Enormous debt loads eating up many Canadians' savings – CCS

Enormous debt loads eating up many Canadians' savings – CCS

Enormous debt loads eating up many Canadians

Canadians continue to carry “unprecedented levels” of debt with no clear savings in place, according to the Credit Counselling Society.

The CCS cited updated numbers from Statistics Canada which showed that as of Q1 2019, the debt-to-income ratio stood at 177.6%, and the average household savings rate dropped to 1.1%.

During the first quarter of the year, overall consumer debt (including mortgages) swelled to $1.907 trillion. This is considerably higher than the $1.823 trillion from Q1 2018.

“We continue to hear from Canadians, who are concerned on how to make ends meet as their debt continues to grow. We’re finding Canadian consumers reaching out to CCS for assistance are carrying average debt levels over $30,000,” CCS director of education and community awareness Yanchuk Oleksy said.

“This is alarming, as two decades ago, the average was $12,000 of non-mortgage debt.”

“We often see that Canadians are not addressing their financial situations when they encounter early signs of difficulty, but it usually takes a trigger, like an illness or job loss, for people to realize they have a financial problem,” CCS president Scott Hannah added.

Aside from the StatsCan figures, numbers from Equifax Canada also showed that “Canadians remained highly reliant on debt to start 2019.”

On average, each Canadian held an average of $71,300 in debt (including mortgages) during the first quarter of the year. Delinquencies lasting 90 days and longer went up by 3.5% at the same time.