What To Do If You Lose Your Job and Have No Money

Recently there has been a lot of media coverage about the potential closing of the GM plant in Oshawa and the effect this will have on the workforce. We know that the union is working hard to stop the closure of the GM plant and ensure that everyone is treated fairly if the GM plant closure does go through.

Looking for new work is always a struggle, especially when so many of your peers are in a similar situation and competition is running high. You shouldn’t have to worry about rent, food and job hunting at the same time, but unfortunately, this is sometimes the case for many.

If you’re in a situation where you know you may be losing your job soon, there are some things you can do ahead of time to prepare.

  1. Save. While it may seem obvious, it’s the most important. If you start saving just $50 to $100 per pay period now, it can make a huge difference when the cheques stop rolling in. We recommend opening a savings account at a no-fee bank like Tangerine and setting up an auto-transfer on pay days. That way the money is set aside automatically and you won’t be tempted to use it.
  2. Start Looking for Work. If and when the company seizes there will be extremely high competition for work, especially in smaller towns like Oshawa. Get ahead of everyone else by finding something that suits your needs. Don’t be afraid to take a small pay cut – it will be better than being unemployed when the time comes.
  3. Clean Up Your Debts. If you have significant debt and are worried that your situation will get worse if you’re potentially unemployed, consider your options. You should make a conscious effort to pay off your debts as quickly as possible. If you’re already in deep and have too much debt, you might need additional help. You can get a free consultation from one of our Licensed Insolvency Trustees in 11 Ontario locations, including Oshawa.

After a business shuts down and you lose your job, consider these steps:

  1. Apply for Employment Insurance (EI). You can receive EI payments of up to 55% of your insurance income for up to 45 weeks while you look for work. Be sure to apply quickly after getting your Record of Employment (ROE).
  2. Access employment services. There are several free, government-run services across the province offering services to help find employment, upgrade existing skills or retrain for new skills. Take advantage of these services! These programs are designed for people in your situation.
  3. Visit a food bank if you need to. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help when you need it. Go online and find your local food bank – the people there will be friendly and help provide you and your family with nutrition.
  4. Consider Ontario Works. Once your EI benefits have stopped, you may be eligible for Ontario Works. Ontario Works will give you benefits for basic needs including shelter and medicine where necessary. Be sure to gather all of the information needed for the application well in advance; that way when you really need the help you won’t be fumbling with forms.
  5. File for bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. Should you find yourself in a scenario where you become increasingly unable to make payments on your debts or bills, contact one of our Licensed Insolvency Trustees across the province to eliminate your debts while you work on regrowth.


Things you should never do after losing your job:

  1. Borrow money from family to make ends meet
  2. Live off your credit cards
  3. Pay your credit card bills with other credit cards
  4. Live beyond your means. Cut back now while you still have a steady income
  5. Make irrational decisions. Speak with a Licensed Trustee before taking any big steps
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