A new survey from The Salvation Army finds that as the country heads into the holiday season, a growing number of Canadians are increasingly pessimistic about the future of their finances and their ability to provide for basic needs such as food and housing.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, economic instability and the rising cost of living, one third (33 percent) of respondents said they were pessimistic about the future of their personal finances, an increase of 10 percentage points from a similar study in 2021. One quarter (25 percent) said they were extremely concerned about having enough income to cover their basic needs.

Alarmingly, more than half of Canadians polled (52 percent) said they had faced food security challenges in the past year, a trend that corresponds with what The Salvation Army’s staff have been seeing at food banks and shelters across the country.

Among those who accessed a food bank in the past year, 59 percent were first time users.

“We’re seeing more and more families asking for our assistance for the first time,” said Lt-Colonel John Murray, territorial secretary for communications. “With the threat of a recession, we anticipate this number will continue to grow. Now more than ever before, we are here for people who need us.”

“We’re seeing more and more families asking for our assistance for the first time.”

“Looking to the future, 47 percent of respondents said they expect to face challenges with food security, 10 percent expect challenges to housing security and 33 percent said they expect challenges due to limited financial resources.”

“The results of this survey confirm what we’ve been seeing for the past 12 months,” said Lt-Colonel Murray. “The number of Canadians facing significant hardship is growing, and those impacted are no longer the most vulnerable in society—they could be a friend, neighbour or family member. We ask that as Canadians go about their holiday spending this year, that they please consider setting some money aside for a charitable cause, like The Salvation Army.”

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