Half (52%) of Atlantic Canadians’ Work Situations Affected by Pandemic says NB debt expert

2020-06-22   minute read

Tara Silliker

MNP Consumer Debt Index


One-Third (33%) are Losing Sleep Over Economy (+20)

SAINT JOHN, NB  – June 22, 2020 – As the economy begins to re-open in Atlantic Canada after months of being shuttered, half (52%) of Atlantic Canadians’ work situations 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 (18%) or have lost their job (18%). In addition, many say someone in their household has lost their job (19%) or is working reduced hours or receiving reduced pay (9%).

View of Saint John from a park overlooking the water

“While relief measures have been a lifeline right now for many, for those who already had underlying financial problems before COVID-19, their debt will likely be problematic in the long-term,” says Tara Silliker, a Saint John-based Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD.

Many are increasingly concerned about the longer-term effects of the pandemic. A third (33%) in Atlantic Canada say they are worried about the economic fallout from COVID-19, a whopping 20-point increase from March, the second-largest jump after Alberta. They are also worried about the current state of the Canadian economy (29%, +11) and the chances of a recession (25%, +9).

Despite high unemployment and concerns about the economy, Atlantic Canadians 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 in Canada, Atlantic Canadians are less worried about how they will pay their bills (29%, -4), and their level of debt (25%, -1).

“Job loss can be a significant catalyst for financial issues or in some cases, insolvency. With the help of short-term financial support from the government, the initial impact has been lessened. For those who are struggling to make ends meet now though, I would recommend planning for when the relief is no longer available.”

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 who are 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.

Silliker says consumer insolvencies are expected to spike in Atlantic Canada in the wake of the pandemic as many Atlantic Canadians were already feeling a tremendous strain on their pocketbooks.

“Even before the pandemic, people were having a hard time managing their bills. The pandemic magnified these problems over the last few months and many were forced to delay payments. Now, as they head back to work, some might be facing reduced hours or reduced pay which will even further magnify their debt problems. Rather than letting debts continue to pile up, now is the time to seek out debt advice from a professional,” advises Silliker.

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.

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.

Consultation icon