More than half of Ontarians say they’re already feeling the effects of interest rate increases, up six points since December

  • Two in five Ontarians say rising interest rates could drive them closer to Bankruptcy (39%, +5pts).
  • More than half say they’re concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation (56%, +3pts).
  • More than half say they’re more concerned about their ability to repay their debts as interest rates rise (54%, +1pt).
  • One in five say they’re not financially prepared to deal with rising interest rates (22%, +4pts).

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TORONTO, ON – April 18, 2022 – COVID-19’s enduring financial impacts along with the pressures of increased interest rates and a rising cost of living are weighing down Ontarians’ confidence in their personal finances, according to the MNP Consumer Debt Index, which is conducted quarterly by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD.

The potential for additional interest rate hikes has more Ontarians worried than last quarter. Two in five (39%) say rising rates could drive them closer to Bankruptcy, increasing a notable five points since December. More than half (53%, +6pts) say they’re already feeling the effects of interest rate increases — and around the same number (54%, +1pt) say they’re more concerned about their ability to pay their debts.

“The affordability crisis driven by rising interest rates and a higher cost of living is increasing the financial pressure on households in Ontario,” says Caryl Newbery-Mitchell, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD in Toronto.

“Many are likely to rack up more debt in an attempt to cope with rising costs. But as interest rates increase, so will the cost of servicing some of those debts — making them more challenging to pay down. That can start a cycle of debt that is incredibly difficult to break free from.”

Looking ahead, more than half of Ontarians (56%, +3pts) say they’re concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation. One in five (22%, +4pts) say they’re not financially prepared to deal with a rate increase of one percentage point.

“Many people have had to use up their rainy-day savings funds in order to keep up throughout the pandemic,” explains Newbery-Mitchell. “At some point it will become impossible to for some to cover monthly expenses as costs continue to rise, making them technically insolvent.” 

While Ontarians report having the most money left over at month-end ($852), up $172 from December, many households could find themselves unable to cover monthly expenses within the next 12 months. Nearly half (46%, -2pts) report they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all their financial obligations, including 30 percent (+2pts) who say they already don’t make enough to cover their bills and debt payments.

Four in 10 (43%, +1pt) Ontarians are concerned they won’t be able to cover all living / family expenses in the coming year without going further into debt. About four in 10 say they’re concerned about their current level of debt (41%, unchanged) and regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on in life (45%, +1pt).

“Shame and regret are often felt by those who are struggling with a heavy debt burden,” explains Newbery-Mitchell. “The stress and anxiety caused by debt can lead many to convince themselves of things that simply aren’t true: they’ve somehow failed, they’re alone, they’re beyond help, or they can never be free of their debt situation,”

“We’ve all been through so much over the past two years, including a financially devastating pandemic and associated job loss. My advice to anyone struggling is don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t hesitate to get professional debt advice right away.” 

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only professionals that can offer deeply indebted individuals with debt-relief options, including Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy.

Newbery-Mitchell notes that while many people fear they will lose their house or car in a Bankruptcy, there are options that can both protect assets and provide lasting relief from unsecured debt. By filing a Consumer Proposal, for example, an individual may hold onto their assets and repay their unsecured debt through interest free payments that fit their budget.

Both Bankruptcy and Consumer Proposals also provide legal protections that stop wage garnishments and end harassing phone calls from creditors.

“If you’re at or nearing a point where the only way to cover your bills is to use credit cards or other debt, now is the time to seek out a government licensed professional who can provide you with unbiased advice about all of the debt-relief options available,” says Newbery-Mitchell.

About MNP LTD

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 who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt each year. Visit MNPdebt.ca 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 twentieth wave, the Index has dropped one point since last quarter to 87 points, remaining at an all-time low since its inception in June 2017. Visit MNPdebt.ca/CDI to learn more.

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between March 9 to March15, 2022. 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.

A summary of some of the national data is available by request.