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From Angus Reid Institute

Highest inflation rates in forty years have Canadians tightening belts

Amidst skyrocketing costs of living and housing, mistrust towards Bank of Canada rises, too

June 24, 2022 – 1983 in Canada was notable for, among other things, the first time Canadians celebrated Canada Day instead of Dominion Day, Canadian band Loverboy cracking the top 100 domestically with “Hot Girls in Love” and the Edmonton Oilers’ loss to the New York Islanders for Stanley Cup supremacy. It was also the last time the inflation rate in Canada was as high as it is today, 39 years later.

A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds overall, 45 per cent say they are worse off now than they were at this time last year, the highest level in at least 12 years. Asked about the year ahead, one-third expect even worse – also the highest number in over a decade.

Individual factors are contributing to these financial challenges. Half of Canadians say it is a challenge to afford their household grocery bill – a seven-point increase since last October.

One-in-three say their expenditure on gas has increased over the past month, while nearly half say it has decreased as they use alternative transportation to save.

Homeowners are bracing for more pain. After a series of interest rate increases by the Bank of Canada, one-in-five (22%) Canadians with a mortgage say their payments have increased, while fully half (53%) say they expect this will happen.

Just how much could Canadian homeowners endure? While just over one-third (35%) say they couldn’t handle without difficultly a monthly increase of $150, should that increase double to $300 a month, two-thirds (66%) say they would have to make major changes, or could simply not afford it.

Amid all of this, the Bank of Canada plays a significant role in setting policy to cool inflation while avoiding a recession. For Canadians, confidence in that institution is shaky. Nearly half (46%) say they trust the BoC to fulfill its mandate adequately, while almost the same number disagree (41%). Past Conservative (59%) and PPC (86%) supporters are particularly critical – more than half of each say they do not trust the bank.

Are you financially better of or worse off than you were a year ago?

More Key Findings

Renters are also having a difficult time

Half (52%) say affording their rent is tough or very difficult. One-in-three (32%) homeowners feel this way about their own mortgage payments.

Credit card debt

Two-in-five Canadians (38%) say they have credit card debt – rising to 62 per cent among those who are Struggling on the ARI Economic Stress Index. Among this group, three-in-five (58%) say it will take them more than a year to pay this off.

Provinces not doing a good job

Three-quarters say their province has done a poor job of handling inflation (77%).

Survey Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from June 7-13, 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 5,032 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

A second online survey was conducted by the Angus Reid Group from May 19-24, 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 1,530 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARG.

Note: Because its small population precludes drawing discrete samples over multiple waves, data on Prince Edward Island is not released.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For detailed results by the Economic Stress Index, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire in English and French, click here.

Image Credit – Viki Mohamad via unsplash

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From the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research.

For detailed breakdown of the results, visit angusreid.org

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