TORONTO, April 29, 2020 – Many Canadians with unstable employment could sink deeply into debt, as they may not have sufficient savings to get through the COVID-19 pandemic period, and may be ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit that currently supports various groups of workers who have lost their jobs or have seen their jobs affected by COVID-19.
A number of these Canadians already experience unpredictable income flow, in their positions as gig economy workers, contract employees and freelancers. Consequently, the coronavirus crisis may have further exacerbated their already unstable financial situation.
“The absence of a regular paycheque from full-time employment creates considerable financial stress for Canadians. The current crisis exposes the additional problem that for many essential workers in caregiving and other services, a patchwork of jobs still earns barely enough income to get by,” says Economics and Public Policy Professor Brenda Spotton Visano in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University.
“Unstable employment means unstable income and that can mean precarious personal finances. And as Canadians get back to work, many more will have to confront the challenge of managing their precarious personal finances in a post-pandemic economy,” she adds.
According to Visano, the standard financial literacy materials guide those on a steady, periodic income, but are not as helpful for those with fluctuating income, who face certain additional challenges.
To assess one’s financial situation and align income and expenditure flows, it is important to: track income flows and spending patterns; identify short- and long-term budget goals; and categorize and create monthly maps of expenses, among other things.
Visano also points out that considering health insurance coverage and setting aside money for retirement will be wise, as many with precarious employment and irregular income are not part of employer-sponsored health benefits or pension plans.
Visano is available to offer personal finance tips on:
- How to manage financially when income is unstable
- Restoring control over finances during and after unexpected emergencies such as a pandemic
- How to manage consumer debt
- Rebuilding an emergency fund
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