Newfoundlanders regret about debt soars amidst rising rates and affordability struggles

2023-07-10  3 minute read

Greg Gosse

MNP Consumer Debt Index

  • More than half regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on in life (57%, +10pts), more than any other province.
  • Half are concerned about their current level of debt (50%, +4pts).
  • Three in four feel their weekly spending on essentials has increased by at least $100 compared to a year ago (74%).
  • More than half report that they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all their financial obligations (53%, +3pts).

Coast of Newfoundland

ST. JOHN’S, NL – July 10, 2023 – With rising interest rates and high borrowing costs remaining a challenge for households, Atlantic Canadians are feeling more pessimistic about their debt than any other province, according to the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index. Atlantic Canadians are the most likely to say they regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on in life, jumping a staggering 10 points since last quarter to fifty-seven percent — the largest increase amongst the provinces. Half (50%) are concerned about their current level of debt, up four points from last quarter.

“Atlantic Canadians have been worn down by inflation and elevated interest rates and feel more regretful than any other province about their consumer debt,” says Greg Gosse, a local Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD. “The growing pressure of household bills and food prices have exacerbated Atlantic Canadians’ financial anxiety. Higher debt-servicing costs are only further compounding the problem for those who are deeply indebted.”

As the high cost of living persists, more than half (53%) of Atlantic Canadians report that they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all their financial obligations, increasing three points since last quarter. This includes three in 10 (31%, unchanged) who say they already don’t make enough to cover their bills and debt payments, making them insolvent.

“Households have minimal room in their budgets as they struggle with financial pressures amid the surging cost of living. This puts them at risk of falling behind on payments, with bills like credit cards going past due. When that happens, the late fees and interest can accrue quickly, making it difficult to catch up on payments,” says Gosse.

About two-thirds of Atlantic Canadians say they’re feeling the effects of interest rate increases (68%, -1pt) and are more concerned about their ability to pay their debts as interest rates rise (67%, -2pts), both remaining relatively stable since last quarter. Two-thirds (65%, +1pt) also say they will be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much further. As a result, the majority of Atlantic Canadians (88%, +2pts) say they will be careful with how they spend their money.

Despite the efforts of some to spend more cautiously, the average Atlantic Canadian reports spending an additional $208 on essential items each week compared to a year ago. Likely the result of inflation, the vast majority of Atlantic Canadians (74%) feel their weekly spending on essentials has increased by at least $100. A third (34%) feel it has increased by between $100 and $200.

“Even as households tighten their belts and are more cautious with their spending, some are finding there’s simply nothing else to cut back on. They’ve already reduced their entertainment costs and are shopping the cheapest items at the grocery store — yet they’re still having a hard time covering essential expenses like their rent or mortgage and food,” explains Gosse. “This poses some tough choices for households about which bills to prioritize and which to delay or skip entirely.”

Gosse recommends that those who anticipate missing payments first contact their lender to see if they can set up a payment plan that fits within their means.

“It’s a red flag when borrowers start to fall behind on their payments and haven’t first communicated and made arrangements with their lenders. That’s a sign they need help,” says Gosse. “Beyond reaching out to their lenders, individuals who are having difficulties managing their debts should seek help from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. They will provide a confidential financial review and offer unbiased guidance on a range of debt relief options, which may include budgeting, debt consolidation, and more, depending on the situation.”

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only federally regulated debt professionals who can assist with all the debt relief options, including Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy, which can discharge people from debt. To support those in need of financial assistance, MNP provides free consultations across the country.


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-fifth wave, the Index has declined significantly to 83 points, down six points since last quarter. Visit to learn more.

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between June 1 and June 6, 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.

National data is available upon request.

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