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Most Canadians are comfortable with their debt load but inflation, rising rates could quickly change that: CIBC Poll

TORONTO, April 28, 2022 /CNW/ - When it comes to finances, a new CIBC survey finds that less than a third of Canadians are debt-free, and the majority of those with debt (71 per cent) are comfortable with their current financial situation. That level of comfort could change quickly, however, with many (68 per cent) of those with debt saying they are concerned or very concerned about the impact of rising inflation on their ability to pay everyday bills and living expenses. And if interest rates rise in 2022, 44 per cent of those with debt would be concerned about their ability to make regular debt payments.

"Many Canadians faced a tough few years financially as a result of the pandemic, so it's great to see that most people are comfortable with the amount they're carrying and are staying on top of their payments with only a few indicating they are struggling to keep up," said Carissa Lucreziano, Vice-President, CIBC Financial and Investment Advice. "But given underlying concerns over inflation and rising rates, now is the time to start discussing and planning for managing through any challenges that might emerge."

Canadians are optimistic about their debt

The majority of people with debt polled (78 per cent) indicated they are making a reasonable effort to pay off their debt and that many Canadians with debt believe it isn't necessarily a bad thing if managed carefully (52 per cent).

Excluding mortgage debt, most Canadians believe they will be debt-free within the next five years (51 per cent) and, among those with mortgages, most expect to be debt-free by the age of 55.  

The survey also found that while stigma around debt continues to exist, many Canadians (60 per cent) believe there is less shame around talking about debt than there used to be.

"Money matters can be an emotional subject and people often feel shame around asking for support with debt, but we're here to help. We have the tools, solutions and services available to help Canadians improve their financial wellbeing and relieve stress as they manage their debt," added Ms. Lucreziano.

Keeping an eye on inflation but ready for warmer weather

As Canadians head into their first summer without previous pandemic restrictions, 42 per cent are looking to make the most out of the warmer weather and expect they will spend more money this summer than in previous years.

However, many Canadians (63 per cent) are keeping an eye on rising inflation and are not looking to go overboard with spending with 40 per cent saying they will adhere to a stricter budget as the cost of goods continues to rise. 

CIBC Poll - Other Key Findings
  • 30 per cent of Canadians are currently debt-free, up 4-percentage points from last year
  • Among those with mortgage debt, it accounts for 84.7 per cent of their total debt, on average
  • 61 per cent say they have an emergency fund, while 34 per cent would need to fund unforeseen expenses elsewhere
About CIBC

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with 11 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Small Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada, in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at


From March 3 to March 4, 2022, an online survey of 1,520 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.


For further information: Kira Smylie, 416-980-2949 or