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Canadians Forecast a Long, Rocky Economic Road Ahead, according to Manulife Bank’s Debt survey

November 23, 2022


  • Most (87%) believe we will soon enter a recession or are already in one, and majority (56%) think it will last at least a year
  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) say they don't feel prepared financially for a recession
  • Almost all Canadians surveyed admit they are worried about interest rates (85%) and inflation (94%)

TORONTO - Over the past several months there has been increased discussion regarding the possibility of the Canadian economy entering a recession. In October 2022, Manulife Bank took the pulse of Canadians, as part of its bi-annual Debt Survey to find out how they are feeling about the state of the economy and if they are preparing to weather the storm. 

"As the economic landscape is looking rocky, a large majority of Canadians are getting worried and that's particularly telling when reviewing this season's Manulife Bank's Debt Survey results," said Lysa Fitzgerald, Vice President of Sales, Manulife Bank.

For the Canadians who think the economy is about to enter a recession or is already in one, we asked how they are or will be adjusting their finances in response to the recession and found that as many as twelve percent (12%) state they plan on doing nothing at all.

For those who are adjusting their finances to the new environment, here's the top five most popular responses:

  • Spending less on leisure or entertainment (53%)
  • Grocery shopping on a budget (52%)
  • Avoiding making large purchases or doing home renovations (49%)
  • Driving car less to save money on gas (38%)
  • Delaying or cancelling traveling plans (33%)

Only 8% of Canadians state they're adjusting their financial plan, and only 5% are adjusting their debt re-payment plan. According to Ms. Fitzgerald there are options that Canadians can take to help lessen their debt load.

"For those with debt, who might be experiencing increasingly higher interest rates, now may be the time to focus on consolidating debt to a lower interest secured line of credit like Manulife One and making repayments from lower interest savings accounts", adds Ms. Fitzgerald. "They will save more in interest on the lower debt than they would on their savings while potentially increasing their available credit should unforeseen expenses arise. It's always important to regularly take a detailed look at your personal financial plans, especially in this case, to adjust to difficult economic periods." 

About the Manulife Bank of Canada Debt Survey

Now in its twelfth year, the Manulife Bank of Canada poll surveyed 2,002 Canadians in all provinces between ages 20 and 69 with household income of more than $40,000. The survey was conducted online by Ipsos between October 7 and 12, 2022. National results were weighted by gender, age, region, and education. This survey has a credibility interval of +/- 2.5 per cent 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults between the ages of 20 and 69 been surveyed.

About Manulife Bank

Manulife Bank is one of Canada's original digital banks. Since our launch in 1993, we've been designing efficient, flexible products that fit seamlessly into our customers' lives to help make their decisions easier and lives better. Today, Manulife Bank has over $27 billion in assets and serves clients across Canada in all provinces and territories.

About Manulife One

Manulife One is an all-in-one mortgage, line of credit and bank account that helps you take control of your debt. With the flexibility to adjust on the go to meet your changing needs, it's no wonder it is known as Canada's most flexible mortgage. 

With Manulife One, you can:

  • Easily increase or decrease mortgage payments to meet your changing needs
  • Access your home equity when you need it, for whatever you need
  • Consolidate debt to reduce your interest costs and become debt-free sooner

To learn more visit


About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider, helping people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we provide financial advice and insurance, operating as Manulife across Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Through Manulife Investment Management, the global brand for our Global Wealth and Asset Management segment, we serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. At the end of 2021, we had more than 38,000 employees, over 119,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 33 million customers. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong. 

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Media Contact             

Odette Coleman