Angela Redish, Janis Sarra, Margaret Schabas
University of British Columbia
For the past five years, the number of Canadians over age 55 who have declared bankruptcy has grown steadily. This is a troubling phenomenon, since presumably economic certainty and freedom would only be more likely in the later stages of life as habits of prudence are inculcated. Our inquiry seeks to explain the phenomenon, more specifically, to discern the causes for the rise of bankruptcy for the group of Canadians who have filed and are over age 55, both regionally and nationally. Our study has made a preliminary analysis of data collected by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) for bankrupts filing from 2003-2005, augmented by a qualitative survey of consumer bankrupts that declared bankruptcy during this period. This project examined the growth in bankruptcies for those over age 55 from a legal, economic, social and philosophical perspective, allowing for a multidisciplinary investigation with research collaborators from the Faculty of Law, Department of Economics and Department of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia to assess the potential and limitations of the fresh start paradigm for older consumer debtors.
If one public policy objective is truly to allow our citizens to "grow old gracefully" by having social and economic security, we need to identify the factors that serve as barriers to realization of that goal and make policy recommendations that would ensure our social and economic instruments are responsive to the underlying causes of consumer bankruptcy.
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The University of British Columbia
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Source: Consumer Policy Research Database