Canadians reluctant to seek help when in financial straits

A new survey indicates 46 per cent of Canadians say they would be embarrassed to get help if their financial situation was bad enough to consider bankruptcy and 31 per cent say the stigma surrounding bankruptcy prevents them from seeking help.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of MNP Ltd.

Grant Bazian, president of MNP Ltd.
Grant Bazian
President of MNP Ltd.

“Unmanageable consumer debt or financial hardship is extremely lonely and isolating because the guilt prevents people from talking about it. Unfortunately, our survey shows that those who are most in need of help are the least inclined to ask for it,” said Grant Bazian, president of MNP Ltd., the country’s largest insolvency firm, in a news release.

The survey also found that 61 per cent of Canadians rate their personal debt situation as bad and 54 per cent who are financially insolvent say they would be embarrassed to ask for help if their financial situation was bad enough to consider bankruptcy.

According to MNP, the latest official figures from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy show that the number of Canadians who filed for bankruptcy or a proposal in the second quarter of 2019 was up six per cent compared to the same quarter of last year.

“The number of people filing has increased but this doesn’t reflect the magnitude of the consumer debt challenges in the country because so many people delay getting help until they are in an absolutely dire situation. By the time they speak with a professional, many may be forgoing basic necessities to avoid filing a consumer proposal or bankruptcy,” said Bazian.

The latest MNP Debt Index shows that Canadians’ overall attitudes towards their personal financial situation have improved slightly since March. The number of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency at month-end decreased four points to 44 per cent. Those in Alberta (44 per cent, -4), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (40 per cent, -6), Ontario (44 per cent, -4), Quebec (43 per cent, -8), Atlantic Provinces (46 per cent, -9) saw the biggest declines, while British Columbia (44 per cent, +5) has seen a sharp increase.

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