Majority of Canadians have less money to spend after paying for necessities

Spending power slows in February and March

  • After paying taxes and living costs, the average Canadian household had $11 less per month spending power in February 2012 vs February 2011, and $3 less in March 2012 vs March 2011
  • Spending power growth has remained negative for nine straight months
  • Regional break-out in March shows that residents of Atlantic provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia see an increase in spending power while residents in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba see a decline.

Mississauga, Ontario, April  30, 2012 -- Today Walmart Canada released the Walmart Canada Income Tracker for the month of February and March. The average Canadian household had $11 less per month in spending power in February 2012, compared to February, 2011, and $3 less per month in March 2012 (vs March 2011). Spending power has been negative for nine months straight, beginning in July of 2011.

The Walmart Canada Income Tracker compares average household income with the key financial obligations facing Canadian households each month, including taxes, shelter, transportation, cost of utilities, and food. Spending power is the money available after these obligations are met to save or to spend on discretionary items (e.g., toys, clothing, furniture) or experiences, (e.g., movies, sports events, restaurant meals).

In February, on average Canadian household income rose by 2.5 per cent. Household financial obligations which rose in February at a faster rate than income include transportation costs, which rose 6.9 per cent in the month compared to a year earlier, shelter costs (up 2.8 per cent), food (up 3.9 per cent), and medical (up 2.6 per cent).

In March, increases in wages (up 2.7 per cent) and a drop in the cost of utilities (down 1.8 per cent) helped offset higher costs for food (up 4 per cent) shelter (up 4 per cent) and transportation costs (up 6.9 per cent).

While March saw a decline in spending power on a national basis, the data shows significant regional differences in spending power. Atlantic provinces saw an increase in spending power of $57, Alberta of $59, Saskatchewan of $29and British Columbia of $48. Spending power decreases come in the two largest provinces— Quebec saw the largest decrease in spending power of $54 and Ontario of $17—as well as Manitoba, down $45.

The Walmart Canada Income Tracker reports monthly on Canadian household spending power.

About Walmart Canada

Walmart Canada operates a growing chain of 333 stores, employs over 85,000 Canadians and serves more than one million customers each day. The company is recognized by Waterstone Human Capital as having one of Canada’s top 10 corporate cultures. Since 1994, Walmart has raised and donated more than $150 million to Canadian charities and not-for-profit organizations. Additional information about Walmart Canada can be found by visiting


For more information please contact Susan Schutta, Walmart Canada, at 905-821-2111, x78012

The Walmart Income Tracker has been developed to track spending power of Canadian households using publicly available income, cost of living and consumer price index statistics compiled nationally by Statistics Canada on a monthly or quarterly basis.

The Walmart Income Tracker is developed by Fusion Retail Analytics and leverages Statistics Canada’s national income and expenditure accounts (released quarterly), personal expenditure on goods and services (released quarterly), labour income (released monthly), labour force estimates (released monthly) and the consumer price index (released monthly) as well as additional proprietary Fusion Retail Analytics data sources. The Walmart Spending Power Tracker is updated monthly and updated each quarter with the most recent Statistics Canada revisions.