Nfld. & Labrador

Insolvency filings spike in oil-producing provinces, federal data show

The slumping oil market is taking a heavy toll on consumers in Canada, federal statistics suggest, as personal insolvency filings spiked in energy-producing provinces over the past year.
The drop in the oil and gas sector has placed a heavy burden on consumers in Canada, bankruptcy statistics show. (Norm Betts/Bloomberg News)

The slumping oil market is taking a heavy toll on consumers in Canada, new federal statistics suggest, as personal insolvency filings spiked in energy-producing provinces over the past year.

Consumer insolvency filings were about five per cent higher in April 2016 than they were during the same month last year, according to a report recently released by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.

The increase was led by huge spikes in Canada's major oil-producing provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Alberta saw 1,172 consumer bankruptcies and debt proposals in April, compared to 767 in April 2015. That 53 per cent increase is trailed by Saskatchewan — which saw a 38 per cent spike.

Newfoundland and Labrador saw its filings increase by 36 during that same time frame, a 20 per cent increase.

Manitoba saw a 46 per cent spike.

The Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals said in a release that it is continuing to see sharp increases in consumer bankruptcies and debt proposals.

"It takes time for the full impact of layoffs to be felt," said Ian Schofield, the association's board secretary.

"There are thousands of Canadians affected by oil prices that bottomed out about a year ago, and trustees are seeing the impact of that."

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