Household debt continues to pile up: StatsCan

By James Langton | July 20, 2021 | Last updated on July 20, 2021
1 min read
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Canadian households continued to add hefty quantities of debt in May, led by mortgages, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

Total household borrowing rose by 0.8% for the second straight month to over $2.5 trillion, StatsCan reported. Mortgage debt and home equity lines of credit accounted for $1.98 trillion of that total.

In May, mortgage debt rose by $16.3 billion, leading the growth in overall household debt. Total mortgage debt was up 1.0% from the previous month, and 8.3% higher than in May 2020, StatsCan said.

“Over the first five months of 2021, households added $57.5 billion in mortgage debt, compared with $34.3 billion over the same period in 2020,” the national statistical agency reported.

At the same time, non-mortgage debt rose by 0.4% in May to $786.2 billion.

“Growth in credit card debt and other personal loans was the main driver,” StatsCan said. While credit card debt rose for the third month in a row, it was still down by 3.3% from the same month last year.

StatsCan also reported that private non-financial corporations have been racking up mortgage debt too. While they account for a relatively small share of overall mortgage debt, these liabilities have grown by 16.3% over the past year, representing $14.8 billion in new debt.

Total debt of private non-financial corporations grew by 0.5% in May to $2.84 trillion.

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.