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Record-high debt levels, interest rate hikes and a jump in payday loan use are being cited as just some of the reasons more and more Canadians are reaching out for professional debt help. BNN Bloomberg spoke with debt help experts from the insolvency industry across the country, who weighed in on the trends they’re seeing.

“The tide has turned, and the water’s starting to rise. Now it’s just a question of how quickly does it rise.”
– Ted Michalos, Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc. Licensed Insolvency Trustee

The overall consensus of Licensed Insolvency Trustees interviewed comes following a November 2018 prediction by the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) that within the next year there would be an increase in the number of Canadians forced to seek legal debt relief options.

CAIRP’s statement suggested that rising interest rates and consumer debt levels would begin to catch up on consumers who may have been keeping clear of a debt problem thanks to more access to credit and previously low rates. As CAIRP points out, there has historically been a 2-year window between when interest rates increase and the increase of consumer insolvency filings.

The predicted rise in insolvency filings may already be underway – according to some Licensed Insolvency Trustees, the typical December industry-wide slowdown just hasn’t happened this year.

Residents across Metro Vancouver are likely to be feeling a serious financial burden from the increase in interest rates on top of high housing costs. As Blair Mantin, Vice-President and Licensed Insolvency Trustee at Sands & Associates explained, many clients of his Vancouver office have rent costs that take up 50% or more of their income. Even homeowners are finding themselves in financial difficulty due to overextending themselves on a mortgage or relying on home equity as borrowing collateral.

While payday loans have long been deemed risky borrowing by many insolvency professionals, with debt servicing costs and living expenses outpacing income, many more consumers may find themselves turning to payday and bigger installment loans to fill the gap. Mantin, who previously referred to payday loans as the “crack cocaine” of credit and explained that one payday loan often starts a borrowing cycle that is difficult to break says he is now sometimes seeing these types of “last resort” loans as high as $15,000 for a single loan.

More about Licensed Insolvency Trustees
In Canada only one type of debt professional is legally endorsed and recognized by the government to help consumers deal with their debts – a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (formerly known as a Bankruptcy Trustee).

Virtually all types of debt can be consolidated, reduced and effectively written-off by filing a Consumer Proposal with the help of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, or alternatively by claiming personal bankruptcy.

Your creditors cannot prevent you from seeking guidance from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, and no referral is required.

Make 2019 your year for a financial fresh start! Learn how you can write-off debt while avoiding personal bankruptcy – book your free debt consultation with a caring local debt professional at Sands & Associates.