Canadians on the economy: Half say the worst is yet to come

2023-04-11  3 minute read

Grant Bazian

MNP Consumer Debt Index

MNP Consumer Debt Index rebounds from all-time low, but concern about inflation and interest rates linger.

  • Half believe the worst part of the economic cycle is yet to come (50%).
  • A third feel economic conditions over the last six months were worse than they expected (33%).
  • Three in five say they will be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more (57%, -2pts) and are more concerned about their ability to pay their debts as interest rates rise (60%, -4pts).
  • Nearly half (46%, +1pt) report that they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all of their financial obligations, including three in 10 (30%, unchanged) who are already insolvent.

CALGARY, AB – April 11, 2023 – Personal finances continue to be a major source of stress for Canadians, and half anticipate that the situation will continue to deteriorate, according to the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index conducted quarterly by Ipsos. When asked about the impact of Canada’s current economic conditions on their personal finances, half (50%) say they believe the worst is yet to come, while a third (35%) feel we are currently experiencing the worst part of the economic cycle. Fewer are optimistic about the future, with only 15 percent stating that the worst is behind us.

“Facing both inflation and drastically higher interest rates on their outstanding debts, deeply indebted Canadians may be right to be feeling that the worst is yet to come,” says Grant Bazian, president of MNP LTD., the country’s largest insolvency firm. “There isn’t much financial wiggle room in many household budgets, which illustrates the toll of higher interest rates — especially for those who can least afford it.”

Nearly half (46%, +1pt) of Canadians report that they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all of their financial obligations, including three in 10 (30%, unchanged) who say they already don’t make enough to cover their bills and debt payments. While the number of insolvent Canadians remains consistent, the average amount of money households have left over at the end of the month has dropped slightly to $787, down $64 from the previous quarter. Half (57%, -2pts) of Canadians still say they will be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more. Three in five (61%, -1pt) say they’re concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation.

With interest rates stabilizing after last year’s successive increases, Bazian notes that Canadians are feeling some reprieve. The Index rebounded to 89 points compared to the previous quarter, up 12 points from its all-time low. Fewer Canadians are concerned about their ability to pay their debts, although six in 10 (60%, -4pts) remain ill at ease. More than half say they are confident with their ability to cover all living / family expenses in the next year without going further into debt (55%, +4pts) and less than half are concerned about their current level of debt (46%, -1pt).

The majority of Canadians continue to be more careful with how they spend their money (83%, -4pts). Moreover, three in five households agree they are concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation (61%, -1pt).

"The results reveal a more positive financial outlook among Canadians, although confidence remains lower than levels recorded in 2021 and earlier. This reflects the lingering concerns many have surrounding inflation and interest rates. Many lower-income Canadians cannot find a financial comfort zone," Bazian explains.

Canadians with less than $40K household income and those aged 18-34 and 35-54 are most likely to feel the effects of interest rate increases, be concerned with their ability to repay their debts, say they will be in financial trouble, and fear that rising interest rates are moving them closer towards Bankruptcy.

“Whether expecting the worst or hoping for the best, Canadians should be proactive about managing their debt,” advises Bazian. “Keep a close eye on your budget, and build your emergency fund for any unexpected expenses, from a car repair to an increase in debt servicing costs. If you receive a tax return this year, put it aside for a rainy day or use it to pay down debt.”

Bazian advises Canadians 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.

“Many are hesitant to reach out for help due to the stigma of Bankruptcy, which only prolongs the financial stress and can lead to more serious problems like wage garnishments and harassment by collection agencies,” he says.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only debt-relief 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 has 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-fourth 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.

Provincial data is available upon request.

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