A majority of Canadians are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living, a new Angus Reid survey has found, with seven in 10 saying they worry about money regularly.
According to the Cost of Living Index, 53% of Canadians agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I can’t keep up with the cost of living.”
The index polled 1,622 Canadians online between Feb. 11-13 on various issues including grocery affordability, rent or mortgage and the cost of child care.
“As prices rise, more Canadians have been changing what they buy to keep money for the essentials. Nearly half (46%) said they are switching to cheaper, lower quality brands at the grocery store as food prices rise and three-in-five (62%) said they aren’t going to restaurants as often, even as restrictions ease across the country,” researchers wrote.
Additionally, 51% of respondents said they would be unable to deal with an unexpected expense totalling $1,000.
When broken down by region, Saskatchewaners appeared the most resilient among provinces, with only 27% reporting they could not manage an unexpected expense.
With regard to stressing over finances, 70% of Canadians said they experience money worries regularly.
Those polled were also worried about losing their jobs, with 36% fearing somebody in their household could be out of work.
“The concern is not equal across the country. At least two-in-five in each of the country’s four westernmost provinces say they worry about job losses affecting their household. Fewer people in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada say the same,” researchers wrote.
The findings are in line with other polls that indicate a population increasingly anxious about the state of the economy and how it will affect their personal finances.
Last month, the MNP Consumer Debt Index reported that 43% of Canadians were struggling to pay off their debts.
“It is getting harder for Canadians to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said MNP LTD president Grant Bazian on Jan. 17.
“Unexpected expenses are one of the biggest contributors to household financial turmoil, and many are starting the new year being dealt another round of unexpected business closures, reduced working hours or job loss, and COVID-related health concerns.”