WINNIPEG — A new survey has found that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents are more worried about debt than ever before.
The poll, known as the MNP Consumer Debt Index, was completed earlier in March by Ipsos on behalf of MNP Ltd.
It found that 44 per cent of respondents were concerned about their debt levels. MNP noted this is a seven-point jump from the previous poll in December, and the highest percentage its ever recorded since it began tracking this data in 2017.
“Our results underscore how vulnerable Canadian households are to income interruption,” said Grant Brazian, president of MNP, in a news release.
“Over the next few months we’ll likely see an unfolding of two crises: the global pandemic and the bursting of the Canadian consumer debt bubble.”
Throughout the pandemic, CTV News Winnipeg reported a number of businesses and organizations in Manitoba have laid off their staff, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, NFI Group Inc., and McNally Robinson Booksellers.
MNP found that more than a quarter of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents are now worried about losing their jobs or someone in their household losing their jobs.
“The job losses and income disruptions have pushed many people into financial survival mode,” said Gord Neudorf, a licenced insolvency trustee with MNP.
As for the amount of people in ‘financial survival mode,’ the poll found that nearly half of respondents said they are $200 or less away from not being able to pay their monthly bills.
MNP noted that lower interest rates, monetary policy interventions and flexibility on the part of lenders will help people during the pandemic, but many will still need extra support.
“Deeply indebted individuals who are now at risk of defaulting need to go to reputable channels for support,” said Neudorf, telling anyone who is at risk of missing payments to talk with creditors right away.
This survey spoke to 2,000 Canadians over the age of 18. The poll is accurate within plus-minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 out of 20, had every Canadian been surveyed. The credibility interval is wider among subsets of the population.
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