Quebecers grapple with inflation isolation: rising costs impacting mental health, increasing loneliness, isolation, stress, and anxiety

2023-11-27  4 minute read

Frederic Lachance

MNP Consumer Debt Index

  • Two in five are staying home more often (41%), and more than a quarter are spending less time socializing (27%) and with friends (26%) to save money.
  • About one in five are experiencing a sense of isolation (19%) or loneliness (16%).
  • Two in five are feeling stress (40%) and anxiety (37%) because of inflation and high interest rates.
  • Three in 10 (28%) report paying more per month toward their debt compared to a year ago.
  • About one in five (17%) don’t fully understand how interest rate increases impact their financial situation.

Landscape in Quebec

MONTREAL, QC – November 27, 2023 – The pressures of inflation are not just affecting Quebecers’ personal finances but also their mental health. According to a recent Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of MNP LTD, higher costs and interest rates appear to be causing an isolation phenomenon, as two in five Quebecers say they’re staying home more often (41%) to save money. More than a quarter are spending less time socializing (27%) or with friends (26%). About one in five is feeling a sense of social isolation (19%) or loneliness (16%) because of higher interest rates and inflation. Burdened with the constant worry of making ends meet, two in five Quebecers say the current economic conditions have increased their stress (40%) and anxiety (37%).

“High interest rates and inflation are not only affecting Quebecers’ finances. They are also having a significant impact on their mental health. The mounting pressure to keep up with the increased cost of necessities and debt is causing anxiety and stress,” says Frédéric Lachance, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD in Montreal. “Quebecers are withdrawing from social activities and cutting back on time with family and friends to reduce costs, demonstrating the isolating impacts of inflation.”

Three in 10 Quebecers (28%) report paying more toward their debts each month compared to a year ago. One in 10 (13%) is paying an additional $200 or more compared to a year ago. Two in five (44%) don’t believe they can cover all their living and family expenses in the next 12 months without going further into debt, up three points from the previous quarter.

“Debt can feel like a heavy burden that separates us from our family and friends. We often see those saddled with debt retreat from social activities and relationships out of shame or fear of being judged,” explains Lachance. “Quebecers who are struggling financially should know that help is available and there is no shame in seeking it out. Financial struggles can affect anyone. Licensed Insolvency Trustees provide unbiased advice and support to help individuals get a debt-free start.”

Affordability anxiety, debt, and a lack of financial literacy only worsen the financial stresses Quebecers are already experiencing. About one in five (17%, +2 pts) don’t feel they have a solid understanding of how interest rate increases affect their financial situation. Three in five (59%, +5 pts) are concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation. Not surprisingly, the vast majority (84%, +2 pts) say they will be more careful with how they spend their money because of rising interest rates.

“Understanding the intricacies of personal finance and debt management is critical for making informed decisions, and that’s where professional advice can make all the difference. For example, Bankruptcy is not the only option for those who are severely in debt. Licensed Insolvency Trustees can provide guidance on options such as Consumer Proposals, budgeting, debt consolidation, and debt management plans.”

Quebecers also feel pessimistic about their ability to cope financially with unexpected expenses. About a quarter are not confident they would be able to cope with the following:

  • an unexpected auto repair or purchase (27%, +6 pts)
  • a change in their relationship status, such as a divorce or separation (25%, +5 pts)
  • the death of an immediate family member (25%, +4 pts)
  • paying for their or someone else’s education (28%, +5 pts).

Compared to July, significantly more don’t believe they could cope with a reduction in income due to loss of employment, change in their wage or seasonal work (30%, +9 pts), or having an illness and being unable to work for three months (29%, +5 pts).

Harassing phone calls from collection agencies can be an additional source of stress for many Quebecers. Lachance says one of the lesser-known benefits of a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal filing is that the Licensed Insolvency Trustee communicates directly with creditors on the individual’s behalf. Both proceedings also put an immediate halt to wage garnishments and calls from creditors.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only federally regulated debt professionals who can assist with all the debt relief options, including Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcies, stop harassment from debt collectors, and discharge people from debt.

“In many cases, individuals will wait years — sometimes up to a decade — to reach out for professional help with their debt and spend years needlessly living with the constant stress of creditors calling,” says Lachance. “It’s critical that people know they are not alone. Help is available, and there is a path out of their financial hardships.” 

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 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 Survey

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between September 5 and September 8, 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.

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