Inflation | Canadians fight

With prices steadily rising, most Canadians are struggling to cover their daily expenses, the latest Statistics Canada survey shows. In April, the increase reached 6.8%.

Posted at 6:00 am

Isabelle Dube

Isabelle Dube
The press

Three out of four Canadians

Nearly three in four Canadians say it is difficult to afford everyday expenses like transportation, housing, food and clothing. The rise in prices increases households’ financial worries and undoubtedly influences their decisions according to this new reality.

Many Canadians have changed their behavior by adjusting their spending habits, postponing home buying, or postponing moving into a new apartment.

While there is little variation from one province to another, those on lower incomes are more concerned and affected by rising prices.

Food prices fuel stress

Rising food prices regularly make the headlines and fuel many households financially. More than two in five Canadians say this surge is affecting them the most. From April 2021 to April 2022, food prices increased by 9.7%. Households had to pay much more for basic groceries.

In the next six months, one in five Canadians expects to receive food or meals from a community organization.

With food prices not the only thing rising, Canadians are struggling to budget for groceries, according to the survey.

Transport costs are more of a problem for residents of rural areas. However, 94% of Canadians who buy gas are very (67%) or somewhat (27%) concerned about rising gas prices.

Housing: the strongest increase since 1983

About 56% of Canadians are very or somewhat concerned about their ability to afford housing or rent. In April 2022, home rental and home prices rose 7.4% year-on-year, the largest increase since 1983, Statistics Canada said in its report.

Canadians aged 15 to 39 are more concerned about these increases than those over 40 who have already bought and even paid for their homes.

These concerns have led to changes in behavior. In the past six months, 39% of 15-29 year olds and 38% of 30-39 year olds said they had put off plans to move or buy a home.

behavior changes

To deal with inflation, half of those surveyed have looked to sell in the last six months. At the same time, 47% bought substitutes, branded items or cheaper items, and 45% postponed their purchase due to rising prices, the survey found.

Almost a third of Canadians have also borrowed money from friends or family, taken on more debt, or used credit to meet day-to-day expenses.

Rising prices are also affecting Canadians’ ability to save. About 24% of Canadians said they had to use their savings to pay for their expenses. Additionally, 29% said they were saving less and 19% said they were no longer able to do so every month.

Two main causes

The price increase is mainly caused by increased consumer demand and supply chain challenges. Last March, Statistics Canada revealed that companies expected supply chain problems to persist and in some cases worsen in the short term, particularly in relation to sourcing products or shipping domestically and internationally and maintaining inventory levels.

Methods: Data are from the third survey in the Portrait of Canadian Society series, a brand new project of short online surveys of the same respondents over a one year period. This was from April 19 to April 1ah May 2022. These surveys use a probabilistic panel representative of Canada’s population ages 15 and older.

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