Albertans on the economy: More than half say the worst is yet to come

2023-04-11  3 minute read

Donna Carson

MNP Consumer Debt Index

Nearly half of Albertans report being $200 away or less from not being able to meet all of their bills and debt repayments, up five points since last quarter.

  • More than half believe the worst part of the economic cycle is yet to come (54%).
  • A third feel economic conditions over the last six months were worse than they expected (34%).
  • Nearly half (47%, +5pts) report that they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all of their financial obligations, including three in 10 (31%,    +2pts) who are already insolvent.  
  • Albertan households’ average money left over at month-end dropped by $296 since last quarter to $682 — the largest decline of any other province.
  • Three in five (62%, -2pts) Albertans are worried about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation.


CALGARY, AB – April 11, 2023 – Personal finances continue to be a source of stress for Albertans, as more than half anticipate the situation will continue to deteriorate, according to the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index conducted quarterly by Ipsos. When asked about the impact of the current economic conditions in Canada on their personal finances, more than half (54%) of Albertans say they believe that the worst is yet to come, while a third (32%) feel we are currently experiencing the worst part of the economic cycle. Only 14 percent are optimistic enough to say the worst is behind us.

“As Albertans contend with inflation and higher interest rates, heavily indebted individuals may justifiably feel that the situation could deteriorate further,” says Donna Carson, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with Alberta-based MNP LTD. “There is limited financial flexibility for many households on a tight budget. That underscores the impact of higher interest rates, especially on those who are least equipped to handle it.”

A third (34%) of Albertans feel the economic conditions were worse than they expected over the last six months. Nearly half (47%, +5pts) report that they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all of their financial obligations at month’s end. That includes three in 10 (31%, +2pts) who already don’t make enough to cover their bills and debt payments.

As the number of insolvent Albertans increases, the average amount of money households have left over at the end of the month has dropped significantly to $682, down $296 from the previous quarter. Albertans also experienced by far the largest drop in money left over among all provinces. Three in five (62%, -2pts) say they’re concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation.

However, with interest rates stabilizing after last year’s successive increases, Carson notes that Albertans are feeling some reprieve. Significantly fewer (53%) say they’ll be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more — a 13-point drop since last quarter and the largest decrease amongst the provinces. Additionally, far fewer Albertans are concerned about their ability to pay their debts as interest rates rise (51%, -14pts), the largest provincial decline.

Increasing nine points, more than half are confident that they can cover all living / family expenses in the next year without going further into debt (58%). Compared to the other provinces, Albertans are the least likely to be concerned about their current level of debt (41%), dropping 11 points. The majority of Albertans continue to be more careful with how they spend their money (84%, -2pts).

"The findings show Albertans are more confident about their financial outlook, although concerns remain due to persistent worries about interest rates and inflation. Many lower-income Albertans may not be able to find a financial comfort zone without professional help," Carson explains.

“I recommend Albertans be proactive in managing their debt whether they’re anticipating the worst or hoping for the best,” advises Carson. “Monitor your budget closely and establish an emergency fund to cover unforeseen expenses such as higher debt servicing costs or a car repair. If you receive a tax return this year, set aside that money for your emergency fund or use it to pay off any outstanding debts.

Carson advises that Albertans struggling to pay their bills should seek professional help right away to avoid a cycle of increasing debt and interest payments, which often lead to longer-term financial hardship.

“The stigma associated with Bankruptcy often prevents people from seeking assistance, which only exacerbates their financial difficulties and can result in more severe repercussions like harassment from collection agencies and wage garnishments,” she says.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only professionals who can offer unbiased, customized advice about all of the debt-relief options, including informal debt settlement, Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy. They can stop or prevent collection calls and wage garnishments, as well as offer legal protection from creditor actions. MNP offers Free Confidential Consultations with Licensed Insolvency Trustees across Canada.


MNP LTD, a division of the national accounting firm MNP LLP, is the largest insolvency practice in Canada. For more than 50 years, our experienced team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees and advisors have been working with individuals to help them recover from times of financial distress and regain control of their finances. With more than 240 Canadian offices from coast to coast, MNP helps thousands of Canadians each year who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt. Visit to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee or use our free Do it Yourself (DIY) debt assessment tools. For regular, bite-sized insights about debt and personal finances, subscribe to the MNP 3-Minute Debt Break Podcast.

About the MNP Consumer Debt Index

The MNP Consumer Debt Index measures Canadians’ attitudes toward their consumer debt and gauges their ability to pay their bills, endure unexpected expenses, and absorb interest-rate fluctuations without approaching insolvency. Conducted by Ipsos and updated quarterly, the Index is an industry-leading barometer of financial pressure or relief among Canadians.

Now in its 24th wave, the Index has rebounded to 89 points, up 12 points from the all-time low recorded last quarter. Visit to learn more.

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between March 7 and March 14, 2023. For this survey, a sample of 2,004 Canadians aged 18 years and over was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error. 

National data is available upon request.

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