(TORONTO, ON) – Forget about falling oil prices. Suncor Energy’s announcement of 1,000 job losses sounded like a whimper once Target said it would close up shop in Canada. Left in its wake will be 17,600 unemployed Canadians and 133 empty retail properties.
Laying off a workforce the size of a small town couldn’t come at a worse time:
Equifax says the average Canadian holds $20,891 in non-mortgage debt.
More than half of Canadians are living paycheque-to-paycheque, according to the Canadian Payroll Association.
Statistics Canada says there are five unemployed Canadians for every job vacancy.
That’s why non-profit Consolidated Credit Counseling Services is offering free financial advice and services to help soften the blow felt by the nearly 18,000 soon-to-be unemployed Target workers.
“It’s going to hurt – no doubt about it,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit. “But we’d like to help these people gain as much control as possible in these tough times.”
Schwartz is encouraging Target employees to speak with one of Consolidated Credit’s trained credit counsellors by calling 1-888-274-8691. They’ll get to work with trained credit counsellors on how to best safeguard themselves against what is on the horizon, and learn how to survive a layoff.
“We will assess each individual case and break down the options available,” says Schwartz. “Sometimes a few tweaks to a budget or lifestyle can be enough to gain some breathing room – but it’s important to act now.”
In the meantime, Consolidated Credit offers the following tips to help Target employees brace themselves for upcoming unemployment:
- Look to the next chapter – Though hardly a silver lining, at least Target employees know what is coming, and they can begin their job search now. At this point, the main goal should be securing the next form of income, so find any job available. You can always continue your job search to find something more ideal, but for the time being, you need to pay the bills.
- Shrink your spending immediately – Now is a very important time to draw the distinction between wants and needs. Do an audit of your spending and find out where you can cut back – some of the logical targets may be reducing your cable/data package, dining in, and your grocery bill. Living lean over the next few months will reduce the odds that you’ll go into debt.
- It’s not paid vacation – Target employees know that they will receive paycheques for the next 16 weeks. Don’t treat this as an opportunity to relax – carefully plan how this money will be spent, and make a long-term plan so that you can maximize the remainder of your income.
- Look into EI benefits – Employment Insurance is not a guarantee. Requirements vary across Canada. Even if you do qualify, there can be delays and long wait times – get on it today.
“Layoffs are something that we can’t control,” adds Schwartz. “But we can take an active role in our finances, and sometimes a little help can go a long way.”
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Jacob MacDonald, Public Relations Coordinator, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 647-390-5253, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]