Saskatchewan. residents feel financial ‘pinch’ more than rest of Canada, poll finds

As the Bank of Canada pushes interest rates to a record high, those in the Prairie provinces are feeling the pinch more than the rest of the country, according to a new poll.

The MNP Ltd poll found that 55% of residents of the Prairies (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) said that if interest rates continued to rise, they would experience financial difficulty. That’s a seven-point increase from last quarter, which is the biggest jump across Canada.

“These two provinces seem to be in more trouble than other provinces in Canada, feeling the pinch a little more with rising interest rates,” Licensed Insolvency Trustee Michelle Scheller told CTV News.

“More and more people are cutting non-essential expenses, as well as essential expenses. More than 55% said a further rise in interest rates would push them into further financial difficulties. And that was before the hike that took place today.

According to the poll, 38% said rising interest rates could put them out of business.

Thirty percent of Prairie residents said they had to make difficult decisions about essential purchases. Three in 10 respondents said they were cutting costs for food, utilities and housing.

According to statistics, many are turning to lower cost items for their daily shopping. Two out of five drive less than before to save money.

“Wherever Saskatchewan residents turn, it’s more expensive; housing is more expensive, driving a car is more expensive, food is more expensive. There is no reprieve,” Pamela Meger, Licensed Insolvency Trustee at MNP LTD, said in a press release.

“As inflation nears a 40-year high, the pressure to tame it with more aggressive interest rate hikes is mounting. Saskatchewan residents may be surprised at the impact future interest rate increases may have on their finances and their ability to meet their debt repayment obligations,” Meger said.

Scheller said Saskatchewan residents are making good decisions to deal with financial pressure.

“People are more aware of budgeting, they’re cutting back on expenses they may not need, they’re looking for cheaper items for their everyday purchases, all of which are very positive changes.”

However, she warns those under pressure not to take on more debt at this time.

“That’s probably not the route they’ll want to go, because then you have these higher interest on those payments, and how do they handle that going forward?”

She recommends people contact their bank to see if they have any options or seek help from a licensed insolvency trustee.

“When people are under financial pressure. They kind of want to hide or just hope it will go away. The sooner you can get suggestions, the better. It just makes it easier to manage in the beginning rather than as the situation escalates and snowballs down the road.

The study, conducted by Ipsos for MNP ltd, also found that half of them are cutting back on non-essential purchases, such as restaurants, entertainment and travel.

Only 7% of respondents in the Prairies said they were not affected by rising costs.

For the survey, 2,000 Canadians were polled between June 6 and June 9, 2022/ the poll is accurate to within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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