Household finances in Canada: Time for a reality check (2015)

Our report on household debt examines Canadians’ perceptions of their financial position in light of significant economic uncertainty and compares those perceptions to publicly available statistical measures.

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In research conducted in the spring of 2014 by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), it appeared that many Canadians did not feel threatened by an unsettled economy. Given the sharp decline in oil prices since mid-2014, we commissioned a second public opinion poll of 1,500 Canadians in the winter of 2015 to examine if attitudes had changed.

The winter 2015 survey measured attitudes on household debt and wealth accumulation. Household Finances in Canada: Time for a Reality Check examines how those perceptions reconciled with publicly available statistical measures of household indebtedness and wealth.


  • trends in household debt, including regional variation
  • perceptions on financial distress, household debt, and ability to build wealth
  • how those perceptions compare to real economic measures
  • factors that may exacerbate household financial vulnerability
  • indicators of wealth showing Canadians may have room to make positive changes