Insolvency activity surging

By James Langton | November 5, 2020 | Last updated on November 5, 2020
1 min read

Insolvencies are on the rise in Canada, according to new data from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB).

The agency reported that the total number of insolvencies, including both bankruptcies and consumer proposals, rose by 18.8% in September from the previous month. Bankruptcies were up by 15.9% and consumer proposals increased by 20.4%.

In Quebec, insolvency activity jumped 25.9% in September to almost 2,300.

With over 2,700 insolvencies, Ontario remained the province with the highest level of activity but the numbers were up a more modest 14.6% from August.

Overall insolvency activity has been down substantially since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic due to an array of government financial supports that were rolled out as well as temporary relief measures from financial institutions.

That trend continued in September, with total insolvency numbers down 35.3% from the same month last year.

Consumer insolvencies decreased by 35.8% from 2019, the OSB reported, and business insolvencies were down by 7.9%.

In fact, insolvency activity overall was down for the 12‑month period ending Sept. 30.

The total number of insolvencies in the period decreased by 19.2%, compared with the same period in 2019.

Consumer bankruptcies were down 29.2%, consumer proposals decreased by 12.3%, and business insolvencies dropped by 18.7%.

The OSB said that the construction sector and the professional, technical and scientific services sector recorded the biggest decrease in the number of insolvencies. The sectors facing the largest increases include retail trade, the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors.

James Langton headshot

James Langton

James is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.