Inflation | Four out of five Canadians are tightening their belts

Rising prices are changing the behavior of many Canadians, whose budgets are coming under severe pressure as the summer draws to a close. A poll by Angus Reid shows how badly some are affected by the economic climate.

Posted at 7:00 am

Stephanie Berube

Stephanie Berube
The press


What would you do if you received an unexpected $5,000 bonus?

Forget trips south and new gadgets, at least for the majority, because half of the people presented with this hypothesis would settle financial obligations, be they daily expenses or debts. Respondents with lower incomes were more likely to spend that money on urgent expenses.

Another large portion of participants, 43%, would save that heavenly money.

An expensive purchase that you would otherwise not have been able to make? Only 9% of respondents in Canada in general, but slightly more in Quebec where 12% would afford a big spend with their bonus.


According to Angus Reid’s survey, four out of five Canadians are tightening their belts because their budgets don’t allow them as much flexibility.

What have you done ? They changed their travel plans and postponed important purchases. Four out of ten Canadians say they drive less to save money.

Overall, three out of five people cut discretionary budget spending. A significant proportion, 27%, will also reduce the value of their donations to non-profit organizations or charities.

According to these results, Quebecers are less inclined to reduce their spending: only 42% reduce their voluntary spending (compared to 57% nationally) and fewer of them change their behavior to save money or pay for urgent expenses.

One in five

Financial stress is very real and affects the majority of respondents. Only one in five states that they have no money stress at all. Three quarters say the opposite.

The survey also shows that many people consider themselves too indebted. Nationwide, four in 10 Canadians admit to being over-indebted, with the highest proportion being in Saskatchewan, where 57% of respondents say they are over-indebted.

Which state has the lowest percentage? Quebec, where 28% say they are over-indebted versus 69% who don’t place themselves in this category.


Could you carry an expense of $1,000 or more today? Half (52%) of respondents said no.

“We should have a comparison, for example before the pandemic,” says David Dupuis, who teaches at the University of Sherbrooke’s School of Economic Management. In real life it can be even much higher. »

Because the phenomenon of people living from paycheck to paycheck is anything but new, he says. “This reaction shows that we have not learned from the pandemic,” specifies David Dupuis. In particular, the dataset from this survey shows a great deal of uncertainty caused by many factors, including fears of a recession.

Perhaps this climate of insecurity also explains why one in three Canadians is still afraid of losing their job when there is full employment.

The Angus Reid Poll was conducted online August 8-10, 2022 among 2,279 Canadians.

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