Purchasing power |  Quebecers are doing just fine

Purchasing power | Quebecers are doing just fine

Good news for Quebecers, their financial health would be better than that of other Canadians, concludes the BDO Financial Accessibility Index published on Thursday. Although the socioeconomic atmosphere is not at its highest point of joy these days, how did we arrive at this observation? Answers in three key points.

Posted yesterday at 8:00 am

Stephanie Berube

Stephanie Berube

The data set shows the deterioration of personal finances

First, don’t wear rose-colored glasses: “Canadians’ financial affordability and health have never been worse since the inception of the index,” consultancy BDO initially announced, delivering its fifth affordability index on Thursday. This is the second year that the situation is grim: last year, we measured the impact of the pandemic, explains Ronald Gagnon, a licensed insolvency trustee at BDO Montreal. This time, it is really inflation that weighs down the morale of Canadians and that does not forget anyone.

Saving is therefore more difficult, and for the country as a whole, 42% of those surveyed say their debt has “become crushing”, almost double the levels seen in 2021.

In Quebec, almost three quarters (74%) of the participants admit that inflation has deteriorated the state of their personal finances.

Quebecers would resist better in this inflationary context than other Canadians since the increase in certain expenses, such as groceries, transport and rent, would reduce their capacity to save less than in other parts of the country. In the Atlantic provinces, nine out of ten people indicate that these current expenses are the main obstacle to saving.

“The cost of basic necessities is lower in Quebec”, clarifies Ronald Gagnon, to explain this gap. The grocery basket has increased, yes, but it is still less expensive in Quebec than in other parts of the country.

Cooking saves Quebecers!

The gap between Quebecers and the national average is widening in the supermarket: yes, Quebecers are worried about being able to feed their families well given skyrocketing food prices, but they are far less worried than residents of other provinces.

While more than one in three Canadians (35%) say it is now difficult to feed themselves and their families, the Quebec average is 28%.

Why ?

Economist and agronomist Pascal Thériault believes that our eating behavior sometimes differs from that of other Canadians.

Total household food spending is highest in Canada, at $10,311 per year. In Quebec, we are at $9,847 (according to the latest data from Statistics Canada).

Pascal Thériault, economist and agronomist

Much of the explanation comes from food purchased at restaurants, whether for consumption on or off the premises. Rising restaurant prices inevitably affect fewer Quebecers who frequent them less, concludes Pascal Thériault, director of the agricultural business technologies and management program at McGill University.

Another interesting fact: if the proportion of food purchased in restaurants is lower, on average, in Quebec, we cook more. And whoever says cooking says better control potential, explains Professor Thériault.

Trustee Ronald Gagnon believes that we must now be flexible in the supermarket. “Before we advised making a list and sticking to it. We write halibut, we buy halibut, he says. Now, maybe it’s better to write “fish” and choose what it is [à prix réduit]. »

The fact is that cooking or not, the ability to save is under pressure in Quebec, as it is throughout the country. This increase in the price of basic necessities is compressing the budget.

However, the idea of ​​saving is not dead and those who achieve it or plan to do so have three main objectives: create an emergency fund, save for retirement, save for a special project.

Is access to property becoming a mirage?

As Statistics Canada told us last week that the homeownership rate is declining across the country, and particularly in Quebec, this new financial affordability index also highlights a phenomenon that is already widely documented: the dream of one day buying a property now seems inaccessible to many. In Quebec, 73% of non-homeowners believe it is unlikely that they will be able to own a home in the next three years. Nearly one in two people (46%) cannot put aside the down payment required to purchase a property.

“It is true that the initial payment is higher, recalls Ronald Gagnon, because the price of the properties is higher. […] In an inflationary context, the real estate dream is certainly less accessible. »

The data analyzed to build this index was collected online through an Angus Reid Group survey of more than 2,000 Canadians.

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