Four in 10 (44%) Ontarians’ Work Situation Affected By Pandemic

2020-06-22   minute read

David Gowling

MNP Consumer Debt Index


One-Third (35%) are Losing Sleep Over Economy (+15)

BURLINGTON, ON  – June 22, 2020 – As the Ontario economy begins to re-open after months of being shuttered, four in 10 (44%) Ontarians’ work situation are still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent poll by Ipsos carried out on behalf of MNP LTD has found almost two in 10 are either working reduced hours or receiving reduced pay (17%) or have lost their job (15%). In addition, many say someone in their household has lost their job (14%) or is working reduced hours or receiving reduced pay (9%).

Toronto skyline at sunset with reflection of skyscrapers in the water

“While some are starting to head back to more regular work, their pay or hours might not be the same as before. That coupled with delaying payments over the last few months, and already being stretched thin before the pandemic, means a lot of people will not be able to meet their debt repayment obligations. I would recommend anyone who finds themselves in that position speak with a professional who can offer debt advice,” says David Gowling, a Burlington-based Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD.

Many are increasingly concerned about the longer-term effects of the pandemic. A third (35%) in Ontario say they are worried about the economic fallout from COVID-19, a whopping 15-point increase from March. They are also worried about the current state of the Canadian economy (31%, +6), and the chances of a recession (25%, +2).

Despite high unemployment and concerns about the economy, Ontarians are feeling slightly better about their personal financial situations now than they were in March. This is likely due to government support helping some families stay afloat. Compared to levels measured just before the pandemic hit Canada, Ontarians are less worried about how they will pay their bills (19%, -14) and affording the necessities for their family (17%, -11): both the largest declines compared to the other provinces. Ontarians are also now less worried about their level of debt (20%, -10).

“When we see people with money issues or who have become insolvent, job loss is usually one of the biggest catalysts. In this situation, the short-term government financial support has fortunately softened the initial blow for many. But if you are feeling like you are in over your head, you should be making a plan for how to cope when that support runs out.”

What Canadians Plan to Do When CERB Runs Out

Nationally, the survey looked at what Canadians plan to do when emergency benefits offered during the coronavirus pandemic run out. Many who are currently receiving COVID-19-related government financial support say they will have to simply cut back any way they can when it 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.

Gowling says that consumer insolvencies are expected to spike in Ontario in the wake of the pandemic as many Ontarians were already feeling a tremendous strain on their pocketbooks.

“Relief measures like CERB have been a much-needed lifeline for those in the province who have felt the impact of wage loss during COVID-19. While these measures have been helpful in providing some breathing room for many, individuals will need to address their underlying financial problems in the long term,” says Gowling.

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 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.

About the Survey

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 1-2, 2020, on behalf of MNP LTD. For this survey, a sample of 2,001 Canadians aged 18 years and over was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error.

A summary of the national data is available by request.

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