Quebecers on the economy: Two in five say the worst is yet to come

2023-04-11  3 minute read

Frederic Lachance

MNP Consumer Debt Index

Significantly more Quebecers are concerned about their current level of debt, jumping 11 points since last quarter as stress of inflation and interest rates lingers.

  • Two in five believe the worst part of the economic cycle is yet to come (44%).
  • A quarter feel the economic conditions over the last six months were worse than expected (25%).
  • Three in five say they will be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more, the largest quarterly increase amongst the provinces (57%, +7pts).
  • Three in five are more concerned about their ability to repay debts as interest rates rise (60%, +4pts).
  • Nearly half (45%, +3pts) report they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all of their financial obligations, including three in 10 (29%, +2pts) who are already insolvent.
Silhouette of person holding Quebec provincial flag

MONTREAL, QC – April 11, 2023 – Personal finances continue to be a major source of stress for Quebecers, and many anticipate that the situation will continue to deteriorate, according to the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index conducted quarterly by Ipsos. When asked about the impact of Canada's current economic conditions on their finances, two in five (44%) Quebecers say they believe that the worst is yet to come. A third (36%) feel we are currently experiencing the worst part of the economic cycle. Fewer are optimistic about the future, with only 20 percent believing the worst is behind us — although Quebecers are most likely to hold this view amongst the rest of the provinces.

“Some Quebecers might believe they are out of the woods, but those who are deeply indebted may rightfully feel that the worst is yet to come, as they face inflation and sharply higher interest rates,” says Frédéric Lachance, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD in Montreal. “There just isn’t much financial wiggle-room in many household budgets, which demonstrates the toll higher interest rates are taking — especially on Quebecers who can least afford it.”

A quarter (25%) of Quebecers feel the economic conditions over the last six months were worse than they expected. Nearly half (45%, +3pts) report that they are $200 away or less from not being able to meet all of their financial obligations, including three in 10 (29%, +2pts) who already don’t earn enough to cover their bills and debt payments. As the number of insolvent Quebecers increases slightly, the average amount of money households have left over at the end of the month has dropped to $817, down $102 from the previous quarter. More than half (57%) of Quebecers say they will be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more — a seven-point increase since last quarter and the largest jump amongst the provinces. Three in five (59%, +2pts) are concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation.

Despite interest rates stabilizing after last year’s successive increases, Lachance notes that Quebecers are not feeling a reprieve yet. More Quebecers than last quarter are concerned about their ability to pay their debts (60%, +4pts); Quebec was the only province to see an increase in concern. Additionally, significantly more than last quarter are concerned about their current level of debt (44%), making the largest quarterly increase amongst the provinces with an 11-point jump. The majority of Quebecers continue to be more careful with how they spend their money (83%, -3pts).

However, when looking towards the future, some optimism is surfacing among Quebecers. Compared to the other provinces, Quebecers are the most likely to say they’re confident they can cover all living / family expenses in the next year without going further into debt (60%, +6pts).

"While some Quebecers are developing a more positive financial outlook about the future, the results reveal that, at present, many still have concerns about the impacts of inflation and higher interest rates. Particularly for lower-income Quebecers, there simply is no financial comfort zone," Lachance explains.

“Whether they are expecting the worst or hoping for the best, it is critical that Quebecers take a proactive approach to managing their debt,” advises Lachance. “Keep a close eye on your budget and establish an emergency fund to cover unforeseen expenses, such as a car repair or increased debt-serving costs. If you receive a tax return this year, I recommend using it to pay down existing debts or setting it aside for a rainy day.”

Lachance advises that Quebecers struggling to pay their bills should seek professional help immediately to avoid a cycle of increasing debt and interest payments, which can lead to longer-term financial hardship.

“The stigma of Bankruptcy often deters people from seeking help. This only prolongs their financial stress and can lead to more serious issues like harassment by collection agencies and wage garnishments,” he says.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only debt-relief professionals who can offer unbiased, customized advice about all of the debt-relief options ­— including informal debt settlement, Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy. They can stop or prevent collection calls and wage garnishments, as well as offer legal protection from creditor actions. MNP offers Free Confidential Consultations with Licensed Insolvency Trustees across Canada.


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-fourth wave, the Index has rebounded to 89 points, up 12 points from the all-time low recorded last quarter. Visit to learn more.

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between March 7 and March 14, 2023. For this survey, a sample of 2,004 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.

Provincial data is available upon request.

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