A new survey finds Ontario families and individuals are already falling behind on personal finances during the COVID-19 crisis.
The study, conducted by Bromwich+Smith Licensed Insolvency Trustees with Leger Research, reveals 49% of Ontarians have experienced an immediate income reduction. 19% of Ontario households are already behind on payments with credit cards, utilities and cell phone bills being the first to lag behind. The survey finds 50% of Ontarians say they are worried about falling behind at some point in the future.
The survey, conducted over a 24 hour period on March 23, also found in Alberta 49% of households have experienced an income reduction and 24% are behind on payments. In British Columbia, 51% are experiencing lower incomes and 19% per cent are already behind on monthly bills.
The study revealed that most Ontarians will first reach for federal and provincial government assistance (40%), while 23% suggested that they “don’t know what to do” nor what action to take.
“During these unprecedented times, it is important that Ontario residents know it is okay to reach out to professionals for financial advice. There is no shame in struggling with finances – we are all in this together”, said Jasmine Marra, vice-president at Bromwich+Smith, in a prepared statement.
“If you are unable to pay your debts as they become due, Ontarians need to reach out to access government programs offered, call their mortgage lender to see if a deferral could work for them or call a licensed insolvency trustee to understand if restructuring debts makes sense for their current state.”