Number Of Financial Insolvencies Hit Recent High In March

The number of Canadians who filed for financial insolvency hit an eight-year high in March, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcies.

In its latest report, the Office reported that Canadian consumer insolvencies rose 5.7% to 11,963 in March, compared with 11,315 in the same month of 2018. It was the highest volume of insolvency filings in any month since March 2011.

After declining for years, insolvencies are beginning to tick up again, stoking concerns that the country’s record level household debt -- $2.17 trillion at the end of the first quarter -- is unsustainable. In volume terms, however, insolvencies are still below the peak of more than 15,000 reached in September 2009, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The term "insolvencies" includes bankruptcies and proposals. Consumer bankruptcies fell 3.9% in March from a year earlier, while proposals, where the debtor agrees with creditors to pay a certain proportion of what’s owed, climbed 12.9%.

On a regional basis, the rate of increase was highest in Manitoba, where consumer insolvencies jumped 29% to 276. Alberta saw a 9% increase to 1,430, while filings in Ontario advanced 7.3% to 3,831.