CANADA — The relentless toll of inflation continues. Canadian grocery prices in June were almost 9% higher than a year earlier and down less than a point from the milestone inflationary rise at the checkout counter in April and May, according to the latest Consumer Price Index update by Statistics Canada.
Both April and May 2022 posted a 9.7% food price hike over the same months in 2021, a high rate not seen in more than 40 years. Meanwhile, June’s 8.8% jump was the seventh consecutive month food prices rose 5% or more on a year-over-year basis.
How much pain did this translate into at the cash register in June, compared with a year earlier?
• Fresh vegetable prices were up 9.5%
• Fresh or frozen fish prices were up 13.4%
• Bacon was up 10.2%
• Eggs were up 7.9%
• Butter was up 17.5%
• Bread was up 11.9%
• Bananas were up 5.1%
• Apples were up 12.7%
• Meat prices were up 8%
• Edible fats and oils were up 28.8%
June’s whopping increase in edible fats and oils, driven by cooking oil prices, followed the largest year-over-year increase on record — 30% — in May.
Though still way up from a year earlier, the rise in meat prices continued to ease in June — at a rate of 8% versus 9% in May and 10.1% in April. But that’s likely to come as cold comfort to the 43% of recently surveyed Canadians who indicated that increasingly expensive food tops their concern about rising prices in the economy. Rising costs for transportation (32%), shelter (9%) and household operations (8%) followed as the top inflationary concerns of respondents in the StatCan survey conducted April 19 – May 1.
The federal agency attributes rising food prices to supply chain disruptions, higher transportation and input costs, as well as tariffs imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
Federal Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilivre, however, delves deeper into what’s burdening transportation and the overall economy, as reflected in the grocery aisle. In a witty campaign video featuring his recent visit to a supermarket, the Carleton MP blames rising food prices — and inflation generally — on the Trudeau government’s federal carbon tax, its inflationary overspending with printed money, and its regulatory “gatekeepers” preventing people from doing their work. In that last category, Poilievre includes the federal vaccine mandate that continues to sideline some truckers.