Latest MNP Consumer Debt Index foreshadows trouble ahead for indebted Canadians

Growing number of Canadians feeling the impact of higher interest rates (up 8 points in six months)

Calgary, Alberta, CANADA

CALGARY, Alberta, April 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The latest MNP Consumer Debt Index research foreshadows trouble ahead for indebted Canadians underlining widespread concern over rising interest rates. A growing number (43%) of Canadians say they are already feeling the effects of higher interest rates (up 5 points from 38% three months ago and up 8 points from 35% six months ago). Over half (51%) fear that rising interest rates could impact their ability to repay their debts, up five points in six months. One in three (33%) agree that rising interest rates could possibly push them towards bankruptcy, also up 5 points in six months.  

Grant Bazian, President at MNP LTD, the country’s largest personal insolvency practice, says that the results show how perilously close many Canadians are to serious financial trouble.

“Nearly half of outstanding mortgages have interest rate renewals within a year so monthly mortgage payments are set to rise for a huge proportion of people. But a staggering percentage of Canadians say they already don’t have any wiggle room at all,” he says.

Nearly half of Canadians (46%, down 2 points) say they are now $200 or less away from financial insolvency after paying bills and debt obligations at the end of the month. This includes three in ten (29%) who admit to having no wiggle room after paying their bills every month. Furthermore, almost half of Canadians (47%, up 4 points in six months) do not believe they’ll be able to cover all living and family expenses in the next 12 months without going into further debt.

“The most alarming thing about the results is just how vulnerable Canadians know they are yet they still plan to amass more debt to cover basic living expenses. Households currently showing signs of financial difficulty and living on credit are about to fall into a debt trap if interest rates continue to rise or if they face an unexpected expense,” explains Bazian.  

If faced with a life changing event or unexpected expense, less than one in three Canadians are confident in their ability to cope financially. Fewer Canadians are confident in their ability to cope with unexpected auto repairs or purchase (28%, down 3 points), having an illness and being unable to work for three months (28%, down 1 point), loss of employment (26%, down 1 point), or paying for their own or someone else’s education (24%, down 1 point). Similarly, only a minority are confident they’d be able to cope financially with a change in relationship status like a divorce or separation (32%, up 1 point), or the death of an immediate family member (26%, unchanged).

“I cannot stress this enough; many Canadians need to be far more proactive about managing debt instead of maintaining the status quo. If you are having trouble making ends meet and are only making minimum payments on debts, seek help from an accredited professional right away,” advises Bazian.

Surprisingly, a third (33%) of Canadians believe their expected debt situation will become better a year from now and nearly half (47%) say it will improve five years from now.

The findings are part of the MNP Consumer Debt Index, the most comprehensive survey on consumer debt in Canada which measures Canadians’ attitudes about their consumer debt, their perceived ability to pay their bills, endure unexpected expenses, and absorb interest-rate fluctuations. The index has fallen four points since the last poll in December (from 100 to 96), reaching the lowest point since tracking began last year.

Other poll highlights include:

  • Concern over rising interest rates is being led by Millennials aged 18-34; they are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to have concerns about their ability to repay their debts as a result of a rate hike (61% vs. 53% of Gen X’ers aged 35-54 and 42% of Baby Boomers aged 55+) and about moving towards bankruptcy (45% vs. 35% of Gen X’ers and 23% of Baby Boomers) if interest rates continue to increase.
  • Albertans (55%) are more likely to say they are already beginning to feel the effects of interest rate increases, followed by residents of Atlantic Canada (51%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (43%), Ontario (42%), British Columbia (41%), and Quebec (39%).
  • Albertans (52%) are more likely to be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more, followed by residents of Atlantic Canada (46%), Quebec (44%), British Columbia (44%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (42%), and Ontario (42%).
  • Albertans (43%) are more likely to be concerned that rising interest rates could move them towards bankruptcy, followed by residents of Atlantic Canada (41%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (37%), Quebec (35%), British Columbia (30%), and Ontario (29%).
  • Albertans (20%) are the most likely to rate their personal debt situation as terrible, followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba (18%), Atlantic Canada (18%), Ontario (16%), British Columbia (16%), and Quebec (13%).
  • Women (50%) are more likely than men (40%) to report being within $200 of financial insolvency. At the regional level, residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (52%) are most likely to be within $200 of insolvency, followed by residents of British Columbia (47%), Ontario (46%), Quebec (45%), Atlantic Canada (43%), and Alberta (41%).
  • Nearly eight in ten Canadians (78%) say that with interest rates rising, they will be more careful with how they spend their money.

About MNP Debt

MNP LTD, a division of MNP LLP, is one of the largest personal insolvency practices in Canada. For more than 50 years, our experienced team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees and advisors have been working collaboratively with individuals to help them recover from times of financial distress and regain control of their finances. With more than 220 Canadian offices from coast-to-coast, MNP helps thousands of Canadians each year who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt. Visit to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

About the MNP Consumer Debt Index

The MNP Consumer Debt Index measures Canadians’ attitudes toward their consumer debt and gauges their ability to pay their bills, endure unexpected expenses, follow a budget, and absorb interest-rate fluctuations without approaching insolvency. Conducted by Ipsos and updated quarterly, the Index is an industry-leading barometer of financial pressure /relief among Canadians. Visit to learn more.

The latest Index data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between March 12 and March 16, 2018. For this survey, a sample of 2,001 Canadians from the Ipsos I-Say panel was interviewed online. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults been polled. Credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population. This represents the fourth wave of the MNP Consumer Debt Index.


Britta Bisig, Media Relations

p. 1.604.836.1009

Angela Joyce, Media Relations

p. 1.403.681.9286

A infographic accompanying this announcement is available at

Canadians Increasingly Feeling the Impact of Higher Interest Rates