Living Expenses in Quebec: Telecoms Indispensable to 50% of Households

The grocery basket, the expense believed most likely to increase in the upcoming year. 

QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 21, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - A recent survey commissioned by Universitas reveals that, aside from their essential living expenses (groceries, healthcare, rent, etc.), telecom services are prioritized by nearly half the households in Quebec. More specifically, 68% said they would not be willing to cut back on their Internet bill, 45% on their cable bill, and 43% on their cell phone bill. This reality was particularly noticeable when it came to respondents aged 18-34 years, of whom 52% see their mobile phone as indispensable. The survey carried out by CROP firm used a sample of 1,000 respondents and raised a number of interesting facts about family budgets in Quebec. The importance of telecom expenses was followed by those for vacation trips, deemed indispensable by 30% of those surveyed. Moreover, despite these times of economic austerity, nearly a quarter of the respondents prioritized their savings in the RRSP (23%) and the TFSA (21%), outranking restaurant outings at 20%. Finally, to a lesser extent, 11% of households do not plan to reduce their investment in their registered education savings plan (RESP).

As for expenses that raise concerns, the market basket came out on top, with 52% of respondents fearing that their grocery bill is likely to increase by an average $139 in the upcoming year. Healthcare expenses came in second place (36%), trailed by education costs (33%) for all school levels. Childcare rates were also identified as an expense on the rise by a number of respondents, believing their bill will increase by $290 next year.

Impact of Changes to Child and Family Benefits on Household Budgeting

When asked about the recent government changes to child and family benefits (revised childcare rates, end of Canada Child Tax Credit, introduction of the enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit) over two-thirds of respondents (61%) said these measures will not affect their savings strategy. Furthermore, nearly half the respondents (43%) used their enhanced UCCB – $60 monthly increase per child – on education-related expenses, specifically on back-to-school costs, while 27% chose to use this sum to pay off debts, and 12% invested in a registered education savings plan (RESP).

"We are very pleased that a fair number of Quebecers don't plan to cut back on their savings despite our current economy," says Sonia Dupèré, Associate Vice-President of Customer Service and Sales Administration at Universitas. "The survey results reveal that families are concerned with the increasing cost of education. Considering an RESP investment could be in the best interest of many families. This is a low-risk and profitable savings strategy, as RESPs are also eligible for government grants ranging from 30% to 60% of the capital invested," adds Dupèré.

The survey also revealed the estimated monthly expenses of Quebec households. It doesn't come as a surprise that rent/mortgage payments ($775), groceries ($496) and car-related expenses ($412) are at the top of the list. Childcare costs (daycare centres, subsidized/private establishments, home daycare, etc.) arrive just after with an estimated $221 per month.

Other survey highlights include:

  • Quebec families estimate their annual education expenses (elementary to University) total $2,569, twice as much as the average RESP investment ($1,270);
  • Three out of five households with children are moderately or very concerned about the cost of their children's post-secondary education;
  • Quebec investors continue to opt for more traditional savings vehicles, with average annual investments of $3,122 in the RRSP and $2,463 in the TFSA. 

The survey was conducted online from August 12 to 17, 2015 by CROP firm, using a Web panel and a sample of 1,000 Quebecer. Results were weighted to reflect the distribution of Quebec's adult population based on gender, age, region, language, education level, and the socio-cultural values of the respondents. As this is a non-probably survey, the margin of sampling error does not apply.

About Universitas  
Created in 1964, Universitas offers over 50 years of RESP expertise to families across Quebec and New Brunswick. With the mission to promote post-secondary education through savings and educational assistance payments (EAPs), Universitas has paid out more than $550 million in EAPs and in returned savings, currently has over 210,000 beneficiaries and manages assets exceeding $1 billion. For more information, visit


SOURCE Gestion Universitas inc.

For further information: Lydia Juliano | Julie Deschambault, Matom Communication, |, 514 949-1446 | 514 891-8645; Valérie Beaulieu, Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Relations, Universitas Management Inc.,, 418 651-8977, ext. 2314


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