According to a recent study released by the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, Canadians are now the single-most personally in debt citizens of the western world. A grand total of 84% of us are in some form of credit card debt, 44% are paying off a car loan, and 40% have taken out a line of credit for something other than a house. 16% of all Canadians are paying off a student loan, which, considering the number of Canadians who hold university degrees or are in the process of doing so, probably represents upwards of 90% of the educated population.
In the international context, Canada’s overall consumer debt-to-asset ratio is the highest of any industrialized nation. At 10%, we rank significantly above even other famously profligate nations like Greece (7.6%) and the US of A (7.2%). Here’s a link to the full CGAAC report.
It’s important to understand that we are talking about personal debt here, and not government debt. Politically, Canada is not doing that bad in the debt-to-GDP balancing act. According to this CIA chart, we are currently on the 20th most in-debt country in the world, with our public debt only representing a measly 72% of our gross domestic product, outshining Germany (77%), France (79%), Italy (115%), and perennial G7 loser Japan (192%). Behind the UK (68%) and the US (52%), though.
Regardless, be we politician or citizen, the common bond that unites all Canadians is apparently gleeful spending beyond our means.