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COVID's emotional cost

COVID is catching up.

I remember conversations from last March and April as we were trying to anticipate the implications and fallout from a world-wide pandemic.

I remember the great toilet paper hunt of 2020. I remember wondering about how homeowners would be affected if they had to go months without income.

In conversations with other brokers, I recall speculating about when our world would be back to normal.

Lenders were quick to support their mortgage clients by offering payment deferrals. The government came out with programs to help support those who weren’t working.

As we moved through last year and many people found ways to go back to work, it seemed like (for most people) we were adapting to our new normal.

So here we are, a year into the pandemic.

There are friends and neighbours among us who have been unable to return to their chosen careers due to the nature of their work.

I have had a few heartbreaking conversations with clients over the last few weeks. And the number of these calls seems to be increasing.

Clients who have exhausted their savings, maxed out all their credit cards trying to make ends meet, found work in different fields, revamped their lifestyles, and then received a bill from the government saying they didn’t actually qualify for CERB so they now have to repay almost $10,000.

For this family, this bill was the proverbial last straw.

My client is an event planner, specializing in international music festivals. Last spring, she had a full slate lined up for the year. Her partner works in advertising. He was able to adapt his work and has been operating at about 75% capacity as compared to before COVID hit.

She estimated that she lost more than $150,000 in revenue last year.

This is the heartbreaking part of the story. Both self-employed, and both were heading into what they thought was going to be a banner year for their businesses.

They had been working hard for years to get to where they were. Relief was in site.

Here we are a year later. We are working to refinance their home to pull equity to pay off their credit cards and reduce their monthly bills.

I got a little choked up during one of our calls. My client said she was mortified about having to go down this road. She said it took them more than a month to work up to calling about a refinance once they realized they had reached their breaking point.

They had a plan. They had been working diligently on this plan with their finances, and this past year has set them back to where they were five years ago.

This call in particular was a sobering one for me. I am sure there are many families out there who are struggling but doing their best to maintain the lifestyle they led prior to COVID.

If you have significant equity in your home, refinancing may be an option to help reset your finances and reduce your monthly bills. Although this may not be an ideal solution, if you are losing sleep because creditors are looking for payments you don’t have it may be the solution that works for now.

For families that are still struggling with reduced income, if you are a homeowner it may be worthwhile to reach out to your mortgage person.

Even with changes to income, there are lenders offering refinances at reasonable rates that may provide the solution that allows some breathing room for you.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

Tracy Head and Laurie Baird help busy families find mortgage solutions. Together they have more than 45 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

With today’s increasingly complicated mortgage rules, Tracy and Laurie spend time getting to know the people they work with and help them to better understand the mortgage process. They support their clients before, during, and after their mortgage is in place.

Tracy and Laurie work closely with their clients, offering advice and options. With access to more than 40 different lenders, Tracy and Laurie are able to assist with residential, commercial, and reverse mortgages in order to match the needs of their clients with the right mortgage package.

They work closely with their clients to find the right fit, and are around to provide support for years down the road!

Contact them at 250-862-1806 or visit

Visit their blog at


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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