On Wednesday, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney announced the benchmark interest rate will remain at one per cent, but people with a high debt are worried rates could soon rise.


Diane Fisher has racked up $33,000 in debt after moving to Kemptville when she remarried, and she said she worries about how she's going to pay it off. (CBC)

The average Canadian is now more than $26,000 in debt, excluding mortgages. A higher interest rate would make it harder to pay that debt down.

Diana Fisher, 44, moved from the city to Kemptville, Ont., after getting remarried. But as a freelance writer, she found it hard to get enough work.

Soon enough, she racked up a $27,000 line of credit and another $6,000 in credit card debt.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a number of free online tools to let people see how to save money, including:

'It actually keeps me awake at night'

"It actually keeps me awake at night," Fisher said. "I'm flipping around trying to figure out how I'm going to pay that off.

"For me it was a car purchase. And Christmas every year is a little bit out of control I think because we've got five daughters and they all need stuff, so we tend to save it until Christmas and then buy them the furniture or whatever it is they need. We helped a daughter buy a car this year. Just little things here and there, and helping one pay for OSAP. It just adds up."

Fisher has acquired debt and then paid it off in the past. This time, she said, her plan is to work harder to find more freelance work, sell some household items, and spend less.

Scott McBride, a finance instructor at Algonquin College, said Canadians are faring almost as bad as people in the U.S. and the UK.

"It raises some level of concern because we're at historic highs," he said. 


Scott McBride, a finance instructor at Algonquin College, said the average Canadian's debt is reaching historic highs. (CBC)

"Recent data was showing that debt level to income is at around 155 per cent (in Canada), which is quite significant. … We're awfully, awfully close to other countries that have had a miserable time in looking at their own debt or credit crisis situations," said McBride.

"So we have to at least be aware of the possible consequences of having debt, both on a national level … and on an individual level."