Rising Inflation Rate Affects Toronto-Area Moms

For a Markham, Ont. mother of one, Canada’s rate of inflation means having to make sacrifices.

Prudence Nkwamen, who works from home in a high-rise condominium, says she’s being careful with her money to make sure her 15-month-old daughter, Serena Dior, has everything she needs.

That means eating less restaurant food, spending less on your own personal needs, and buying fewer big-ticket items at the grocery store. Nkwamen says higher prices at the pump mean she’s less inclined to use a car and is opting for cheaper ways to get around.

“This is a drastic concern for me right now,” Nkwamen told the CBC News Network on Wednesday. “We have to prioritize the baby’s needs and make sure she’s ready.”

Canada’s inflation rate rose 6.7 percent in March year over year, Statistics Canada reported. March’s rise in the consumer price index was the highest since January 1991, when inflation rose 6.9 percent and GST was introduced.

Statistics Canada said prices increased in all eight major components: food; shelter; domestic operations, furniture and equipment; Clothes and shoes; transport; health and personal care; recreation, education and reading; and alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.

The federal agency said the increase comes as the housing market remains active, supply chain problems persist and Russia continues its war in Ukraine, a conflict that has affected energy, commodity and agriculture markets.

Kevin Page, president and CEO of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa, said he thinks inflation has become a real concern.

The former parliamentary budget officer said he thinks people are sitting around the kitchen table asking each other questions.

“‘How are we going to deal with these higher food prices? How are we going to deal with higher gas prices?’ You can’t avoid them,” she told the CBC News Network on Wednesday.

“People are trying to adjust their budgets for these things.”

Page said the increase is historic and the numbers are likely to go up before they go down. She said consumers should expect to deal with high prices for the next year or year and a half.

“As consumers dealing with shrinking disposable incomes, they’re going to have to find ways to take little shortcuts, adjust their budgets for food, travel in different ways, use public transportation, bike more. We’re all going to have to adjust over the next anus”.

Transportation costs drive up the price of groceries

Statistics Canada said gasoline prices rose 11.8 percent month-on-month in March. The rise came after a 6.9 percent rise in February. Year over year, people paid 39.8 percent more for gasoline in March, the federal agency said.

Grocery store prices rose 8.7 percent year over year, the fastest annual rate since March 2009.

“Increases in input prices and transportation costs continued to put upward pressure on grocery prices,” Statistics Canada said.

As for Nkwamen, all this inflation is making it hard to save.

“It’s a challenge right now. And there are other expenses, even before we consider my baby’s needs,” she said.

“I can’t minimize costs. I’m making those sacrifices to meet the daily care of my home.”

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