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Posthaste: Back-to-school season could see Canadian parents, students taking on debt

·5 min read
Western Canada High School
Western Canada High School

Good morning!

A new study by credit and debt counselling agency Bromwich & Smith Inc. found that many Canadian parents and students may take on debt to cover this year’s back-to-school expenses.

The Stressed by the Bell survey interviewed 1,508 Canadians and found that 30 per cent of parents and 38 per cent of post-secondary students are afraid they will have to incur debt to pay for the upcoming school year.

“Back-to-school is always a financially and emotionally draining time for parents and students,” Laurie Campbell, director of client financial wellness at Bromwich & Smith, said in a press release. “With classrooms at their highest capacity since 2019 and inflation the biggest back-to-school story, our survey shows parents and students alike are overburdened with all things financial.”

According to the study, the bulk of parents and students are worried about the impact of inflation and supply chain issues on school-related costs. Sixty-five per cent are stressed about the effect of inflation and almost three-quarters (74 per cent) are expecting prices for school supplies and books to be even higher because of supply chain issues.

They are also having to set aside more money for extracurricular activities as pandemic restrictions are lifted. Over half (53 per cent) of parents and students will have to budget more for school-related activities (sports, field trips, rent, study abroad, etc.) this year in comparison to last year.

“It’s important to know your upfront costs and finances, set a budget, shop around and create a school spending fund,” said Campbell.

Many Canadians are using this time to learn how to manage their personal finances. The study found that more than half (56 per cent) of parents and students are teaching themselves or their children about money and budgeting. A further two-thirds (66 per cent) are planning to set clear boundaries before shopping for themselves or their children.

Some parents and students are even feeling positive about their finances: 63 per cent feel that they have become efficient, money-saving shoppers and more than half (55 per cent) are confident they would be prepared for an unexpected financial emergency.

A separate study by President’s Choice Financial found that families are starting to talk to their children about finances much earlier than before. The survey interviewed 1,025 Canadians and found that 89 per cent of parents began discussing money management with their children before they turned 16.

“Canadian families are telling us they are open to having the ‘financial talk’ with their children at a much younger age than previous generations, to help them plan smarter for a better future,” Carola Corti, senior vice-president and general manager of payments at PC Financial, said in a press release.

According to the survey, 60 per cent of youth (aged 18-24) first learned about basic finances before the age of 16 in comparison to less than half (48 per cent) of their parents’ generation (aged 40+).

“Talking about finances is getting easier because youth are embracing the many tools and tips available at their fingertips. Kids have access to more information than any previous generation,” Jackie Porter, certified financial adviser, said in the press release.

She added that now is the best time for families to talk to their children about finances. “Back-to-school season is the perfect time of year for parents to check-in with their kids to help them to gain a better understanding of money as they embark on their new journey,” said Porter. 


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CANADA EYES MICROCHIPS As Canada’s electric vehicle battery eco-system takes shape, Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne is eyeing microchips. Champagne believes Canada can become a manufacturer of the specialized processors, a necessary component for all new cars. But, some analysts believe the country has a lot of catching up to do. Read on for more details by the Financial Post’s Naimul Karim. Photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg files


  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes an infrastructure announcement and holds a media availability (11:15 a.m.), visits a microbrewery (1:30 p.m.) and visits a bakery (2:20 p.m.). National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier will also be in attendance.

  • Omar Alghabra, minister of transport, appears before the standing committee on transport, infrastructure and communities about airport delays and cancellations.

  • JP Hornick, OPSEU president, and Laurie Nancekivell, OPSEU vice-president, will join striking safety inspectors from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority at the CNE on the opening day of the fair.

  • Arnold Breitkreutz, 74, to be sentenced for multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme dating to 2014 and 2015.

  • Today’s data: Canadian retail sales, new housing price index, monthly credit aggregates; U.S. quarterly services survey

  • Earnings: North Bud Farms Inc., Halmont Properties Corp., Sproutly Canada Inc. and Deere and Co.





A new survey by consultant PwC suggests that layoffs are being planned at more than half of U.S. companies. Yet, firms are also boosting pay, expanding mental health benefits and making remote work permanent. The findings illustrate the contradictory nature of today’s labour market, where skilled workers can still largely name their terms amid talent shortages even as companies look to let people go elsewhere, particularly in hard-hit industries like technology and real estate. Read on for more details by Bloomberg.


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Today’s Posthaste was written by Noella Ovid, with additional reporting from The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.

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