Repaying debt is a common financial goal for Canadians heading into 2023, a new survey has found, as inflation, high interest rates and fears of a potential recession stay top of mind.

Eighteen per cent of people surveyed in an annual CIBC poll on financial priorities said repaying debt was their number one goal for the new year, while 17 per cent said keeping up with bills was their top priority.

Another 14 per cent pointed to growing investments as their main goal for the year. Secondary goals included saving money, avoiding taking on more debt and reducing discretionary spending.

At 65 per cent, more than half of respondents said inflation was their top financial concern, followed by rising interest rates at 30 per cent and fear of a recession at 24 per cent.

Carissa Lucreziano, vice-president of CIBC Financial and Investment Advice, said people are focused on “what is in their sphere of control” in uncertain economic times.

"The current economic environment has, understandably, prompted Canadians to re-assess their financial priorities for 2023," she said in a written statement.

Just over half of the poll respondents said they need to get a better handle on their financial situation in the next year. One in four people said they have taken on more debt in the last 12 months, due largely to higher cost of living and expenses that stretch beyond monthly income.

Forty per cent of people said they are concerned about job security in the current uncertain economic environment, and 68 per cent said that uncertainty makes it difficult to plan ahead.

But despite concerns about personal finances and the rocky economic situation, 62 per cent of people said they feel financially prepared for the unexpected and 59 per cent said they believe their financial situation can withstand a recession – a possibility that a significant majority of respondents said they are worried about, at 74 per cent.


This Maru Public Opinion survey was undertaken between December 12 and December 19, 2022 by the sample and data experts at Maru/Blue and involved 1,523 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.