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Household Finances One-third of Canadians can’t pay monthly bills as interest rates set to rise, survey suggests

Canadian $100 bills are counted in Toronto, on Feb. 2, 2016. A new survey suggests a third of Canadians can't pay their monthly bills, including debt repayments, against a backdrop of rising interest rates.

Graeme Roy/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A new survey suggests a third of Canadians can't pay their monthly bills, including debt repayments, against a backdrop of rising interest rates.

The quarterly MNP consumer debt index survey finds the number of Canadians who can't cover their fixed monthly expenses is up eight points since September.

It also finds Canadians who are making ends meet have less disposable income, with an average $631 left after paying bills and contributing to debt repayment. That's 15 per cent less money left over than in the previous quarter.

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The survey says Canadians worried more about their debt as the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate twice last year and is expected to continue the momentum in 2018.

Four-in-10 respondents say they fear financial trouble if interest rates rise much further and one-in-three agree they're concerned rising rates could move them toward bankruptcy.

More than 70 per cent of respondents say they'll be more careful with how they spend money as rates move up, and nearly half say they believe they'll have to take on more debt over the next year to cover expenses.

Ipsos, which conducts the quarterly survey, interviewed 2,001 Canadians online between Dec. 8 and 13, 2017.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

The survey is conducted on behalf of MNP Ltd., a division of MNP LLP., a personal insolvency practice.

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