The number of Canadians struggling to keep up with day-to-day expenses and going into debt to sustain their families continues to increase since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a recently released federal government research report. 

The report Consumer Vulnerability: Evidence from the Monthly COVID-19 Financial Well-being Survey found that four out of ten Canadians (38%) say they are having to borrow money in order to keep up with their expenses, a 32% increase from August 2020. 

Also, more than three times more Canadians say they have sought a loan from a payday loan company or online lender to manage their daily expenses. Nearly five percent of Canadians have sought these services. 

Over the past few years, Canadians have dealt with rough economic conditions, from public health measures ordering businesses to close, to record inflation that peaked at 8.1% in mid-2022. As a result, more Canadians are seeing their personal financial affairs worsen. 

The report found that 48% of Canadians say that they have dipped into their savings in order to cope with the effects of the pandemic. 

Canadians are becoming more pessimistic with their financial outlooks as well, with a third of respondents saying they will never have what they want because of their financial situation – a 30% increase from August 2022. As well, 42% believe that finances control their lives. 

The poll was conducted in September 2022, but the report was only recently posted. 

These findings come amid a wave of opinion polls routinely identifying a sense of pessimism among the Canadian public. A recent Pollara Strategic Insights survey found that over half of Canadians believe they will not have enough money to retire.

Since March 2022, the Bank of Canada has been hiking up their interest rates in the hopes of bringing inflation down, with the policy rate reaching 4.5% as of January 2023.