Ipsos Public Affairs polling conducted exclusively for Global News suggests a growing proportion of Canadians (22 per cent) are “completely out of money” to the degree that they would not be able to pay more for household necessities.
That figure is up three percentage points from similar polling conducted in October and rises to 28 per cent among women.
One in four residents of Ontario and Quebec would say they’re completely tapped out, according to the polling, as would 35 per cent of those bringing in a household income of under $40,000.
Ipsos’s findings are based on a survey of more than 1,000 Canadians from Jan. 19-23.
An additional 32 per cent say the pressure to meet continued rising costs of staples such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter would force major changes to their spending plans.
Altogether, more than half of respondents (54 per cent) say they’d struggle to absorb further price increases in their budget, up five percentage points from October.
“The impact on (the) pocketbook is insurmountable, Sanyam Sethi, vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs, told Global News. “And that’s where the current financial situation stands. Things are not looking up. The concerns are nowhere close to being alleviated.”
Inflation is easing, but anxiety isn't
Even as inflation has shown signs of easing in recent months — the cost of living was up 6.3 per cent in December, down from a peak of 8.1 per cent in June — the polling suggests Canadians aren’t yet feeling relieved.
More than half (52 per cent) of Canadians are still concerned they won’t have enough money to feed their family — down just one percentage point from November polling. Women, those with kids and those aged 18-34 were among those most likely to hold this sentiment.
While experts might say Canada has passed the peak of inflation, poll respondents are still feeling the impact of high prices, Sethi said.
“An individual whose pocket is being impacted … they will continue to feel the aftershocks for some time to come,” Sethi said.
“The situation from an individual perspective is very uncertain.”
Women remain more concerned about finances across the board, according to Ipsos.
The gender disparity is very, very clear here,” Sethi said. “Women feel the pinch much more so than men.”
Eight in 10 Canadians (81 per cent) said they were concerned inflation would make everyday things unaffordable for them — unchanged from November’s figures — with 86 per cent of women holding this belief.
While 68 per cent of Canadians were worried interest rates would rise faster than they can keep up, 77 per cent of women held that concern compared with 59 per cent of men surveyed.
Some 62 per cent of women were worried they wouldn’t be able to afford gas, up from 56 per cent of the general population.
“Our data is telling us that general financial situation has eroded,” Sethi said. “Financial health has declined over time. The damage has been done – and it will take a long time to build back.”
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between Jan. 19 and Jan. 23, 2023, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.