Ottawa Insolvency Rate Reaches Highest Level In Five Years

2019-06-13   minute read

John Haralovich

MNP Consumer Debt Index

OTTAWA, ON – The consumer insolvency rate in Ottawa has reached the highest point in five years, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy’s most recent annual report. The number of consumer insolvencies per thousand residents in Ottawa, aged 18 years or above, hit 3.8 in 2018 — the highest level since 2013, when it also sat at 3.8.

View of Parliament hill from across the river

A recent survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD underscores the consumer debt challenges in Ontario. It found almost three-quarters (72%) of Ontarians say they owe more than $1,000, and four in ten (39%) say they don’t have enough cash on hand to pay their debts as they become due. Three in ten (28%) admit to not making all their debt payments on time and say they owe more than they’re worth (32%).

“There’s a real lack of preparedness when it comes to emergency savings, which puts many at risk of overextending themselves to the point of financial crisis. It’s not just day-to-day overspending that puts people in the red, but those unexpected life events,” explains John Haralovich, a debt expert and Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD. 

With many Ontarians experiencing tightening monthly budgets, it’s little surprise that just over a third are confident they could manage financially if faced with an unexpected expense. Ontarians aren’t confident in their ability to cope with unexpected auto repairs or purchases (26%), having an illness and being unable to work for three months (28%), loss of employment (31%), paying for their own or someone else’s education (37%), a change in relationship status like a divorce or separation (26%) or the death of an immediate family member (33%).

“A lot of people are unable to make any kind of meaningful reduction in their principal debt and likely to take on more if they encounter unexpected expenses,” says Haralovich. “In these circumstances, debt relief options are the only way for them to regain financial stability.”

Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcies both put a freeze on creditors and allow someone to eventually get out of debt while paying only a portion of what they owe. But there are differences in the two scenarios. Primarily that, under a Consumer Proposal, the amount repaid can typically be negotiated with creditors, whereas Bankruptcies may require one to sell assets and / or make legislatively-directed payments. 

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only federally regulated professionals who can provide regulated insolvency options, such as consumer proposals and bankruptcies. They have extensive knowledge of governing legislation and are empowered by the federal government to help debtors make the most informed choices to deal with their debt. 


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 who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt each year. Visit to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee or get a free checkup for your debt health using the MNP Debt Scale.

MNP LTD is the creator of the MNP Consumer Debt Index, an industry-leading national barometer of financial pressure among Canadians. Conducted by Ipsos and updated quarterly, the Index measures Canadians’ attitudes toward their consumer debt and gauges their ability to pay their bills, endure unexpected expenses, follow a budget and absorb interest rate fluctuations without approaching insolvency. The next MNP Consumer Debt Index is set to be released in July 2019.

About the Survey

The survey was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between March 13 and March 24, 2019. For this survey, a sample of 2,070 was interviewed online. 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 Canadians 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.

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