A Quarter of British Columbians are Working Reduced Hours or Receiving Reduced Pay as a Result of the Pandemic, More Than Any Other Province

2020-06-22   minute read

MNP Consumer Debt Index


Three in 10 (31%) are Losing Sleep Over Economy (+11)

VANCOUVER, BC – June 22, 2020 – As British Columbia’s economy begins to re-open after months of being shuttered, half (51%) of British Columbians’ work situation is still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent poll by Ipsos carried out on behalf of MNP LTD has found a quarter (24%) of British Columbians are working reduced hours or receiving reduced pay, significantly more than any other province. Almost two in 10 (16%) have lost their job. In addition, many say someone in their household has lost their job (17%) or is working reduced hours or receiving reduced pay (11%).

Night view of Vancouver port, downtown lighting up the streets and water

“British Columbians are more likely than any other province to say their employment has been interrupted by COVID-19. Delayed payments over the last few months, coupled with reduced pay and already tight budgets, will put many into financial trouble now. For those who find themselves in over their heads, the best thing they can do right now is to get professional help with their debt,” says Lana Gilbertson, a Vancouver-based Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD.

She points to the fact that many in the province are increasingly concerned about the longer-term effects of the pandemic. Three in 10 (31%) in B.C. say they are worried about the economic fallout from COVID-19, a whopping 11-point increase from March. They are also worried about the current state of the Canadian economy (32%, +10), and the chances of a recession (25%, +6).

High unemployment and concerns about the economy have left British Columbians feeling slightly worse about their personal financial situations now than they were in March, even with the government support helping some families stay afloat. Compared to levels measured just before the pandemic, British Columbians are understandably more worried now about how they will pay their bills (27%, +2), and affording the necessities for their family (22%, +4).

“We often see job loss as a catalyst for money issues or even insolvency. Luckily, the short-term government financial support has helped soften the blow, but that won’t last forever. Those struggling to manage their debts should be working on a budget now to get prepared for when the support runs out.”

What Canadians Plan to Do When CERB Runs Out

The survey looked at what Canadians plan to do when emergency benefits offered during the coronavirus pandemic run out. Many currently receiving COVID-19-related government financial support say they will have to simply cut back any way they can when government support ends (46%). A third (32%) say they will apply for EI, followed by using their savings to pay bills (30%). One in 10 plans to file a Consumer Proposal (7%) or declare Bankruptcy (6%). Four percent say they will sell their home.

Gilbertson says consumer insolvencies are expected to spike in B.C. in the wake of the pandemic as many British Columbians were already feeling a tremendous strain on their pocketbooks.

“There is a significant number in the province who have experienced a loss in wages as a result of COVID-19. The current relief measures have provided some much-needed breathing room, but the underlying financial problems are still there. We will start to see more people defaulting and it’s important these individuals know their rights. There is help available,” she says.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are government-regulated debt relief professionals who can review all debt relief options. They are empowered to help debtors reorganize their financial affairs and, where appropriate, can even help them avoid Bankruptcy by facilitating an agreement with their creditors. They can also guarantee legal protection from creditors as they guide individuals through the Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy process.


MNP LTD, a division of the national accounting firm MNP LLP, is the largest insolvency practice in Canada. For more than 50 years, our experienced team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees and advisors have been working with individuals to help them recover from times of financial distress and regain control of their finances. With more than 230 offices from coast-to-coast, MNP helps thousands of Canadians each year who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt. Visit MNPdebt.ca to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee or use our free Do it Yourself (DIY) debt assessment tools

In light of the social distancing measures currently in place, MNP LTD is currently offering free consultations via videoconferencing (Skype, Messenger, Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) and by phone. Their team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees are empowered to help those struggling financially to make the most informed choices to deal with their debt during this time.

Consultation icon