Canadian Household Debt Reaches $1.3 Trillion and Continues to Escalate

    ~ CGA-Canada releases new findings on household debt and consumption ~

    VANCOUVER, May 26 /CNW/ - A new report by the Certified General
Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) reveals that household debt has
reached an all-time high of $1.3 trillion in 2008, yet Canadians perceive
their financial condition to be better than it is. According to the report,
Canadian families are financing consumption activity with unearned money as
they increasingly reach for credit to finance day-to-day living expenses.
    The report, Where Has the Money Gone: The State of Canadian Household
Debt in a Stumbling Economy, is based on a consumer survey conducted in
November 2008. The survey asked Canadians to reflect on the changes that had
occurred in their household finances over the past three years, with a focus
on household debt, income, assets, wealth, spending and savings.
    "Household debt has increased significantly over recent years,
jeopardizing the financial security of Canadian households," says Anthony
Ariganello, President and CEO of CGA-Canada. "Many Canadians are not aware of
how the economic downturn has impacted their financial situation and continue
to load up their credit cards and lines of credit, while committing few, or in
some cases, no resources to savings."
    In particular, 49% of Canadian families with one or more children under
the age of 18 reported that their debt had increased. Lines of credit and
credit cards account for the largest proportion of consumer debt, with 85% of
Canadians reporting that they have outstanding debt on a credit card. Some 21%
of Canadians who are in debt say that they are in over their heads and can no
longer manage their debt load.
    "We need to recognize that the financial conditions of Canadian
households have deteriorated," says Rock Lefebvre, Vice President, Research &
Standards of CGA-Canada. "The situation needs to be rectified not only to
establish financial security and well being for Canadians, but also to
maintain a healthy economic environment."
    Lefebvre adds that there is an opportunity for government and the
educational community to help Canadians improve their financial capability.
More needs to be done in educating the public on money management, spending,
shopping habits, warning signs of financial difficulties and obtaining and
using credit.
    Although CGA-Canada recognizes the importance of consumer spending for
business development and for economic growth, a balanced approach to spending,
saving and paying down debt is a more desirable option than trying to promote
consumer spending as a solution for the current economic downturn.
    To view a copy of the complete report, go to: 
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<a href="">sumption/Pages/ca_debt_download_2009.aspx</a>


    CGA is the fastest-growing accounting designation in Canada. The CGA
designation focuses on integrity, ethics and the highest education
requirements. CGAs provide strategic counsel, financial leadership and overall
direction to all sectors of the Canadian economy. There are 71,000 Certified
General Accountants and students in more than 80 countries around the world.
CGA-Canada has affiliates in every Canadian province and territory, in
Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Hong Kong as well as representation offices in
mainland China.
    CGA-Canada's research extends well beyond the subject of accounting and
it aims to protect the public interest, heighten public awareness, and serve
as a factual basis for influencing social and economic policy. Over the years,
CGA-Canada has looked at such topics as aging population, pensions, income
trusts, productivity and competitiveness, federal budgets and, most recently,
household indebtedness.

For further information:

For further information: Taylore Ashlie, Director, Communications,
CGA-Canada, Telephone: (604) 605-5055, Cellular: (604) 307-0212, Email:; Diana Sorace, Communications Advisor, CGA-Canada,
Telephone: (604) 694-6700, Email:,

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