Canadian Household Debt Ratio Climbs To Record High – Hits 167.6% In Second Quarter Of 2016

(NEW WESTMINSTER, BC, – September 15, 2016) Canadian consumers’ appetite for credit continues to grow, according to the latest Statistics Canada report. On Thursday, Statistics Canada released their quarterly National balance sheet and financial flow accounts, which showed that Canadian household debt reached a new high of 167.6% of disposable income in the second quarter of 2016, up from 165.2% in the first quarter.

“When interest rates are low it’s tempting to take out loans and buy things on credit, but we have to remember that interest rates will rise eventually,” states Scott Hannah, the CEO of the Credit Counselling Society. “If we’re already struggling to manage our debts now, things are only going to get more challenging when the cost of borrowing rises.”

The new household debt ratio means the average Canadian owes nearly $1.68 for every $1 in disposable income they earn in a year.

On Tuesday, TransUnion released a study indicating that a 1/4 point increase in interest rates would affect nearly 700,000 people, and up to a million people would be affected if those rates increased by 1%. Earlier this month, the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) released a survey highlighting that nearly half of working Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque. According to that same study, almost one in four Canadians wouldn’t be able to come up with $2,000 if an emergency arose in the next month.

Hannah said the new household debt numbers, combined with the latest CPA and TransUnion reports, are cause for concern because individuals who are living paycheque to paycheque may not take action soon enough as interest rates start to go back up. According to Hannah, interest rates have been hovering at record lows for an extended period of time, and as a result, many Canadians may have developed a false sense of security.

What many Canadians don’t realize, however, is that these low interest rates are not going to be here forever, Hannah noted. He went on to say that Canadians should make the most of this opportunity to clear their debts before interest rates start to increase.

“The low interest rates are certainly helping to keep the economy under control, but the increase is coming,” said Hannah. “A sudden change in interest rates will come as an unpleasant surprise for those who have debt and no savings, so it’s important to start anticipating and preparing yourself for that increase.”

Media Contact:

Scott Hannah, President & CEO

Direct: 604.636.0211

About the Credit Counselling Society (CCS)

The Credit Counselling Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers manage their money and debt better. CCS provides free, confidential credit counselling, debt repayment options, budgeting assistance and financial education.