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Soaring gas and rental costs lead B.C. inflation figures in April

The cost of food is also hammering consumers.
British Columbians are feeling the pinch, at the grocery store and gas station.

Canada’s rate of inflation in April was 6.8 %, according to Statistics Canada, with food, gas and shelter costs driving the consumer price index (CPI) up.

In B.C., rent costs rose 6.4% compared to April 2021, which is higher than the country-wide increase of 4.5%.

The main contributors to inflation are gasoline (36.3%), accommodation expenses, such as real estate costs (17.2%) and homeowners’ replacement costs, such as construction costs to build a new home (13%).

Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 5.8% year over year in April, after a 5.5% gain in March.

The cost of food is also hammering consumers.

Canadians paid 9.7% more in April for food purchased from stores compared with April 2021, according to Statistics Canada.

“This increase, which exceeded 5% for the fifth month in a row, was the largest increase since September 1981. For comparison, from 2010 to 2020, there were five months when prices for food purchased from stores increased at a rate of 5% or higher,” noted the agency.

“Basics, such as fresh fruit (+10.0%), fresh vegetables (+8.2%) and meat (+10.1%), were all more expensive in April compared with a year earlier. Prices for starchy foods such as bread (+12.2%), pasta (+19.6%), rice (+7.4%) and cereal products (+13.9%) also increased. Additionally, a cup of coffee (+13.7%) cost more in April 2022 than in April 2021.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and poor weather explain most of these costs, the agency said in a report published online May 18.

Downward factors included mortgage interest costs (-4.4%); however, this will soon change as the Bank of Canada increased its overnight rate 0.5% in March and is expected to increase rates again on June 1. It is these rate increases that are supposed to curb inflationary costs.

Statistics Canada provides a personal inflation calculator online.