Made-in-Canada food inflation
The headlines on inflation this week were; “inflation rate drops to 5.2% in February”.
However, a closer inspection reveals that; “Prices for food purchased from stores in February were up 10.6 percent compared with a year ago, the seventh consecutive month of double-digit increases.”
Anyone buying groceries will know that food prices continue to increase.
This can be even more significant for those who live in rural communities where there may be less local grocery store competition.
Recently a local business owner, who manufactures food products found in many local grocery stores, brought to my attention one of the reasons why this occurs.
As we all know, trucking of goods is significant in our grocery store food chain.
The business owner I met mentioned shipping charges have increased dramatically due to the rising fuel cost. Now, the shipping company adds a surcharge solely for the carbon tax.
Given that the carbon tax in BC is set to increase on April 1st to $65/tonne, this small business owner is very concerned that his company will again have to raise prices, as these costs must be passed along.
Unfortunately, this is all part of made-in-Canada food inflation and does not end there.
Also occurring on April 1st, the Trudeau Liberal Government is set to raise the excise tax on wine, beer and spirits by over 6%.
Remember that increased trucking costs apply to these industries as well.
For Canadian consumers, you will be asked to pay more when many can no longer afford to pay all their bills at the end of the month.
There is also the compounding effect.
For the business owner I mentioned, who is facing higher costs due to the carbon tax surcharge for the raw goods that his company receives; resulting in higher prices, those finished goods are shipped again to local grocery stores.
These carbon tax surcharges must be passed to consumers at local grocery stores, particularly those in rural areas with higher shipping costs.
For more wealthy citizens, higher grocery prices are not a problem.
However, this is a massive financial burden for many families with variable rate mortgages who may now pay $1000 more monthly just in added interest charges.
Likewise, higher grocery prices have created significant additional hardship for those on a fixed income.
In every region of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, I have spoken with staff or volunteers at local food banks who have told me the uptick of demand, coupled with record-high inflation, is incredibly challenging for their operations.
While most of those now receiving support at food banks are seniors, many are also families where, despite the parents working one or more jobs, higher housing and rising grocery bills are forcing these families to rely on food banks to supplement their budgets.
My question this week:
How does food inflation personally impact you or your family?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola