Half (55%) of Albertans’ Work Situation Affected by Pandemic, More Than Any Other Province

2020-06-22   minute read

Donna Carson

MNP Consumer Debt Index


Almost Half (44%) are Losing Sleep Over Economy (+30 pts Since March)

CALGARY, AB  – June 22, 2020 – As the Albertan economy begins to re-open after months of being shuttered, half (55%) of Albertans’ work situation is still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – more than any other province. A recent poll by Ipsos carried out on behalf of MNP LTD has found almost two in 10 say they are either working reduced hours or receiving reduced pay (18%) or have lost their job (17%). In addition, many say someone in their household has lost their job (20%) or is working reduced hours or receiving reduced pay (18%).

View of Calgary skyline at sunset

“The majority of Albertans’ work situations are still being affected by the pandemic; those who are getting back to work might not be getting the same hours as before, or the same pay. For those whose budgets were already tight before, the piling debt from delayed payments over the last few months will put them at risk of default. Even with the current financial supports, for many, their pre-COVID-19 financial troubles have remained an underlying problem,” says Donna Carson, a Calgary-based Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD.

Many are increasingly concerned about the longer-term effects of the pandemic as well. Compared to the other provinces, Albertans are the most likely (44%) to say they are worried about the economic fallout from COVID-19, a whopping 30-point increase from March, the largest jump of any province. They are also the most worried about the chances of a recession (31%, +8). Four in 10 are worried about the current state of the Canadian economy (39%, +3).

Despite high unemployment and concerns about the economy, Albertans 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, Albertans are less worried about how they will pay their bills (28%, -12), their level of debt (24%, -10), and affording the necessities for their family (28%, -10).

“While the short-term government financial support softened the initial blow for many, job loss can often be one of the biggest catalysts for financial issues or even insolvency. Those who are struggling with debt should be making a financial plan for when that aid 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.

Carson says that consumer insolvencies are expected to spike in the wake of the pandemic as many Albertans were already feeling strained.

“Various relief measures including CERB have been a lifeline for those in the province who have experienced wage loss as a result of COVID-19. But Albertans have been more affected than the rest of the country. Many might not be able to recover financially and will need to consider debt-relief options,” 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. 

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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