The top accrediting body for Canada’s non-profit credit counsellors has urged greater access to, and transparency around, debt relief amid the coronavirus outbreak’s lasting effect on household finances.
In its statement, Credit Counselling Canada shared what it calls a “Bill of Rights for Canadians in Debt,” which the group says the lending industry should use as guideposts in helping ease the burden on financially struggling households.
Citing recent survey data, CCC said that the greatest challenge for Canadians when it comes to seeking debt assistance was the lack of focus on financial wellness and education, an issue for 72% of survey respondents. Other crucial issues were the lack of transparency around fees (70%) and the lack of transparency around organization’s motives, which affected 70% and 69% of respondents, respectively.
CCC asserts that Canadians have the right to credit counselling that protects client information, is based on experience and standards, and is free from any judgment. CCC also called on the credit industry to provide counselling that is affordable, comprehensive, and helpful in ensuring a better future for every household.
Most importantly, the Bill of Rights called for greater awareness of unbiased and affordable debt relief options, especially for those whose incomes have suffered the most during the pandemic.
“In these unprecedented times, the personal finances of over eight million Canadians have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and many are coping with job losses, reduced incomes, and minimal access to key support services,” said Michelle Pommells, CEO of CCA. “There is a critical and pervasive need to help Canadians navigate the current economic situation, and a ready network of non-profits is available to meet the need.”