More than half of British Columbians concerned about repaying debt amid high interest rates and inflation, revealing financial strain and mental health impact

  • More than half of British Columbians (56%, -1 pt) are concerned about their ability to repay their debts.
  • More report making only minimum payments on their line of credit (14%) compared to 2021.
  • Nearly one in five (16%) say they took from savings, home equity, RSP, or alternative methods to pay debt or day-to-day expenses in the last year.
  • British Columbians say their financial situation is taking a toll on their mental health, causing them anxiety (59%), stress (58%), isolation (40%), or embarrassment (33%).

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VANCOUVER, BC – January 8, 2024 – The impact of inflation and higher interest rates is leaving British Columbians feeling pessimistic about their debt situation, according to the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index. More than half of British Columbians are concerned about their ability to repay their debts (56%, -1 pt), and two in five regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on in life (44%, -1 pt).

Inflation, higher interest rates, and mounting debt are also taking a toll on mental health in the province. Three in five British Columbians say their financial situation causes them anxiety (59%) and stress (58%). Two in five say their financial situation causes them to feel a greater sense of isolation (40%), and a third state they are embarrassed by the amount of debt they owe (33%). More than a quarter (28%) admit to hiding their credit card debt from friends and family.

“British Columbians are facing upcoming mortgage renewals, increasing costs, and the additional pressure of holiday bills coming due. Many could be approaching a crisis point both mentally and financially,” says Linda Paul, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD in the Lower Mainland.

Nearly one in five (16%) British Columbians say they needed to take money from savings, home equity, RSP, or alternative methods to pay debt or day-to-day expenses in the past year. Additionally, about one in five (18%) British Columbians say they have only made the minimum payments towards the balance on their credit card, down four points since 2021. More report making only the minimum payments on their line of credit (14%), an increase of two points compared to 2021. Nearly one in five (16%) indicate they borrowed money they can’t afford to pay back quickly, up four points since 2021.

“Eventually, some realize that there’s no clear path to repay what they owe, no matter the timeline or interest rate. This is often a very isolating, stressful, and sometimes embarrassing experience,” explains Paul.

She says that the shame and guilt associated with unmanageable debt often cause people to delay getting help, and many draw out the situation using credit to stay afloat. Some may face aggressive collections activity or debt relief scams — resulting in more stress and sleepless nights.

“Financial security and preparedness contribute to an individual’s overall well-being. Those facing significant financial distress should seek help, the same way someone experiencing a health emergency would seek help,” says Paul.

MNP’s national team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees offers free consultations to help severely indebted British Columbians get unbiased debt advice, understand their rights, and determine the best path forward. Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only federally regulated debt professionals who can assist with all the debt relief options, including Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy, stop harassment from debt collectors, and discharge people from debt.

“Our clients have often needlessly grappled with debt for a long time, sometimes spanning years or even decades, before they seek assistance,” Paul explains. “A Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal may be necessary for some, but others may simply need guidance to create a budget and a strategy to tackle their debts. Each person’s circumstances are different, which is why it is important to get personalized, unbiased advice from a licensed professional.”


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 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 twenty-seventh wave, the Index decreased to 83 points, down three points since last quarter. Visit to learn more.

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between November 28 and December 4, 2023. For this survey, a sample of 2,000 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.

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