15 percent of Canadians are ‘underbanked’ — here’s what that means and why it’s a barrier to equitable recovery

Unfair banking practices like predatory lending force vulnerable people into a vicious cycle of debt, making it harder to move out of poverty.

Why It Matters

An equitable recovery for Canadians means the financial sector needs to address deep structural issues — and find alternative banking models that support low-moderate income people.

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When Peter Jongeneelen went through a separation and divorce, he stood at the foot of a mountain of finances. There was child support and his own bills to pay – all while trying to start a new life. He was living paycheck to paycheck at the time, sometimes unable to afford his hydro bill in the middle of winter. Jongeneelen filed for bankruptcy. 

Not long after, Jongeneelen was diagnosed with peripheral dispersion glaucoma, a partial sight disability, which worsened his situation. Many of the regular jobs he was used to, including working in restaurants and the fishery industry, were off the table. He had to take what he could get to make ends meet. 


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