Canadians are beginning to feel the pressure from price hikes in food and energy, as the country’s inflation rate in May hit 7.7 percent, close to a four decade high.
According to a survey by charity organization Food Banks Canada, food prices surged over 10 percent in the past year, forcing nearly a quarter of Canadians to eat less. Around half of Canadians with an annual income of less than 50,000 Canadian dollars, are struggling to afford enough food, the charity said.
“The prices of these kinds of rice have all surged. Rice produced in the U.S. saw a price hike of around 40 percent. Before we spent less than 10,000 Canadian dollars on each container for shipment, but now it is more than 10,000,” said Weng, a manager of Huatai Supermarket in Toronto.
Toronto’s Food Bank donated food to about 60,000 people each day before the pandemic but last month that number rose to over 170,000.
Economists warn that low income workers and pensioners are likely to be the worst hit by spiralling inflation.
“The working poor, the people who live on fixed income, the people who are really pensioners, and whose income are not likely to be adjusted for inflation, these are the people who bear the brunt of inflation,” said Atif Kubursi, a Canadian economist.
The Canadian government has said the Russia-Ukraine crisis is largely to blame for such high inflation but economists say other factors were also at play including the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruption and the long-term effects of extra cash pumped into the economy by central banks as part of the “quantitive easing” policy that was introduced after the global financial crisis a decade and a half ago.
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