Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians behind on financial payments: survey

Half of those in Alberta, B.C., Ontario have experienced income reductions due to COVID-19

Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians behind on financial payments: survey

Ontario families and individuals are already falling behind on personal finances during the COVID-19 crisis, a new survey found.

Nineteen per cent of Ontario households are behind on payments with credit cards, utilities and cellphone bills being the first to lag behind, found a survey released by Bromwich+Smith licensed insolvency trustees with Leger Research. 

“The results are quite staggering, really,” says David de Lange, senior vice-president of Leger Research. “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 B.C., Alberta and Ontario.”

About 49 per cent of Ontarians have experienced an immediate income reduction, according to the survey of 750 people overall, while 50 per cent of Ontarians said they are worried about falling behind at some point in the future.

The survey conducted on March 23, also found in Alberta 49 per cent of households experienced an income reduction and 24 per cent were behind on payments. In B.C., 51 per cent were experiencing lower incomes and 19 per cent per cent were already behind on monthly bills, says Bromwich+Smith.

Hardest hit were those who provided personal specialized services — such as taxi drivers, hairdressers and cooks — where 80 per cent experienced income reduction. Students and semi-skilled workers were among the hardest hit (74 per cent), while those in the science and technology sector, and those who are retired or on government assistance, were least impacted, found the survey.

Most Ontarians will first reach for federal and provincial government assistance (40 per cent). Twenty-three per cent suggested that they “don’t know what to do” nor what action to take immediately.

Government in the three provinces, Alberta, B.C. and Ontario, have announced financial support and job-protected leaves for those affected by the outbreak.

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