MNP Consumer Debt Index rebounds significantly as debt perceptions improve

2024-04-08  6 minute read

Grant Bazian

MNP Consumer Debt Index

Eight-point increase from last quarter as concerns over interest rates ease, yet repayment anxiety persists for majority of Canadians.

  • Six in 10 are concerned about their ability to repay their debts (58%, -5 pts).
  • Almost half (45%) report being $200 or less away from failing to meet all their financial obligations, including three in 10 (31%, +4 pts) who are technically insolvent.
  • Half of Canadians (49%) are feeling a social squeeze as the financial pressure of social obligations means many simply can’t afford to participate.
  • A third of Canadians say they still haven’t recovered financially from the pandemic four years later.
Canadian Federal Parliament building

CALGARY, AB – April 8, 2024 – The latest MNP Consumer Debt Index has rebounded significantly to 91 points — an eight-point jump since last quarter after a full year of low scores. More Canadians perceive their current debt situation to be better (27%, +5 pts) and significantly fewer rated it as much worse compared to a year ago (16%, -6 pts). With the prospect of interest rate cuts on the horizon, fewer Canadian households are concerned about their level of debt (41%, -6 pts) and fewer regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on in life (44%, -3 pts). A quarter say they are much better equipped to absorb an interest rate increase of one percentage point (25%, +3 pts) or an extra $130 in interest payments (24%, +5 pts).

“The main theme of the latest report is that things are not as bad as they were,” says Grant Bazian, president of MNP LTD, the country’s largest insolvency firm. “Debt perceptions have rebounded from record lows over the last year. Canadians are more confident about their current debt situation, expected debt situation, and ability to absorb interest rate increases. However, Canadian households are still feeling the squeeze from looming mortgage renewals, pandemic-related financial setbacks, and intensifying cost-of-living pressures.”

While fewer this quarter are concerned about their ability to repay their debts (58%, -5 pts), repayment anxiety persists for the majority of Canadians. Consistent with last quarter, nearly half (45%) of Canadians report being $200 or less away from failing to meet all their financial obligations, including three in 10 (31%, +4 pts) who say they already can't cover their bills and debt payments. Additionally, more than half (54%, -3 pts) say they will be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more.

“Navigating the brink of insolvency or grappling with overwhelming debt burdens is more widespread than many people think. It is important to remember that you're not facing these challenges alone,” says Bazian. “Seeking professional debt help sooner rather than later can prevent further escalation and pave a way out of debt.”

Bazian says that the shame and guilt associated with unmanageable debt often cause people to delay getting professional assistance. However, this puts them at risk of aggressive collections activity and debt relief scams — resulting in further stress and isolation.

“Debt is tiresome, draining, and lonely. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis, marked by substantial increases in monthly expenses and food prices, and the enduring financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are compounding debt hardship even further,” explains Bazian.

Half of Canadians (49%) indicate they are feeling a social squeeze on their personal finances and are worried about the amount of money they’ll have to spend on lifestyle and social obligations. Those with poor personal debt ratings are significantly more concerned (75%), given their already precarious financial position. Those aged 18-34 (59%) and 35-54 (58%) are most concerned.

“Many Canadians are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged by how expensive it is to participate in social events or celebrations, such as birthdays, weddings, or graduations. Some may be sinking further into hardship because they simply can’t afford to participate,” explains Bazian.

While a third of Canadians say they have recovered financially since the start of the pandemic in 2020 (33%), an equal proportion say they are in a worse financial state than they were pre-pandemic (32%). Those who are worse off financially are predominantly aged 35-54 and have lower incomes.

“Some Canadians are still in a holding pattern when it comes to their unmanageable debt. However, things will never improve if you don't act. Seeking professional advice from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee is the best first step towards developing a plan to deal with debt. Everyone’s situation is different, which is why it is so important to get personalized, unbiased advice.”

MNP’s national team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees offers free consultations across the country to help severely indebted Canadians 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.


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-eighth wave, the Index increased to 91 points, up eight points since last quarter. Visit to learn more.

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between March 8 and March 15, 2024. 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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