01/03/2012 11:51 EST | Updated 03/04/2012 05:12 EST

As personal debt skyrockets, B.C.-based credit counsellor expands to Ontario

VANCOUVER - As Christmas bills begin to flood in, the Credit Counselling Society has announced plans to expand into Ontario and Quebec, in hopes of helping Canadians swimming in debt.

Society president Scott Hannah says the B.C.-based organization has 13 offices in Western Canada, including several opened in 2011.

He says the expansion will continue through 2012, with an office slated to open in Ottawa during the first quarter of this year.

A location is also planned for Hamilton and Hannah expects that will be followed by an opening in Quebec, although he didn't say exactly where.

He says it is important that the nearly 20-year-old society reaches out across the country to help Canadians dealing with financial difficulties.

The non-profit Credit Counselling Society responded to more than 40,000 calls in 2010 as part of its goal of offering confidential and free credit counselling services, credit education and debt management programs. (CHNL)