Canadians owed almost $1.64 for every dollar of disposable income they earned in the third quarter, Canada's national statistics agency said Monday.

Statistics Canada reported that Canada's debt-to-income ratio ticked up to 163.7 per cent in the third quarter, which ended in September. That's up a full percentage point from the previous quarter's level.

While the headline figure rose, beneath the surface the data is not so bleak,  BMO economist Doug Porter said. "It has held more or less steady in the zone just below $165," he said.

The ratio rose, because Canadians' debt loads went up faster than their incomes. Household debt rose 1.4 per cent in the quarter, while disposable income climbed 0.8 per cent.

"Effectively, rising principal payments on higher debt tallies are being offset one-for-one by easing interest payments," Porter noted.

All in all, Canadians owed $1.89 trillion at the end of the third quarter, up 1.4 per cent from the previous quarter. Within that, consumer credit debt was $572.3 billion, while mortgage debt stood at $1,234 billion.