Canadian wallets have been hit hard this year, as the country’s inflation rate rose to a 30-year high of 6.8 per cent in April.
Gasoline, food, and housing costs are skyrocketing, which has caused an affordability crisis in Canada. Kenora MP, Eric Melillo is encouraging the federal government to find solutions such as cutting the GST, a Carbon Tax pause, and limiting public spending, to allow relief for Canadians.
“It’s impacting us in the north greatly with everything from gas to groceries skyrocketing,” says Melillo. “Also, items like housing, which isn’t even included in the calculation of inflation, prices have doubled in the last few years.”
In April the Canadian Real Estate Association said a March report showed the average price of a home in Ontario was $1,034,820, a sizable gain of 19.7% from the first four months of 2021.
The national average price, by comparison, was up by 7.4% on a year-over-year basis to $746,146 in April 2022.
On May 18, 2022, gas in Kenora reached record highs, as it rose to 202.9 cents per litre, which is the highest price seen, dating back to 2008.
Canada’s April Consumer Price Index showed that the price of gas rose 5.8 per cent year-over-year, after a 5.5 per cent gain in March. This was the fastest pace since introducing the all-items excluding gasoline special aggregate in 1999.
Melillo had previously supported a motion that called on the federal government to reduce gas prices by 5 percent, the same amount the federal government collects through taxation on fuel, which was shot down earlier this month. It would have reduced prices by about eight cents per litre on average.
Groceries cost 9.7 per cent for Canadians in April, compared to this time last year. This increase, which exceeded 5 per cent for the fifth month in a row, was the largest increase since September 1981. For comparison, from 2010 to 2020, there were five months when prices for food purchased from stores increased at a rate of 5 per cent or higher.
The continuous rise in food costs has forced more and more people to use food banks in Canada, Melillo notes.
“The demand for food banks is actually on the rise, and I think that’s a concerning indication of how difficult things are getting for Canadians.”
According to Statistics Canada, 1 in 8 Canadians is food insecure. There were a total of 1,303,997 visits to food banks across Canada in 2021, with 33.3 per cent of users being children.