One in three Canadians is struggling financially

TORONTO – One in three Canadians say they live in a family that is experiencing financial difficulties: this is what a new report from Statistics Canada reveals, according to which – therefore – approximately 13 million Canadians aged 15 years and older are part of families who found it difficult or very difficult to pay for necessary expenses such as transportation, shelter, food and clothing during the month of October. An enormity, out of a total of 40 million inhabitants. 

The disturbing report, released on Friday, then found that 41.3% of renters are more likely to struggle financially than those living in a residence owned by a family member with a mortgage.

Among Canada’s largest regions, the highest proportion of people living in financially challenged households is found in southern Ontario. Nearly half of respondents in the St. Catharines-Niagara area reported financial hardship, or 41.8%. This is followed by Windsor at 41%, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo at 40.7% and Toronto at 38.1%. The lowest percentage is found in the Quebec City region with 20.5%.

Year-over-year growth in the consumer price index slowed from a peak of 8.1% in June 2022 to 3.8% in September 2023, the report said, but many Canadians still feel a severe financial crisis.

“The higher cost of essential goods and services continues to place financial pressure on many families across Canada. In September, for example, increases in the cost of housing (+6.0%) and food (+5.9%) exceeded the growth in annual wages (+5.0%)” we read.

But let’s look in more detail at the “type” of people in difficulty. First, almost half of immigrants who arrived in Canada in the last 10 years – 44.7% – said they were living in a family in financial difficulty. Then, according to the report, single-parent families with non-employed parents are, with a percentage of 69.8%, the largest group with financial difficulties within their household. Among Canadians living in dual-income households with children, 36.1% had difficulty meeting their financial needs in October. Among the largest racialized population groups, South Asian Canadians (47%) and Black Canadians (43.9%) are most likely to live in a household with financial hardship. The percentage is lower for Chinese Canadians, at 26.8%.

One of the big problems is housing. A poll conducted by Ipsos in October found that a growing majority of Canadians believe that owning a home has become a privilege that can only be afforded to the wealthy. Additionally, the survey — conducted among 1,500 adults — found that 71% of respondents live in communities where they say there is a housing crisis.

The impacts of a higher cost of living are also being felt at food banks across the country. While annual food price growth fell to 6.9% in August from double-digit highs in the same period last year, grocery store visits remain a sore point for Canadians squeezed by interest rates higher and an overall inflation rate of 4.0%. The Bank of Canada, as is known, has increased its key rate by 4.75 percentage points since March 2022, with most of the tightening occurring last year. And in announcing the second consecutive rate hold on October 25, central bank officials left the door open to future increases, if necessary, to bring inflation fully below the 2% target. Given the situation illustrated by Statistics Canada, it would probably be the final blow.

Foto di Steve Buissinne da Pixabay