Concerns about debt and interest rates ease in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, yet repayment anxiety persists for majority

2024-04-08  5 minute read

Pamela Meger

MNP Consumer Debt Index

  • Six in 10 are concerned about their ability to repay their debts (57%, -7 pts).
  • Nearly half (45%, -9 pts) report being $200 or less away from failing to meet all their financial obligations each month, including a quarter (24%, -1 pt) who are technically insolvent.
  • More than half of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents — more than those in any other province — are feeling a social squeeze as the financial pressure of social obligations means many simply can’t afford to participate.
  • Three in 10 Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents say they still haven’t recovered financially from the pandemic four years later.

Sunset over prairie land

REGINA, SK – April 8, 2024 – The latest MNP Consumer Debt Index finds that Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are feeling increasingly confident in their personal finances this quarter as interest rate concerns ease. Significantly more Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents perceive their current debt situation to be better (27%, +6 pts) and fewer rated it as much worse compared to a year ago (20%, -6 pts). With the prospect of interest rate cuts on the horizon, fewer households are concerned about their level of debt (43%, -2 pts). A quarter say they are much better equipped to absorb an interest rate increase of one percentage point (24%, +1 pt) or an extra $130 in interest payments (24%, +7 pts).

“The latest report suggests a noticeable shift in sentiment among Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents, reflecting a modest improvement in how they feel about their debt situation,” says Pamela Meger, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP LTD in Regina. “There is a sense of greater confidence in tackling potential interest rate increases. However, looming mortgage renewals, persistent financial setbacks from the pandemic, and cost-of-living pressures continue to put a strain on Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents.”

While fewer this quarter are concerned about their ability to repay their debts (57%, -7 pts), repayment anxiety persists for the majority of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents. Nearly half (45%, -9 pts) of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents report being $200 or less away from failing to meet all their financial obligations. This includes a quarter (24%, -1 pt) who are technically insolvent and can't cover their bills and debt payments each month. Additionally, more than half (53%, -7 pts) say they will be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more. Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are the most likely to regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on in life (52%, +7 pts) compared to those in the other provinces.

“Being on the brink of insolvency is more common than one might think. And it’s even more common to have feelings of regret about your debt. It is important to remember that you’re not alone in facing these financial challenges,” says Meger. “There are strategies and assistance available to overcome these hurdles. Seek help sooner rather than later to prevent the situation from escalating and take steps towards relief.”

Meger says that the shame and guilt associated with unmanageable debt often cause people to delay getting professional assistance. However, this puts them at risk of aggressive collections activity and debt relief scams — resulting in further stress and isolation.

“Debt is often burdensome, draining, and isolating,” explains Meger. “Adding to the challenge of debt is the persistent cost-of-living crisis, characterized by significant increases in monthly expenses and food costs. The financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which still affect many in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, are also compounding the challenge of debt even further.”

Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are the most likely (56%) to indicate they are feeling a social squeeze on their personal finances compared to those in the other provinces. This means they are worried about the amount of money they’ll have to spend on lifestyle and social obligations.

“Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are feeling squeezed more than most by social obligations like birthdays, weddings, graduations, and family gatherings. This makes balancing the dual pressures of financial responsibilities with social engagements even more crucial. For some, the financial strain of being a part of these events may exacerbate their existing hardships,” explains Meger.

While two in five Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents say they have recovered financially since the start of the pandemic in 2020 (39%), three in 10 say they are in a worse financial state than they were pre-pandemic (29%).

“It’s evident that many Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are still grappling with the financial aftermath of the pandemic,” says Meger. “Each person’s circumstances are different. However, it is important to take proactive steps to deal with debt, such as by seeking professional advice from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.”

MNP’s national team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees offers free consultations to help severely indebted Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents get unbiased debt advice, understand their rights, and determine the best path forward. Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only federally regulated debt professionals who can assist with all the debt relief options, including Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy, stop harassment from debt collectors, and discharge people from debt.


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 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-eighth wave, the Index increased to 91 points, up eight points since last quarter. Visit to learn more.

The data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between March 8 and March 15, 2024. 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.

Consultation icon