconds. Visit our website for more information on our PPSA+ product which can save you firm and its clients time and money.

To request a DEMO for PPSA+ please contact us directly (416)595-7177 .

ESC Corporate Services is a licensed service provider under contract with the Ministry of Government Services and is a contributor-in-progress to

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