3 in 5 Canadians are finding it difficult to feed their families

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A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute (ARI) revealed that more than half of Canadians are struggling to feed their families.

Around three-in-five (57%) Canadians said that it is currently difficult to feed their household as the country’s inflation rate reached a 30-year high, ARI findings showed. In 2019, when the Angus Reid Institute asked this same question, a far smaller number (36%) said this aspect of their finances was causing them difficulty.

Nonetheless most Canadians are feeling the pinch of having to pay more for virtually everything from groceries and gas to furniture as wages have not kept pace with the rise in inflation. Four-in-five Canadians (82%) told ARI that the increase in cost of living has outpaced any income growth they have seen in their household.

According to the ARI poll some Canadians are struggling more than ever to endure the financial stresses of the pandemic. This segment of the population is comprised largely of those who have lower incomes, more precarious housing situations, and difficulty keeping up with inflationary trends while relying on stagnant wages. Those secured by their relatively strong position of wealth, on the other hand, have seen their economic well-being maintained, if not improved.

Two-in-five (39%) Canadians say they are worse off now than they were last year. This represents the largest group saying this in 13 years of tracking by ARI. On the other end of the spectrum are higher-income, low-debt households, who have seen their position either unchanged over the past year or improved.

Many Canadians believe the worse is yet to come. While one-quarter (23%) are optimistic that their financial standing will improve in the next 12 months, more (29 per cent) say it will worsen.

Residents in Alberta (49%), Saskatchewan (47%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (47%), are most likely to say they are worse off now than they were last year. However, at least one-in-three in every region say this, though that group is smallest in Quebec (33%).

Debt remains a major source of stress for one-quarter (24%) of Canadians and a minor concern for two-in-five (42%).

With many economists expecting a rate hike from the Bank of Canada sooner rather than later, and an annoucement due next week, one-quarter (25%) of Canadians believe an increase in interest rates would have a major negative impact on their household finances.

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