Everything inflation: It’s not just gas and food anymore — and wages aren’t keeping up
Everything seems to be getting more expensive. Food, gas and housing prices are on the rise while pay cheques are slow to keep pace. The CBC News series Priced Out explains why you’re paying more at the register and how Canadians are coping with the high cost of everything.
Canadians familiar with the way rising prices have been taking a chomp out of their spending power are now facing something worse than what they’ve encountered so far.
Rising pump prices are now grimly routine. We’ve grown to expect the effect of shipping delays on food and things with imported components. High housing costs are now just an appalling Canadian fact of life.
But toward the end of 2021, that recognizable pattern of rising prices began to change. Until about three months ago, Canadians apportioning their weekly budgets would have noticed most price increases occurring in a few very distinct, relatively volatile, categories, such as food, fuel and accommodation. Not anymore.
Inflation has become general
While economists differ on why it is happening and exactly how the change will affect Canadians, all I spoke to agreed on one thing.
“The story is no longer about energy, about food, about housing,” said Tu Nguyen, a Toronto-based economist with the consultancy RSM Canada. “It’s about pretty much everything in the economy.”
It used to be that Canadians trying to keep within a budget could seek out cheaper goods. They could avoid driving when gas was expensive, for example, or alter their diets to cut back on imported food. But when inflation is general, that becomes harder.