Canada doesn’t actually have a penny any more – inflation and the cost of making one led the Government of Canada to do away with physical pennies years ago.
So maybe a current offer being made to select Canadians by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is just bringing the old maxim “a penny for your thoughts” into the 21st century.
ESDC is so serious to learn about Canadians’ experiences with reverse mortgages it is offering rewards of up to $250 to qualifying persons to talk to its researchers.
Posters are going up and being circulated online to invite people who have or once had a reverse mortgage to reach out to the ESDC research team. The government also wants to hear from family members directly impacted by a relative’s decision to obtain a reverse mortgage.
The government will pay up to $250 to people who are or have been reverse mortgage holders and up to $100 to affected family members.
The government is showing a keen interest in a number of lending schemes now that inflation is prompting Canada’s central bank to push interest rates higher. The Bank of Canada just announced a half a percentage point hike in its bank rate to 1.5 percent from 1 percent – effectively a 50% increase.
Inflation challenges those who are on a fixed income, including seniors who may own homes, but struggle with cash flow as gas and food prices rise. Along with reverse mortgages, Canadians are being inundated with novel lending ideas such as high-interest revolving credit and buy-now-pay later offers, all of which offer Canadians ways to extend their credit and their debt beyond the boundaries provided by conventional mortgages, term loans and credit card schemes. And many of these new forms of loans are being transacted online.
This is part of a world-wide trend, which has been identifed by Consumers Council of Canada and Consumers International as one of concern.
For Canadians who may feel reluctant to share with government about their experience with reverse mortgages or other problems with lenders, Consumers Council of Canada, as a not-for-profit organization seeking a better marketplace for consumers, accepts descriptions of consumer experiences of all kinds through its website. The Council uses information it receives only for the purposes of bringing consumer experiences and insights to its own research and never shares the identities of submitters without permission. Think of each experience shared with the Council as a personal donation to consumer protection.
However, getting 25,000 pennies for your thoughts is an appealing offer, and the federal government offers privacy protection, too, you could ask about.