Metro Vancouverites forced to cut back amid record high inflation
BURNABY, B.C. -- Canadians are being hit with yet another blow to their cost of living.
The country’s annual inflation rate is skyrocketing to its highest level in nearly 40 years.
The consumer price index rose 7.7 per cent in May compared to a year ago and that’s forcing some British Columbians to change their lifestyles.
Many people in Metro Vancouver were already struggling to make ends meet with prices soaring at pumps and at the grocery store.
Shoppers in Burnaby told CTV News that they’ve had to cut back.
“I’ve got two young kids and my wife, and we're barely able to make ends meet, put it that way. With the gas prices and then at the till, you know, I just I'm always amazed at how fast it's happening,” said Sean, a shopper heading into a local Safeway.
“We're actually all having to change the way we eat at home, which is unfortunate. What else can I say? It's just getting to the point where I'm making lifestyle changes based on how expensive things are at the grocery (store),” he added.
He’s not the only one having to make adjustments to the way he spends.
“There have been times when I've had to search as far as the next city, like neighbouring cities, just to find a good bargain,” said Hannah, another shopper.
The 7.7 per cent increase is the largest jump since January 1983 and is higher than what economists were expecting.
Among the factors driving up inflation are gasoline prices, which jumped 48 per cent compared with a year ago.
Energy costs rose nearly 35 per cent.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the federal and provincial governments to reduce taxes at the pumps.
“Canadians are struggling right now. And what's so unfortunate is that you have politicians that are making the tough times tougher. Because they're spending like crazy. They're racking up huge amounts of debt and raising taxes during the middle of soaring inflation and the pandemic,” said Franco Terrazzan of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Shelter costs climbed 7.4 per cent and food prices are up 9.7 per cent.
Edible fats and oils have gone way up in price by 30 per cent, fresh vegetables rose 10.3 per cent, fish climbed 11.7 per cent and meat jumped 9 per cent.
However, British Columbians aren’t seeing the biggest price hikes in Canada.
“The food inflation rate at retail is 8.6 per cent. In restaurants, it's 5.5 per cent which is one of the lowest in the country,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a food policy professor at Halifax's Dalhousie University.
“We've been talking about atmospheric rivers and droughts and the heat dome last year, but B.C. is actually doing okay, compared to other provinces,” said Charlebois.
He says now is the time to get creative with your leftovers and check your pantry before you shop to make your money go further and reduce food waste.