Consumer credit usage in Canada during the coronavirus pandemic

Ho A. T. Y., Morin L., Paarsch H. J., Huynh K. P.

Canadian Journal of Economics, vol.55, no.S1, pp.88-114, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 55 Issue: S1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/caje.12544
  • Journal Name: Canadian Journal of Economics
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, ABI/INFORM, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, CAB Abstracts, EconLit, Geobase, Public Affairs Index, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.88-114
  • TED University Affiliated: No


© 2022 Canadian Economics Association.The recent COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies worldwide. Using detailed, monthly data from a major consumer credit reporting agency in Canada, we have examined individuals’ use of credit cards and home-equity lines of credit (HELOCs). We found a dramatic leftward shift in the distribution of credit card and HELOC outstanding balances, providing evidence for a widespread reduction in credit usage. Our findings suggest that, during the COVID-19 recession, Canadian consumers were able to meet their financial needs without increasing their debt burdens. These results complement other findings concerning a decline in consumer spending and the results of government assistance programs, and imply that the economic consequences of this pandemic are very different from those in other recessions.