Inflation spikes to 4.4 per cent in Canada, the highest it's been since 2003
Drivers didn't need to read a report to know gas prices have gone up recently. It's obvious at the pump.
"$129.99 to fill my truck from empty to full. It's expensive but what can you do," Katherine Hicks said.
According to new data released Wednesday from Statistics Canada, inflation jumped again in September. At 4.4 per cent compared to September 2020, it's the highest it's been since 2003 and, for the sixth month in a row, inflation is above the Bank of Canada's target of between one to three per cent.
"So it's possible that we see this higher inflation rates moving forward. It's also possible that central banks including the bank of Canada act by increasing interest rates in order to move inflation back in line," James McNeil, assistant professor of Economics at Dalhousie University.
Prices at the pump are a major cost driver. Compared to a year ago — gas prices are up 33 per cent.
"It's inevitable we're going to continue to see upward price pressure on everything else including food," said Dan McTeague, the President of Canadians for Affordable Energy.
Food prices are also up, especially meat and cooking oil.
"Prices have gone up significantly since January. That's the bad news. The second bad news is it's going to get worse," said Sylvain Charlebois, Director of Dalhousie Agri-Food Analytics Lab.
Charlebois expects the costs of labour, transportation and energy as well as the grain market to make food more expensive.
"And that's going to continue to mid winter of 2022 at the very least," Charlebois said.
On the energy front, Dan McTeague believes a lack of global supply isn't the only problem. He also blames policy.
"We have policies that are zero-focused, or laser-focused, that you can somehow wish away fossil fuels, natural gas, oil and the like and yet the world economy is not ready for that yet," McTeague said.
Karen Theriault with Feed Nova Scotia said the organization is seeing at least 40,000 Nova Scotians access support through food banks, in addition to 6,000 families who rely on deliveries. Theriault said that's consistent with what Feed Nova Scotia saw last year. What's unclear is what will happen when CERB benefits end later this week.
"The number of people going to food banks for support is just one piece of the story. The number of people that are food insecure in Nova Scotia is the highest rate out of any province across the country," Theriault said.
Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, said inflation rates are affecting everyone including workers, whose wages haven't increased a whole lot because of inflation over the past few years.
"Many workers will be expecting to see wage increases greater than the rate of inflation when they get into bargaining," Cavanagh said.
"If they're going to make real gains those gains have to be more than inflation," he said.