National poll shows Newfoundland and Saskatchewan feeling highest economic stress

People in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland feel the most financially stressed according to a new Angus Reid study.
People in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland feel the most financially stressed according to a new Angus Reid study.WS file photo

new Angus Reid study shows that people in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland are the most stressed about making ends meet.

One-in-three Canadians (32%) continue to fall into the “Struggling” group on the Angus Reid Institute Economic Stress Index, which measures how well Canadians are keeping up on core economic indicators, alongside their own economic outlook. There is now a nine-point gap between this group and the next closest.

Two years ago, by comparison, the ’struggling’ were one-quarter of the population. Falling are the number of ’comfortable’, a group that is now 23% of the population, compared to 29% in 2022.

Almost half (46%) in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador (46%) are considered Struggling by the index. Meanwhile, one-third (34%) in Quebec are in the Comfortable category. Those in Saskatchewan have consistently been more likely to be in the Struggling category than others across the country.

Angus Reid Institute

The news was no surprise to Saskatchewan NDP Leader Carla Beck.

“Every day, I hear from families who are working harder than ever and still falling behind. People who used to be able to afford a family vacation are now living paycheque to paycheque, pinching pennies just to pay the bills,” Beck said in a press release.

“Governments at all levels need to work towards lowering costs for folks and make sure that the people who call this province home have the opportunity to get ahead.”

Saskatchewan has the most people in Canada who:

  • Feel worse off than last year (56%)

  • Think they will be worse off next year (45%)

  • Have a hard time feeding their household (48%).

People in Regina and Saskatoon worry more about money compared to people in most other Canadian cities.

Angus Reid Institute

The NDP have pledged to immediately suspend the 15-cent provincial gas tax if they gained power, something Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador have done before.

The Saskatchewan Party government has said living in Saskatchewan remains more affordable than in most other places, partly due to average housing prices that trail larger urban centres.

According to MLS stats compiled by LoansCanada.ca, the average price of a home in Canada was $685,809 in February, up 3.5% over last year. The average price of a home in Saskatchewan was $330,800, 4.7% up from one year prior.

The Angus Reid survey confirmed that a key driver of financial stress is housing affordability. More than two-in-five Canadians (44%) say they are having a tough or very difficult time keeping up with this aspect of their finances. Among homeowners with a mortgage this rises to 47%, and among renters, to 56%.

The number saying immigration is a top three issue has increased from 8 to 18% in one year as record levels of immigration continue and criticisms about insufficient services and housing increase.

Pessimism remains prominent for what the next 12 months hold. While one-in-five (18%) say they expect to be in a better financial situation next year, near twice as many (34%) say they expect to be worse off. The largest group (39%) say they expect more of the same.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from June 14-20 among a representative randomized sample of 4,204 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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