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B.C. leads country in most debt accrued during COVID-19 pandemic, poll finds

Last Updated Jun 29, 2020 at 7:01 am PDT

Credit cards are displayed in Montreal, Wednesday, December 12, 2012.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Summary

Nearly 80 percent of Canadians worry about recession lasting into 2021

B.C. has highest rate of new debt for ‘day-to-day’ purchasing

Worries about a recession and financial futures could be impacting Canadians’ spending habits, according to a new poll f

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Worries about a recession and financial futures could be impacting Canadians’ spending habits, according to a new poll from CIBC.

The bank randomly sampled more than 1,500 Canadians with 79 per cent saying they are concerned a recession will last well into 2021.

At the same time, a majority of people (63 per cent) say they are trying to spend less on so-called discretionary purchases while 37 per cent say they are trying “to save as much as possible.”

“It’s a positive sign that many Canadians are taking a responsible approach to the situation by making changes to their spending and working to limit unnecessary debt. Good cash flow management now can help you through the current situation, and over the longer term free up funds to divert towards savings or other goals,” says Laura Dottori-Attanasio, group head, retail and business banking, CIBC.

Nationally, 22 per cent of respondents say they’ve had to borrow more in the last year: the number one reason was for day-to-day items (38 per cent) followed by a loss of income (28 per cent).

However, in British Columbia, saving seems to be taking a backseat to just getting by, for many.

In this province, 58 per cent of those polled say they have taken on new debt for day-to-day purchases during the pandemic: the highest rate in the country, outstripping the national average of those leaning on credit and loans, which sits at just 38 per cent.

Saving seems to be much easier in the prairie provinces; in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for example, 76 per cent say they’ve been able to tighten their belts, 69 per cent in Alberta.

Fifty-five per cent of Canadians admit they need to get a better handle on their finances this year.