Saskatchewan And Manitoba Residents Are More Likely To Engage In Risky Financial Behaviours Compared To The Rest Of Canada

2020-03-02   minute read

Pamela Meger

MNP Consumer Debt Index

Two in 10 (16%) say they will never be debt free; require just over 7 years to be debt free on average.

Regina, SK, March 2, 2020 — A survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf MNP LTD helps identify some of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents’ costly money mistakes which could be contributing to the mounting consumer debt challenges across the two provinces. From making only minimum payments to borrowing money they can’t afford to repay, the survey found nearly 6 in 10 Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents (58%) admit to engaging in what debt experts consider risky financial behaviours over the past year — more than any other province.

Aerial view of Regina

“Behaviours like making impulse purchases, paying only the minimum on debts and accumulating more debt than you can afford to pay back are risky. They can cause you to get stuck in an endless cycle of debt. And once you find yourself in that position, it can be nearly impossible to get out,” says Pamela Meger, a Regina-based debt expert with MNP LTD, the country’s largest insolvency firm.

Paying only the minimum on credit cards was the most common risky behaviour among Canadians last year (21%). While this behaviour occurs to some degree across the country, residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (28%) were the most likely to admit to it.

“Some are clearly acting recklessly or impulsively when making financial decisions, but there are also those who are simply engaging in these behaviours out of necessity. They are desperate and struggling to keep up with their bills and debt obligations,” says Meger.

Being lured in by deals and special offers (15%) and paying only the minimum on a line of credit (15%) tied for the second most common financial mistake among Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents. About 1 in 10 said they spent money they shouldn’t have in order to ‘keep up with the Joneses (10%) or made a major purchase on credit without paying it off right away (13%)

Cash-strapped, already saddled with debt and struggling to navigate, about 1 in 10 (12%) also admitted to borrowing money they know they can’t afford to pay back.

“A lack of financial literacy may be to blame for the kinds of financially risky behaviours we are seeing. On the one hand, some people are living beyond their means and in complete denial about their debt. Meanwhile, others are just trying to get their finances under control but may not have the knowledge or the support necessary to fully grasp their situation,” says Meger. “The common denominator here is the demand for fast money, but this comes with long-term consequences many are not considering.”

While about one in three (32%) Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are fortunate enough to say that they are currently living without debt obligations, it seems nearly 2 in 10 (16%) are suffering the consequences of their money mistakes and have lost hope; they say they will never be debt free.

“When people are severely indebted, they often delay asking for help. Sometimes they are embarrassed or feel hopeless about their situation and close themselves off, but this won’t make the problem go away — in fact, it can just make things worse,” explains Meger.

Many Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents believe they can be debt free one day but will still be struggling for years to come. Of the remaining 52 percent who aren’t debt free or haven’t lost hope of becoming debt free, they estimate it will take approximately seven years and four months to pay off their debts.

“Becoming debt free is a reasonable goal even if you are severely in debt. Licenced Insolvency Trustees help people make informed financial decisions so they can break free of the debt cycle,” says Meger.  

MNP LTD has an experienced team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees who provide federally regulated debt-relief options, such as Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcies. They offer free consultations in more than 230 offices across the county.  


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 230 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.

About the Survey

This survey was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between December 4 and December 9, 2019. A sample of 2,000 Canadians aged 18 years and over was interviewed. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within +2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been 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 the national data is available by request.

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