Warning Lights: One in four Canadians unable to afford $500 emergency expense, StatsCan reports

Toronto, Ontario — A recent Statistics Canada national survey found that one in four Canadians could not pay for a sudden $500 expense, while one-third experienced some financial difficulty over the last 12 months.

Notably, one third of residents in the Atlantic Region and 28 percent of people in the Prairies reported that they were unable to cover a sudden expense. British Columbians had the most optimistic outlook, with 19 percent being unable to cover a sudden $500 expense.

Young adults were particularly impacted but Canadians aged 25 to 34 had the highest level of optimism—37 percent believed that their financial situation would improve within a year. This figure declined steadily across older demographics.

“Almost half (46 percent) of people aged 35 to 44 years found it difficult to meet their financial needs in the previous 12 months, the highest proportion of any other age group. Those aged 45 to 54 years (41 percent) had the next highest proportion, and people aged 65 years and older (25 percent) were the least likely to report difficulty,” states the report.

According to StatsCan, 2022 saw the largest increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since 1982 (+10.9 percent), with an increase of 6.8 percent since 2021. The largest increases were in transportation (+10.6 percent), food (+8.9 percent) and shelter (+6.9 percent).


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