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October 22, 2017 9:14 pm

Debt Over-Load Has Many Struggling

Sunday, August 26, 2012 @ 4:16 AM

Prince George, BC –  The head of a non-profit group that assists people in financially dire straits says he’s not surprised by word the Canadian debt level is at an eight-year high…

According to a debt trend report released by the TransUnion credit agency this past week, non-mortgage debt rose for the second consecutive quarter with the average Canadian owing a total of $26,221 in the second quarter on their credit cards, line of credit, instalment loans, and auto loans.  Here in BC, we topped the country with an average debt load more than $11-thousand higher at $37,879.

Credit Counselling Society President and CEO, Scott Hannah, says, "It’s in line with what we’ve been seeing in the last three months in terms of demand for services from our organization…we’ve seen an increase of approximately 20-percent over the same two months last year, this year."

With a head office in New Westminster, Hannah says he feels one of the main reasons British Columbians are carrying the highest debt load comes down to having, arguably, the most expensive housing costs in the country.  "While we may have the highest housing costs, we don’t have the highest income and so there’s a discrepancy there," he says.  "And so for many people, the ability to put a roof over their heads, manage their living expenses, manage their work expenses and credit obligations is becoming tougher and tougher – let alone put aside any money for retirement."

With auto loan debt making up a large percentage of the average debt-load, Hannah is encouraging people to look past the low interest rates and really assess their financial health before taking the plunge.  "It’s not just a $150 payment every two weeks – it’s that payment plus HST, plus insurance, plus maintenance, let alone if they have the capacity to fit that into their existing budget," he emphasizes.  "It means they’re taking on, in many cases, $20- to $30-thousand dollars of debt."

Hannah is also cautioning those experiencing trouble to be too quick to jump to the enticing offers from debt consolidation companies.  He says there aren’t yet regulations in place to outline rules and practises for the sector and many consumers are finding it’s often not as easy as simply walking away from 50-percent of that debt. 

Hannah says it’s important to get an objective opinion at the first sign of difficulty.  "That’s the time to take a really hard look at how you’re managing your money – are you living within your means?  are you living within your means-and-then-some, artificially inflating your pay cheque with the use of credit?" 

Hannah strongly encourages anyone feeling ‘tipsy’ under their debt-load to seek out an accredited non-profit organization like www.nomoredebts.org, with certified counsellors to offer up not just one solution, but all the options available to buoy those drowning in debt.


I think the rising cost of living and rising tax rates are also contributing to the “big squeeze” for many Canadians.

“Every government is using every means at its disposal to avoid visible tax hikes and to hide the ones they are imposing as far as possible. That does not mean that governments are not raising taxes,” wrote Brown. “Governments everywhere are raising fees, licenses, premiums, penalties, levies, utility rates, tolls and other hidden forms of taxes. They are charging new fees for services, they are extracting new and higher hidden taxes from Crown corporations. And they are deferring tax burdens to future generations through debt, deferral accounts and public-private partnerships.”

Hidden Taxes Strangling B.C. Taxpayers


Nothing in here that a financially educated person doesn’t know! It is easy to blame the government, as we all do,but how about spending 20 bucks on reading materials instead of coffee at Starbucks!
Personal finances are your responsibility not the governments! Most people won’t take the time to do a basic budget and have no idea where their money is spent and what value they getting!
We should hold our government accountable, but we can’t do that if we are not accountable personally!

Absolutely right charles so lets go out and buy a new car!

I would have to agree with cougs78’s statement: “We should hold our government accountable, but we can’t do that if we are not accountable personally!”.

“Easy, cheap credit has created a fantasy world where everyone “deserves” everything right now, and trade-offs and sacrifice have been banished as unnecessary.”


Have you ever checked out the Big Three Websites and priced one of there basic Cars or Pick ups offered by them, than go to a Dealer and look for it and you be told we don’t sell them, we want to sell you the one with all the Option so we can get you deep onto debt and make lots of Money on you, all on 0 down over who knows how many Years. This is one of many Ways to get your self onto Trouble, buying what you can’t pay for it!

I thought that most people wanted government to go to a user pay type system instead of raising taxes in general? So now that they seem to be doing that, people complain?

Which would people prefer? Income taxes like we had 10-15 years ago with lower user fees and stuff like that, or the situation we have now with far lower income taxes and higher user fees?

I was listening to the radio today and they said that Ontario is by far the worst climate for investing in Canada with all of the high taxes and whatnot and that BC is one of the best. I would have thought that the rabid right wingers would at least get together and be consistent when they complain about how the country is going to hell in a hand basket . . .

Have to agree with cougs78 in regards to personal spending habits and how they have changed over the last couple of decades. I think that is a FAR greater contributor to the situation people find themselves in than real taxes and the amounts that some people confuse as being taxes.

Alot of the issue is education with money management. We need to start teaching kids how the canadian taxation, interest, and debt load consequences work. Our curriculum touches on it in high school math classes but not nearly enough. It has been basically up to the parents, whom themselves are terrible at managing money. Instead of making art in grade 8 a mandatory elective it should be basic money management, as dry as that would be…but hey its high school its all dry.

You’re showing your age, oil. The indeed have courses like this now. People are lazy though.

Real wages have gone down in relation to inflation for over 20-years, now and house prices have tripled or more, and gas prices have doubled… and the boomer generation will continue to tell us its a matter of financial education all the while they made it big on the rising housing costs driven by off shore investors and lowering interest rates.

The simple truth is that today’s up and coming generations don’t have nearly the opportunities that recent generations had.

Europe is in a debt hang over, America is entering a debt recession, and China is facing reality sinking in… soon Canadian interest rates will be going back up to normal levels otherwise the pension funds will all be in default… mortgages have gone from 40-years to 25-years and more and more go under water every day… therefor the free ride is over and housing prices will not be able to recover for at least a decade… naturally personal debt levels will go up as people try to maintain their homes in this environment.

The Government and Government entities such as Hydro, ICBC, BC Transit, BCTC, BC Ferries et al: are responsible for a lot of the problems people have to-day.

There is no way you can even suggest that this Liberal Government was a responsible Goverment. The decrease in income tax, acutally amounts to sweet .. all. Its mostly smoke and mirrors.

Huge expenditures like the freeways in Vancouver, Port Mann Bridge, Road expansions around the Province that are not needed. Stupid projects like the Sea to Sky Highway, the Olympics, and many many others, are just the tip of the iceburg.

The Provincial Government, and a lot of Municipalities, (like Prince George) are out of control when it comes to spending. They are in debt up to their ying, yangs, and at the same time are telling people to be more responsible.

The significant increases in Tranit, Ferries, Airline Tickets, BC Hydro, ICBC, are just some of the costs that citizens have to cope with. There are many more.

We need to get the Government out of our faces, and out of our wallets. The cost of Government in this Province is astronomical, and we get very little in return for what we pay.

Most people are conditioned to think that we are getting a resonable **bang** for our tax buck, but in fact all we are getting is shafted.

Time to focus on Government spending and waste, and how Government entities with the full backing of the Government are ripping us off.

People of BC deserve more. We need to grow up and put the Government back to where it belongs. **A servant of the People** Not the other way around.

We need to quit supporting **bad behaviour**. The Liberals need to be kicked out of Government for their past performance, its just that simple.

Have a nice day.

We have had numerous examples of entities like Hydro, BCTC, ICBC, BC Ferries, etc; basically ripping off the public, and raising the costs of these services.

Good read charles! I like the part about Greece having to live within its means! They are unwilling or unable because they have been entitled for so long!
The scary thing is Ontario and Quebec are both in worse shape than Greece.Thank God for the West!

Spending your money to get out of debt sure doesn’t help the economy. Paying off your debts doesn’t create jobs or demand. 6 of one and half a dozen on the other. No winners. Sorry, folks. Carry on.

You can definitely accuse the government of some unwise spending, but this pales in comparison to the 4 billion we spend annually on entitlement programs in B.C.
Just check the 2012 budget and understand where the money goes! 40 years ago government did not have to do the family’s job, but they certainly do now!

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