According to a recent study by the nonprofit Angus Reid Institute, 45 percent of people think they’re worse off than they were at this time last year, which is the largest percentage in at least 12 years. The largest number in more than ten years one-third predict even worse outcomes when asked what they expect in the upcoming year.
Inflation is now the top issue, according to the poll, with 63% stating cost of living as their major concern, followed by health care (52%) housing affordability (31%) and environment change (26 per cent.)
It is difficult for half of Canadians to afford their household grocery bill, a seven-point increase since last October.
The study found the less household income earners are more likely finding it difficult to feed their families. Seven out of ten (69%) people in the lowest income bracket say it is difficult to put food on the table. Despite this, at least one-third of all income levels struggle with their food budget.
Provincial governments cannot control all factors that contribute to inflation, but there are some steps they can take to provide assistance to their constituents. In addition to offering utility refunds, Alberta implemented a gas tax holiday in April. President Joe Biden has also advocated for the former in the US.
Quebec, meanwhile, gave $500 as a one-time reward to people with yearly net incomes under $100,000. For those who pay at least 35% of their income on rent, the Saskatchewan government has provided a housing benefit.
Those provinces who have taken steps do fare slightly better, but the overriding belief of Canadians is that their provincial government could be doing more to help. At least two-thirds in every province say their respective government has done a poor job on inflation:
According to the poll, both homeowners and renters are preparing for difficulty. For instance, 22% of homeowners say that interest rate increases have already caused their mortgage to increase, while 53% anticipate an surge in cost.
Of those, 52% say it’s tough or very difficult to pay the rent. 33% of homeowners feel this way about their personal expenses, which is one in three.
The issue is that more than a third of those surveyed say they could not afford a $150 rise in monthly expenses. 66% say they would need to make significant changes in order to afford a roof over their heads if that amount increased to an additional $300 per month.
The risk is clear for lower-income households that have entered the market. Less than half (36%) of respondents said they could afford a $150 monthly increase in their mortgage payment.
The study also found 38% of Canadians carry heavy credit card debt and this figure raises to 62% for those whom are struggling based on the ARI Economic Stress Index, which was established in January to gauge the pressures of the economy on Canadians during this turbulent time.
According to the Angus Reid study, overall, half of Canadians report being either “uncomfortable” or “struggling” financially.
Canadians feelings were split nearly in half when asked if they trust the Bank of Canada to fulfill its mandate “to promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada.” with one of the core functions being to “keep inflation low, stable and predictable.”
Canadians are split on whether they trust the BoC will carry out its duty in the current economic climate. Almost half (46%) of people say they trust the bank (46% ).