April 26, 1999
Canadians healthier but more financially vulnerable -
Many families using credit cards to make ends meet
OTTAWA – Canadians are living longer, healthier lives but they are feeling more financially insecure than ever, says a new report by the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD).
The Personal Security Index 1999 is a new measure created by the CCSD. It combines hard data about Canadians' economic and physical well-being along with custom polling data on Canadians' perceptions about such things as their job security, access to health care and exposure to crime. It is the first time these data have been amalgamated into one measure. This 1999 edition provides the baseline by which changes in future years will be measured.
The Index reveals that good news about the Canadian economy has not reduced Canadians' fears about losing their jobs, nor has it improved their ability to survive on their savings or on Employment Insurance while they look for new work. Since 1980, the Index shows, the average Canadian savings rate has dropped to nearly zero, while household debt has skyrocketed to more than 100 per cent of disposable income. Although there was a slight increase in Canadians' per capita disposable income in 1998, it was the first such rise in a decade.
"Governments' fights against inflation and deficits over the last 10 years have severely hampered Canadians' economic security. Our polling results also show that 60 per cent of Canadians have no confidence in the ability of government support programs such as EI to sustain them should they become unemployed," observed report author Pierre Laliberté.
Meanwhile, Canadians' health and safety have been improving over the last two decades. The rate of premature death for adults is declining, as are the numbers of traffic-related and workplace injuries, and 78 per cent of Canadians report being in very good or excellent health.
"The gains we have made in physical well-being show that governments need to focus on the fundamentals in order to create a healthy, productive society," said Dr. Laliberté. "Past investments in public health care, and in legislation and public education about health and safety have paid off."
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Personal Security Index 1999 - Related Material
Canadian Council on Social Development,
309 Cooper Street, 5th Floor,
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 0G5
Tel: (613) 236-8977, Fax: (613) 236-2750, Web: www.ccsd.ca, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org