Financial impact of coronavirus on Canadians confirmed in three provinces

Survey covering Ontario, Alberta, and BC reveals at least one in five households already behind on payments

Financial impact of coronavirus on Canadians confirmed in three provinces

Licensed insolvency trustee Bromwich+Smith has released the results of a new survey conducted with Leger Research, which reveals how households have already been financially impacted by the coronavirus crisis in three provinces.

“Of course, we get a sense of what is happening when we read the news, but the survey results make it far more real having interviewed 750 people across BC, Alberta and Ontario,” said David de Lange, Senior Vice President of Leger Research. 

According to the survey, 51% of households in British Columbia, 49% in Alberta, and 49% of Ontario have seen an immediate reduction in their incomes.

Those already behind on payments for credit cards, utility bills, and cell phone bills represented 19% of B.C. families, 24% of Alberta households, and 19% of those in Ontario.

Uncertainty about the future also loomed large, with 47% of British Columbians, 51% of Albertans, and 50% of Ontarians expressing worries about falling behind at some point.

When asked how they plan to adjust to the sudden decrease or loss of their income, reaching for federal and provincial government assistance was the first option for 34% of B.C. residents, 42% of Albertans, and 40% of Ontarians.

But many others said they “don’t know what to do” or what action to take immediately, including 25% of households in B.C., 23% in Alberta, and 23% in Ontario.

“If you are unable to pay your debts as they become due, [you] need to reach out to access government programs offered,” said Bromwich+Smith Vice President Jasmine Marra.

Marra also suggested that people ask their mortgage lenders if a payment deferral would be possible. A licensed insolvency trustee, she added, could help people determine if restructuring their debts would make sense.

Canadians are also worried about their ability to meet other obligations. In a new survey, the Angus Reid Institute found that one third of Canadians are worried about missing payments for their home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

More than 40% said that someone in their household has already had their work hours reduced, with employers reportedly not covering the shortfall in most cases. And 50% of respondents expected that their work hours will eventually be cut as well.


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