Canadians slightly less confident in finances heading into 2016

Alberta, hard hit by trouble in the oilpatch, is now the least positive region in the country.

TORONTO — A majority of Canadians remain confident about their finances heading into 2016, but the percentage holding a positive view is down from a year ago, according to a new poll from one of the country’s big banks.

The CIBC poll found that more than two thirds of Canadians, or 69%, felt positive about their finances going into the new year. Still, that was down 5% from a year ago, with the drop centred mainly in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

In fact, the survey found that Alberta, hard hit by trouble in the oilpatch, now is the least positive region in the country. Just 62% of Albertans surveyed felt confident about their finances, down 21 percentage points from a year ago.

Sentiment was also lower in Ontario at 68%, down from 73% going into 2015, and in Quebec at 71%, down from 78%. Sentiment in BC declined marginally to 71% from 72%.

Confidence improved sharply in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, up seven percentage points at 78%, while those surveyed in Atlantic Canada were slightly more positive, up two percentage points at 67%.

The poll was conducted Dec. 7-8 among 1,508 Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they so not randomly sample the population.

While Canadians 55 and older remain the most positive about their finances, they also saw the biggest decline in this year’s survey, falling from 82% a year ago to 74% this year.

That compared with confidence levels of 69% (down from 70%) for those in the 18-to-34 age group; and 65%, down from 70%, for those between 35 and 54.

“While many Canadians remain positive about their financial situation, some are feeling less optimistic than they were at this time last year,” CIBC executive vice-president Christina Kramer said of the survey results.

“Whether you feel positive or have concerns about your finances, the new year is an ideal time to make changes so you feel prepared for the year ahead,” she said.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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