56% of Canadians say they can't keep pace with high cost of living, according to survey

In a new Angus Reid poll, 56 per cent of Canadians surveyed say they're struggling to keep pace as high inflation and interest rates force them to tighten their belts.

Cutbacks on travel, driving, charity are common patterns among surveyed Canadians

Angus Reid poll suggests most Canadians cutting back

1 year ago
Duration 2:32
A poll from the Angus Reid Institute suggests 80 per cent of Canadians are cutting back on spending as prices increase because of inflation.

Over half of Canadians say they can't keep pace with the current cost of living, according to a survey released Monday by the Angus Reid Institute.

The polling firm surveyed 2,279 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum from Aug. 8-10 and found that 56 per cent of them are struggling to keep up as high inflation and interest rates force them to tighten their belts.

Four in five respondents, or 80 per cent, said they have reduced some kind of spending in the last few months, with 57 per cent reporting they have trimmed discretionary expenses.

Three quarters of Canadians say they are stressed about money. While July inflation decreased to 7.6 per cent from a 39-year high of 8.1 in June, indicating that inflation has slowed down for the first time in over a year, food prices have risen 10 per cent since last year.

If there's one thing that all Canadians agree on, as indicated by this survey, it's a belief that grocery chains are taking advantage of high inflation to hike prices and boost their profits — a phenomenon coined "greedflation."

Seventy-eight per cent of Canadians were aligned in believing this is happening, regardless of demographics, though major grocery chains like Empire and Loblaws have denied it, saying they've become more efficient.

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To help afford the necessities:

  • Over 40 per cent of Canadians say they are delaying a major purchase and driving less.
  • Thirty-two per cent cancelled or curtailed travel plans this year, while over a quarter opted to scale back on charitable donations as they adjust their budgets.
  • Nineteen per cent said they are deferring contributions to their tax-free savings accounts and retirement savings plans.

Canadians were given a scenario in which they would receive a non-conditional gift of $5,000 — and 10 per cent said they would use it to address immediate financial obligations, while 38 per cent would use it for long-term needs; 43 per cent would save the money while nine per cent would make a pricey purchase.

But if the opposite happened — in which they incurred a surprise expense of $1,000 or more — half said they would not be able to shoulder the expense. Thirteen per cent say any unplanned expense would be "too much," the polling firm said in its report.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted its survey online. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


Jenna Benchetrit is a web and radio journalist for CBC News. She works primarily with the entertainment and education teams and occasionally covers business and general assignment stories. A Montrealer based in Toronto, Jenna holds a master's degree in journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University. You can reach her at