Canadians are feeling the pinch in their wallets with nearly one-quarter of them saying they are completely tapped out, according to a new poll.
Conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Global News, the poll suggests there is a growing proportion of Canadians (22 percent) who say they are “completely out of money” and there is “no way they can pay more for household necessities.”
The figure is up 3 percentage points from a similar poll conducted on behalf of the media outlet in October.
Published on Jan. 25, the online poll was based on a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18 and over between Jan. 19 and 23. The poll is considered accurate within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
One in four residents in Ontario and Quebec are most likely to say their budgets are at a breaking point, the poll indicated, as are those (35 percent) whose household incomes are less than $40,000 a year.
Another 32 percent of the respondents say inflation and the rising cost of staples such as food, clothing, transportation, and shelter will give them no choice but to make major changes in how they spend their dollars.
“This amounts to 54 percent of Canadians who would struggle to absorb further price increases into their budget, up 5 points since October,” the poll said.
According to Statistics Canada on Jan. 17, the inflation rate rose 6.8 percent in 2022—a 3.4 percent gain from 2021. Food prices increased by 8.9 percent, while transportation and shelter costs were up 10.6 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.
Prices for dairy products rose on average 8.6 percent in 2022 compared with the previous year. Other increases include fresh fruit (10.4 percent), fresh vegetables (8.3 percent), cereal products (13.6 percent), and processed meat (9.6 percent).
More than half (52 percent) of the respondents expressed concern they might not have enough money to feed their family. The concern is particularly widespread among parents with children in the household (64 percent), and those aged 18–34 (59 percent) and 35–54 (58 percent), the poll said.
Gasoline is also an issue as 56 percent of respondents remain concerned about whether they can afford it. Statistics Canada reported gasoline prices shot up 28.5 percent in December 2022 compared to the same time frame in 2021.
Two in three (68 percent) Canadians say they are worried that interest rates will rise quicker than they can adjust.
On Jan. 25, the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point (25 basis points)—elevating its interbank loan rate to 4.5 percent from its last update at 4.25 percent in December.