• By: OLM Staff

Weathering the Storm: The Financial Chill Canadians Can Face Amid Winters’ Bite

As the winter season settles in, a new survey from Capital One Canada reveals a chilly reality for Canadians. The survey indicates that 68% of Canadians without an emergency fund would feel anxious if hit with an expense of $500. The findings underscore a need for extra preparedness during this time, particularly knowing that the winter season can bring surprise bills.

Financial anxiety is set to intensify as winter brings its own challenges, adding to the burden Canadians already carry due to rising living costs and economic uncertainties. However, Capital One Canada wants Canadians to know it’s never too late to start preparing and getting their finances winter-ready.

“Dealing with unexpected winter expenses can undoubtedly lead to financial anxiety,” says Patrick Ens, President of Capital One Canada. “These survey results point to the benefits of developing a healthy money mindset and positive, long-term financial habits, which are critical to the financial and personal well-being of Canadians.”

A Snapshot of Financial Stress: Survey Highlights

Cold Weather Expenses: Over the past five years, just over half (54%) of Canadians surveyed have faced unexpected cold weather expenses. This includes 46 per cent dealing with home-related expenses, such as higher electricity and gas bills, or heater/furnace problems, and 20 per cent grappling with car-related costs. These numbers foreshadow the challenges many Canadians will encounter.

Emergency Fund Gap: The survey points to a gap in financial preparedness, with just over half (55%) having a safety net for unexpected expenses. Unsurprisingly, the survey indicates that 35 per cent of those without an emergency fund would feel very anxious if confronted with a $500 expense.

Credit Card Reliance: 30 per cent of Canadians wouldn’t be able to cover a surprise charge of $500 without resorting to credit cards. Without a plan, this reliance on credit introduces financial strain, especially when compounded by high interest rates and potential debt accumulation. The good news is there are many ways to alleviate the stress that can come with credit. Capital One Canada has a variety of tools and resources that can help with building credit, and maintaining healthy financial habits, like their QuickCheck tool, where you can see which Capital One credit card you’ll be approved for even before you apply; or Credit Keeper by Capital One, which allows you to check your credit score online for free, even if you don’t have a Capital One credit card.

Navigating the Winter Financial Landscape

Considering these findings, it is crucial for Canadians to explore avenues to fortify their financial well-being. Capital One Canada’s Life and Credit blog offers valuable insights on how individuals can reduce financial anxiety and enhance their overall financial preparedness. Practical tips, budgeting strategies, and advice on building an emergency fund are resources that can empower Canadians to navigate the winter months with greater confidence.

“With some advanced planning and the right tools, tackling these expenses can become a little less daunting and help shift focus back to being with loved ones,” Ens says.

As Canadians collectively strive towards greater financial resilience, bracing for unexpected expenses can temper the financial storm that winter can bring.

For more information and resources, visit Capital One Canada’s Life and Credit blog.


Survey Disclaimer: Capital One Canada commissioned an online omnibus survey through Leger. Leger fielded an online survey of 1,502 adults across Canada in September 2023.

Photo: iStock