The battle with debt intensifies but Canadians approach it with optimism

Despite growing debt, more than half of Canadians report having a ‘money vision’ to tackle their finances: Credit Canada/Capital One Canada survey

TORONTO, Nov. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In support of this year’s Credit Education Week, Credit Canada and Capital One Canada have released the #MyMoneyVision survey focused on Canadians' money management behaviours. The survey reveals that, while debt is increasing at a macro level, Canadians remain optimistic about tackling it.

According to the findings, while 60 per cent of Canadians are earning the same or less than last year, nearly half (48 per cent) are spending more. Additionally, one in three (32 per cent) have increased their debt, a number that balloons to 44 per cent for millennials. At the same time, nearly 6 in 10 Canadians (57 per cent) are meeting their debt-reduction goals, and 56 per cent have a “money vision” for their finances this year.

“Income volatility is a real concern for many and managing money can feel overwhelming, no matter your financial situation,” said Jay Acharya, Head of Customer Management, Capital One Canada. “Credit Education Week is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the ways responsible credit use can help build long-term financial success. Maintaining a healthy credit score and having access to credit are the building blocks to achieving many goals, and we’re committed to helping Canadians succeed with credit.”

​Credit Education Week is taking place nationally from November 12-15, 2019. This year’s theme, #MyMoneyVision, is designed to help Canadians both envision and take steps toward a healthier financial future.

Other findings from the study include:

The debt burden increases - the difference a year makes.
The survey found that 63 per cent of Canadians are currently carrying debt. Of those that have seen an increase in debt since last year, one in three (33 per cent) have seen it rise by more than 20 per cent. A small but significant number of that population (8 per cent) have increased their debt by more than 50 per cent.

Still, the majority of Canadians remain optimistic. 83 per cent believe they have the tools, knowledge and resources to get out of debt, and 44 per cent say they will be debt-free in one or two years. Despite this, 52 per cent still report their financial realities have not improved year-over-year.

The survey also asked those with consumer debt (outside of their mortgage) about the biggest obstacles to becoming debt-free. The top three answers were:

  • A lack of discipline in sticking to a monthly budget (33 per cent)
  • The need to make daily ends meet (e.g. gas, grocery and general bills) (29 per cent)
  • Covering for family members' expenses, costs and debt (13 per cent)

Of note, half of Canadians would feel ashamed to discuss their challenges with sticking to a monthly budget.

“Most Canadians who manage their debts well have learned through past experience,” said Laurie Campbell, Credit Canada CEO. "However, there seems to be shame associated with the failures that made us wiser with money. Addressing our social culture and having more conversations around money and credit in our communities can help us tackle the debt problem together."

Canadians and their relationship with credit.
Canadians use credit cards for various reasons, with more than half the population (54 per cent) carrying more than one card. Nearly 6 in 10 (59 per cent) use credit cards for everyday purchases. Strikingly, one in four use credit to bridge the gap in between pay cheques.

When asked to grade themselves in terms of their knowledge, confidence and “credit savviness,” the survey shows there is much room for improvement and a need for broader credit education:

  • Three in 10 respondents (29 per cent) graded themselves an A – “I'm passionate about this topic and could teach it to others”
  • Almost as many respondents (28 per cent) gave themselves a C-or-D – “To be quite candid, I have a lot to learn in this area”
  • The majority of respondents (43 per cent) gave themselves a B – “I'm from the school of hard knocks and have many personal hard lessons learned to share”
  • Nearly half of respondents (49 per cent) admit they do not know their credit score

Credit Education Week is part of a country-wide effort to raise financial literacy awareness and the importance of proper credit education. There are several initiatives and events being run across the country during the month of November. To learn more, please visit www.​

To download a free monthly budget template from Credit Canada, click here.

For additional survey stats, regional results and consumer tips on healthy money management, please contact the media contact below.

About the study.
From September 16-20, 2019, an online survey of 1,594 randomly selected Canadian adults was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5​%​​, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Any discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.  

About Capital One Canada.
With offices in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal, Capital One Canada has been offering Canadian consumers a range of competitive Mastercard credit cards since 1996. We challenge ourselves to see the world through the eyes of our customers so we can deliver the market-leading credit products and exceptional service they’re looking for. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF). To learn more visit,​ and follow us on Twitter ​@CapitalOneCA.

About Credit Canada.
Credit Canada is a not-for-profit credit counselling agency providing free and confidential debt and credit counselling, personal debt management, debt consolidation and resolutions, as well as preventative counselling, educational seminars, and free tips and tools in the areas of budgeting, money management, and financial goal-setting. Credit Canada is Canada’s first and longest-standing credit counselling agency and a leader in financial wellness, helping Canadians successfully manage their debt since 1966. Please visit for more information and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact for more information
Emma Ninham, MAVERICK
Office: 416-640-5525 x 239
Mobile: 437-986-5746

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at