As Albertans are faced with rising debt and declining expectations that their personal financial situations will improve, the cost of living seems only to continue rising.
The issue has been building for years, and even the most carefully tended savings accounts are dwindling as the province’s economic downturn drags on.
According to credit-monitoring company Equifax Canada’s latest report, the 90-day-plus delinquency rate for nationwide non-mortgage credit hit 1.15 per cent, a 9.7 per cent increase from the same time last year – with Alberta third among provinces for the most significant increase at 12 per cent.
Mortgage delinquencies have also been on the rise, according to Equifax. The 90-day-plus delinquency rate for mortgages rose 6.7 per cent from last year. Again, Alberta takes third for most significant increase at 14.8 per cent.
The situation is bleak for many Albertans and insolvency is on the rise. According to 2019 fourth quarter numbers from Statistics Canada, the province saw a 14.5 per cent increase in its total number of insolvencies as of Dec. 31, 2019, compared to the same time the previous year.
Yet the topic of debt remains a dirty little secret. Of those surveyed last year by Angus Reid for Credit Canada, one third declared it taboo to discuss personal debt or bankruptcy, preferring to discuss religion, politics and family or relationship issues above money.
However, when there is silence, there is less chance to uncover the resources available to help turn the situation around, and the suffering and debt-growth are prolonged.
Not-for-profit credit counselling services are a good start, but the mental anguish created by these situations is also important to address. We hope those struggling can find the strength to ask for help.