Canadian Households Indebted but Confident

By Andrew Rickard | April 01 2015 01:58PM

Although Canadian households have high levels of debt, they say they do not feel threatened by the unsettled economy.

A public opinion poll commissioned by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) shows that, despite the sharp decline in oil prices and other signs of a weakening economy, Canadians on a whole say that they are living comfortably and untroubled by current events. Respondents also rated themselves highly in terms of financial discipline but they are not taking action to plan for potential changes in the economy.

The survey found that while the majority (65%) of all households assessed the level of their financial discipline as somewhat or very strong, more than half (53%) of non-retired households admit they do not save on a regular basis. In addition, only 60% of households with debt indicated that they paid off a portion of their debt on a regular basis and half (51%) of non-retired households said they do not have a special reserve fund for emergencies.

CPA Canada says the report underscores the need for Canadians to get a better grasp of their financial situation. "It may be a matter of perception," comments Kevin Dancey, FCPA, FCA, president and CEO of CPA Canada. "Factors such as lower interest rates, cheaper gas and a strengthening U.S. economy may have some people thinking things are just fine. However, no matter what happens with the economy over the coming months, the lingering issue of high debt levels cannot be ignored."