Canadian Consumer Debt Rose 7.3% In Third Quarter

The consumer debt held by Canadians increased 7.3% in this year’s third quarter to $2.36 trillion, according to credit bureau Equifax Canada.

Equifax said that the average non-mortgage debt in Canada rose to $21,183, the highest level since the second quarter of 2020, with strains starting to show in car loans and credit card payments.

Overall non-mortgage debt across Canada rose 5.3% in Q3 to $599.9 billion as the number of borrowers rose by 3.1% in the July through September period.

Equifax Canada said that non-mortgage debt was 1.9% higher than the third quarter of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rise in consumer debt was attributed to growing immigration levels and increased borrowing as consumers struggle to manage higher living costs due to inflation that is at a 30-year high in Canada.

Credit card spending in the quarter rose 17.3% to reach an all-time high. Average spending on credit cards was almost $2,447 in Q3, up 21.8% from the third quarter of 2019.

At the same time, the number of missed payments, or delinquencies, on auto loans has started to trend upwards, said Equifax.