More and more Canadians are struggling to pay their bills, a new consumer index report reveals. 

According to the MNP Consumer Debt Index, 43% of Canadians say they’re struggling with their personal finances and paying off their debts while another 45% are concerned about meeting their living expenses. 

“It is getting harder for Canadians to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said MNP LTD president Grant Bazian on Monday. 

“Unexpected expenses are one of the biggest contributors to household financial turmoil, and many are starting the new year being dealt another round of unexpected business closures, reduced working hours or job loss, and COVID-related health concerns.”

When broken down further, the numbers show that only 27% claimed they could cope with serious crises without plunging themselves further into debt. Half of the respondents said they are $200 or less away from being overburdened financially. 

“We have seen households resorting to credit to make ends meet as their finances have been stretched thin over the course of the pandemic,” said Bazian. “With the cost of living on the rise, those households who were already overextended may feel they have to take on more debt just to afford basic necessities.”

Canadians also generally regret the debt they have had to take on to get by, with 45% expressing misgivings about their financial situations. 

The survey was conducted by Ipsos between Dec.1 and 7, 2021 and included 2,000 Canadians over the age of 18. The poll is accurate within +/-2.5%, or 19 times out of 20. 

Conservative critics have accused the Liberal government of mismanaging Canada’s finances, leading to a rise in the price of goods across the country. 

“We have an emergency in this country. And it is that our economy has become a gigantic inflated balloon,” said Conservative Finance Critic Pierre Poilievre. 

Poilievre recently spearheaded a move to have the Commons Finance Committee hold a hearing on Canada’s housing and inflation crisis when Parliament returns at the end of this month. 

Inflation levels in Canada are currently the highest they have been since 2003, marking an 18-year record. According to Statistics Canada’s latest Consumer Price Index, inflation reached 4.7% in October.