One quarter of in-debt Canadians believe they will never be debt free: BDO poll

73% of Canadians are carrying debt – 22% have 'a good deal or a lot' of consumer debt – 55% would have trouble paying bills if interest rates rise

TORONTO, May 26, 2016 /CNW/ - A vast majority (73%) of Canadians are carrying debt and a quarter (23%) of them say they will never be debt free, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of BDO Canada Limited. And yet, with millennial (under)employment, unmanageable student debt and rising housing prices causing "failure to launch," 4-in-10 Canadians somehow believe their children will be better off than they are.

The poll shows those most likely to be carrying a good deal or a lot of debt are those aged 35-54 (28%), followed by Canadians 55+ (20%) and those 34-and-under 34 (16%).

"It's concerning that being debt free is such a distant goal for many Canadians," says Doug Jones, President of BDO Canada Limited. "While only one-quarter of in-debt Canadians are worried enough about their debt to seek professional advice, many could benefit from speaking with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, who can explain all the debt relief options that are available to them."

Key Poll Findings (**For full tabular results, please visit our website at

How long do you anticipate it will take you to become debt-free,
including being without a mortgage?

Respondents with at least some personal debt

Less than two years


Two to four years


5-9 years


10-14 years


15-19 years


20-24 years


25+ years


I will never be debt free


Mean (Average)

8.33 years


                       Debt Expectations by Household Income 
% who say they will never be debt-free

Less than $40,000


$40,000 - <$60,000


$60,000 - <$100,000





  • 55% are concerned they would not be able to pay their monthly bills if interest rates increase
  • 46% say the rising cost of living means less money goes toward paying down debt
  • 58% of homeowners believe the value of their home will increase, 30% believe their property value will remain unchanged
  • 40% of parents believe their children's standard of living will be better than their own, 29% believe their children will be worse off

About BDO Canada Limited's Financial Recovery Services practice:
BDO Canada Limited's Financial Recovery Services practice is one of Canada's oldest (operating since 1958) and largest debt help firms, with offices across the country. BDO's advisors include Licensed Insolvency Trustees (Officers of the Court and licensed by the OSB) and Proposal Administrators providing credit counseling, consumer proposals and personal bankruptcy services.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid survey conducted between May 16 to19, 2016, on behalf of BDO. A sample of 1,005 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel were interviewed. The sample is considered accurate to within +/-3.5 percentage points had all Canadians been surveyed.

SOURCE BDO Canada Limited

For further information: Media inquiries please contact: Eric McLean at Environics Communications, 416-969-2756,

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