Woman Selling Soft Drinks At Farmers Market Stall
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A majority of Canadians have cut back discretionary spending and are taking a more conservative approach to debt as they navigate the uncertainty from the Covid-19 pandemic, finds a survey conducted for CIBC.

Canadians are prioritizing emergency funds, and those who don’t need to borrow money due to a loss of income are avoiding new debt.

More than one-fifth of Canadians (22%) said they’ve taken on more debt in the past 12 months. Interestingly, that total is lower than in December 2019 (28%).

However, more people are borrowing to cover day-to-day expenses (38%) and loss of income (28%), the survey found.

More than half of respondents (55%) said they need to get a better handle on their finances this year, and 63% said they’ve significantly cut their discretionary spending.

A report on Monday from RBC Economics found that consumer spending in June has nearly recovered to last year’s totals. Online spending was way up and consumers cautiously returned to re-opened retail outlets, massage therapists and golf clubs, according to the analysis of RBC card transactions.

Maru/Blue conducted the online survey of 1,517 Maru Voice Canada panellists on June 8 and June 9 for CIBC. Online surveys can’t be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population. This survey was weighted for a more accurate representation.