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High Cost of Living in Canada Top of Mind Before Election

It’ll come as no surprise that high cost of living is getting many Canadians down. With a federal election coming up, the cost of living is at the forefront of most people’s minds.

In fact, the cost of living was the single most concerning thing affect Canadians right now, according to a poll by the CBC. 32% of Canadians said that the cost of living was the most pressing issue for them in the upcoming election.

Other issues that are worrying Canadians are climate change at 19% of those surveyed, and health of themselves or their family members at 10%. The fact that those extremely important issues are so far behind the cost of living goes to show just how bad it really feels for many people.

These feelings are despite the good news about job creation and wage increases. So are we all just spending beyond our means, trapping ourselves in a circle of debt of our own making?

No, it’s not that. Or it’s not just that. While Canadians are some of the most indebted people in the world, a large majority of that debt is because of mortgages – and with high housing prices, it’s no surprise that we have so many mortgages.

The rate of debt accumulation actually slowed down in the previous quarter, suggesting that people are finally getting a hold on their spending and learning to budget within their means. At least, it looks like the start of increased financial awareness.

So what’s causing so many Canadians to feel so poorly about their own finances? It’s likely that the majority of Canadians just don’t see the benefit of an increased GDP, and while unemployment is low, either the pay or hours aren’t very good.

The median individual income in Canada is just $27,000. The median means that just as many people earn less than that as more. Depending on where you live, this could be a livable wage, but in Toronto or Vancouver, it might not be.

With so many Canadians concentrated into the GTA and GVA, and to a lesser extent the Greater Montreal Area, that median income that seems fine for smaller areas doesn’t reflect the reality for many living in those areas.

In Toronto, you already need a household income of $100,000 to afford the average condo (valued at roughly $500,000), which is 42% higher than the median household income, and 270% higher than the median individual income. While there are certainly high-paying jobs in the downtown core, there are many more residents than those top-level jobs.

Are you one of the 32% of Canadians that have the high cost of living as a top priority for this upcoming election? At least you know that you’re not alone.


Chris Chris 07/11/2019
Canadian personal finance buff and all-around writing enthusiast, Chris loves breaking down complicated money ideas to show that they're really not so complex. 
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