September 5, 2017


Search google for “how many private mortgages in Canada” and you’ll get 52,000,000 hits.  Search for “how many bankruptcy trustees in Canada?” and you’ll get 5,590,000 hits.  In neither case does the answer readily pop up.

In Canada there are about 900 or so licensed and practicing trustees in bankruptcy – there are several hundred who maintain licenses but work in other professions or related lines of work.  In Ontario mortgage brokers are licensed and regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (“FSCO”).

The people who sell you your mortgage – yes that’s right, they “sell you” your mortgage – are not necessarily mortgage brokers they may also be mortgage agents.  Mortgage agents must work for mortgage brokers and they have passed a distinct set of requirements to be licensed.

A quick search of the FSCO website told us that there are some 284 licensed mortgage brokers or agents in the City of London (ON).  A search of Industry Canada’s website tells us that there are 4 trustee firms and 11 licensed trustees who call London home.

In the London area about 4,000 or so people file a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy with a licensed trustee each year.  However, there are about 60,000 or so homeowners in London who are seeking to renew their mortgage financing or purchase a new home.  That market place is not stagnant by any means, it is very vibrant, people sell to upsize, they sell to downsize, they sell to move elsewhere and other relocate to London.  

Keep in mind too that many people use the equity in their homes to pay down other debts and have 1st, 2nd, 3rd and even 4th and 5th mortgages on the homes.  So when we ask “how many mortgages in Canada?” the question becomes very difficult to answer.  Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (“CMHC”) maintains a record of insured mortgages and the Canadian Bankers Association (“CBA”) keeps track of bank issued mortgages.  But neither of CMHC, CBA or even FSCO has records of how many private mortgages have been issued or what their values are.

We do know that the value of bank issued mortgages in Canada is in the order of 1.4 trillion dollars, so would it be safe to assume that the value of private mortgages is about the same?

Private mortgages have advantages and disadvantages to consumers, for those with marginal credit facilities they provide access to mortgage funds.  And for people with some money sitting in a GIC earning a mere 1.5% per annum they provide an opportunity to get better returns.

Unfortunately we were unable to answer the question about how many mortgages there are in Canada or what the mix of mortgages is, private versus institutional.  However, whichever your choice we do recommend that you find a local, reputable mortgage broker/agent to work with in finding the financing that is right for you and your family.  And always keep in mind that the broker/agent does get paid for “selling you” the mortgage – if s/he is local they probably have a vested interested in providing you with better service.