Canadians increasingly desperate to shed their debts, survey shows
One in five Canadians say they would forfeit their right to vote if that spared them from making loan payments, according to a new poll released Monday, in another sign of Canada’s struggles with mounting consumer debt levels.
The survey by Ipsos conducted for insolvency firm MNP Ltd found that 85 per cent of Canadians with debt say they are willing to make personal sacrifices to deal with their debt, with 21 per cent saying they would give up their right to vote for the next eight years to avoid ever having to make another debt payment.
Ipsos conducted the survey of 2,001 Canadians in December.
The sacrifices that respondents were most willing to make included eating at home instead of dining out (45 per cent), working 10 hours of weekly overtime for a year (27 per cent), foregoing vacation for three years (26 per cent) and cutting up their credit cards (24 per cent).
Meanwhile, 18 per cent of respondents said they would seek professional help from an insolvency trustee to deal with their debt.
“Many see licensed insolvency trustees as a very last resort and, as a result, they wait until they are up against foreclosure, repossession, or garnishment before taking action,” David Gowling, a licensed insolvency trustee with MNP, said in a release.
Fifteen per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t take any of the listed sacrifices to eliminate debt.
The poll’s findings come as Canadian debt levels continue to mount. In a separate study released Monday, Equifax said total Canadian consumer debt climbed six per cent to more than $1.82 trillion in the fourth quarter, compared to $1.72 trillion a year earlier. Meanwhile, average Canadian consumer debt rose 3.3 per cent year-over-year to $22,837.
Meanwhile, Canada was named along with China and Hong Kong as among the economies most at risk of a banking crisis, according to early-warning indicators compiled by the Bank for International Settlements.
Canada -- whose economy grew last year at the fastest pace since 2011 -- was flagged thanks to its households’ maxed-out credit cards and high debt levels in the wider economy.
With files from Bloomberg News