Quebecers Wary And Embarrassed About Seeking Debt Relief

2019-07-29   minute read

Frederic Lachance

MNP Consumer Debt Index

  • Three in ten say the stigma of Bankruptcy prevents them from seeking help
  • Half say they would be too embarrassed to seek help
  • Three in ten say they don’t know how to get out of debt or where to turn for help
  • More than half say they have difficulty trusting companies to help get them out of debt

Montreal skyline during a fall sunset

MONTREAL,QC – July 29, 2019 – Quebec residents who find themselves in serious financial trouble could be digging themselves into a deeper hole by not seeking help when they need it. A new survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD, shows 4 in 10 Quebecers (41%) say they would be embarrassed to get help if their financial situation was bad enough to consider Bankruptcy. Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) survey respondents say that the stigma surrounding Bankruptcy prevents them from seeking help.

“Unmanageable consumer debt or financial hardship is extremely lonely and isolating because the guilt prevents people from talking about it. Unfortunately, our survey shows those who are most in need of help are the least inclined to ask for it,” says Grant Bazian, president of MNP LTD, the country’s largest insolvency firm.

About 118 people in Quebec filed a bankruptcy or a consumer proposal each day in the first quarter of 2019 — the most comparted with all other provinces — according to the most recent data from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB).

While almost sixty per cent (58%) of Quebecers would rate their personal debt as bad, nearly three in ten (28%) said they don't know how to get out of debt or where to turn for help. What's more, is that there is a lack of trust among Quebec residents when it comes to debt relief professionals. Half of Quebecers (49%) say that they have a hard time trusting professional companies to help them get out of debt.

"The biggest mistake people make is delaying getting help until they are in an absolutely dire situation. The trust issue may stem partially from a lack of financial literacy and awareness about debt-relief options," says Lachance. "What people need to know is that there is a regulated system in place to help severely indebted individuals to regain financial stability. Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only professionals authorized to offer relief options such as consumer proposals and bankruptcies," he says adding that Quebecers should be wary of any companies that aggressively market quick-fix debt forgiveness.

"Our survey consistently tells us that about forty per cent of Quebec residents are $200 or less away from financial insolvency at month-end. So, if you are struggling, it's important to know that you are not alone. There is absolutely no need to be embarrassed to seek help," says Lachance. 

An overwhelming majority of Quebecers (81%) believe that there is no shame in seeking financial help with one's debt. There is also a fair amount of sympathy towards those who have to declare bankruptcy. Fewer than four in ten (38%) agree with the statement that those who declare bankruptcy are looking for the easy way out of their financial problems.

MNP Consumer Debt Index – Update

The latest wave of the MNP Debt Index shows that Quebecers' overall attitudes towards their personal financial situation have improved slightly since March. The number of Quebecers $200 or less away from financial insolvency at month-end decreased eight points to 43 per cent. Those in Quebec (43%, -8pts), Alberta (44%, -4pts), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (40%, -6pts), Ontario (44%, -4pts), Atlantic Provinces (46%, -9pts) saw the biggest declines, whereas British Columbia (44%, +5pts) has seen a sharp increase.

Not only do Quebecers see their current situation as being better than it was in the past, but also are starting to envision a better future ahead for themselves. Four in ten (41%) think their debt situation will be better a year from now, with net optimism up eight points from March to stand at 28 per cent. Looking five years into the future, almost half (48%) believe that their future debt situation will be better than it is today, with net optimism up a staggering 12 points to 42 per cent. 

Still, six in ten Quebecers (58%, unchanged) don't feel like they will be able to cover their family and living expenses without going into further debt and are still concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation (41%, -4pts). Three in ten indicate they regret the amount of debt they've taken on in their life (31%, unchanged) and are concerned about their level of debt (32%, -3pts).

After an all-time high in June 2018, the MNP Consumer Debt Index has been on a gradual decline. The latest data, representing the ninth wave, shows the decline has at least been temporarily halted as the index holds steady at 97. 


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 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.

About the MNP Consumer Debt Index

The MNP Consumer Debt Index measures Canadians' attitudes toward their consumer debt and gauges their ability to pay their bills, endure unexpected expenses, and absorb interest-rate fluctuations without approaching insolvency. Conducted by Ipsos and updated quarterly, the Index is an industry-leading barometer of financial pressure or relief among Canadians. Visit to learn more.

The latest data, representing the ninth wave of the MNP Consumer Debt Index, was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between June 14 and June 17, 2019. For this survey, a sample of 2,111 Canadians aged 18 years and over was interviewed. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.4 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.

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