More than half of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents say they’re already feeling the effects of interest rate increases, a seven-point jump since December

Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents have the lowest amount of disposable income amongst the provinces

SaskatchewanWheatField

REGINA, SK – April 18, 2022 – Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are feeling the enduring financial impacts of COVID-19 along with the pressure of increased interest rates and a rising cost of living, according to the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index which is conducted quarterly by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD.

Significantly more Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents say they’re already feeling the effects of interest rate increases, jumping seven points from last quarter to 56 percent — the largest increase amongst the provinces. Six in 10 (58%, +3pts) say they’re concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation. Increasing a staggering seven points since December, three in 10 (29%) say they’re not financially prepared to deal with a rate increase of one percentage point.

“Cost of living and interest rate increases have ramped up the financial pressure on Saskatchewan households,” says Pamela Meger, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD in Regina. We see household budgets contracting to the point where it will eventually become impossible for some to cover their monthly expenses — especially those who already find themselves in the red — which makes them technically insolvent.”

Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents have experienced one of the largest decreases in the average amount of money left over at month-end since last quarter, dropping $244 to $467, the lowest amount of disposable income amongst the other provinces. In addition, more than half (55%) report they’re $200 or less from not being able to meet all their financial obligations each month, increasing six points since December. This includes 34 percent who say they already don’t make enough to cover their bills and debt payments, a staggering nine-point increase.

“Many people’s rainy-day savings funds were wiped out through the course of the pandemic,” explains Meger. “Many are likely to rack up more debt to try to keep up with the rising costs of their daily expenses. That could become very difficult to pay down as the cost of servicing some of those debts also goes up. That is how the cycle of debt begins, and it is extremely hard to get out of.”

Looking ahead, six in 10 (58%, +2pts) Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents say they’re more concerned about their ability to pay their debts, and nearly four in 10 (37%, -1pt) say rising rates could drive them closer to Bankruptcy.

Nearly half (47%, -1pt) are concerned they won’t be able to cover all living / family expenses in the coming year without going further into debt — and four in 10 (44%, unchanged) are concerned about their current level of debt. Compared to the other provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are the most likely to say they regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on in life (49%, -3pts).

“Feelings of shame and regret are common among those struggling with their debt situation. The stress and anxiety caused by excessive debt lead many to believe they can never get out of debt or that they have failed, are alone, or are beyond help,” explains Meger.

“Those thoughts couldn’t be farther from the truth. We’ve all experienced a great deal over the last two years, including a financially devastating pandemic and the job loss associated with it. My advice to anyone struggling is to go easy on yourself and seek debt advice from a professional right away.” 

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

Meger notes that while many people fear they will lose their house or car in a Bankruptcy, there are options to protect assets and overcome unsecured debt. A Consumer Proposal, for example, may protect assets and allow an individual to repay their debt through interest free payments that fit their budget.

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

“If you’re at or are nearing the point where you’re covering your bills with credit cards and other debt, now is the time to speak with a government licensed professional who can lay out all of your debt-relief options and give you unbiased advice,” says Meger.

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 and March 15, 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.