Financial worries are gaining ground

Economic news may be encouraging, but financial worries are taking hold. Half of Quebec’s population (48%) now experience it at a moderate or extreme level. When all levels of anxiety are included, this proportion jumps to 86%. This is too much in a country that is supposed to offer an adequate standard of living.

This anxiety must be taken seriously because it is not without consequences. It affects mental health. This can result in sleep problems and a lack of concentration at work, two effects often mentioned by those affected.

Money problems also encourage arguments. More than half (56%) of people in poor financial situations say their situation caused family conflict or tension in the 14 days before the survey. The data comes from a study conducted in February by Léger for the Centraide of Greater Montreal among 2,002 adults. The results will be released this Tuesday.

There is a lot of talk these days about rudeness and rudeness. People have a shorter insurance policy. He can’t take anything anymore. Could it be that financial anxiety is exacerbating this phenomenon? I don’t understand how we can remain calm when we wonder if we will be able to find accommodation 1ahem July or fill your fridge for the whole month.


Claude Pinard, CEO of Centraide of Greater Montreal

In addition, the organization that offers food assistance has hired a mental health worker to provide services to its clients, Claude Pinard, CEO of Centraide of Greater Montreal, told me. “We have food banks that, like Swiss Army knives, are adding skills that are not their core skills. We see that. »

In the last year, inflation slowed down significantly, especially in supermarkets. The labor market in Quebec remains more buoyant than in the other provinces, with the exception of Manitoba. Interest rates should start falling soon.

However, over the past 18 months, the proportion of Quebecers experiencing financial anxiety has jumped 6 points, from 42% to 48%. This constant increase in a relatively favorable economic context worries Claude Pinard, who sees the consequences daily on the ground.

Léger tells us that young people between the ages of 18 and 34 (65%) are most affected by anxiety. Everything around housing affects them. No less than 56% fear being excluded. Among 35-54 year olds, 67% fear they will never be able to access property.

We also observe a large gap between Montreal and Quebec. In the metropolis, 49% of residents suffer from financial anxiety, while in the capital it is “only” 38%, which can be explained by the composition of their population.

The same kind of difference is observed between women (50%) and men (41%). Among parents (61%) and adults without children (42%).

Of course, anxiety is higher in groups labeled as “vulnerable,” which include, but are not limited to, racialized people, newcomers, the unemployed, the disabled, or those without postsecondary education. “For those on the street, it’s getting harder and harder,” notes Christian Bourque, executive vice president of Léger.

The multiplier effect of the housing crisis is merciless.

Two examples among others. Abused women cannot move, which puts them under unbearable stress. Those who pay too much for housing need food donations, either for the first time in their lives or before the 25th of the month “Before, food banks solved problems,” says Claude Pinard. It is now part of the strategy to feed the family. »

While community housing and catering organizations struggle to keep up with demand, licensed insolvency practitioners (LITs) are busier.

The phone has been ringing more and more in Jean Fortin’s offices since January. “We’re hearing a lot of panic from people who are suffering the impact of rent and food costs,” notes administrator Pierre Fortin. Auto loans complete the trio that puts a heavy burden on finances and causes over-indebtedness.

“It is clear that people are more unhappy than before,” analyzes Pierre Fortin.

Microloans of $1,000 or $1,500 “with 100% interest when you include the commission” are commonplace, notes the administrator, who speaks of the “disaster.” Very often there are “four or five” per file it processes. They are also increasingly seeing more significant loans (around $20,000) obtained from private non-bank lenders.

SAI Ronald Gagnon of BDO Canada is surprised by the increased use of microloans, even among those with perfectly decent incomes. “It’s an endless spiral, a bottomless pit. » An important warning, which also reminds us that the rules regarding this type of loan should be quickly tightened.

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