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Expected surge in Canada’s poverty rate this spring


According to a briefing note from the Department of Social Development, the soaring cost of groceries in Canada is anticipated to lead to an increase in the poverty rate this spring. Consistent food inflation means that Canadians are now paying at least 14% more year over year for essential items like hamburger and peanut butter, as reported by Blacklock’s Reporter.

The note Food Insecurity stated, “The rising cost of food will be reflected in Canada’s poverty rates. As food prices increase poverty thresholds are likely to follow.”

“This could have an impact on poverty rates in Canada in the coming years,” stated the note, dated November 28. “The effects of high inflation are anticipated to be reflected in poverty statistics for 2022, expected to be released in the spring of 2024.”

The implementation of the tax-free Canada Child Benefit by Parliament in 2016 is acknowledged for significantly reducing national poverty rates, dropping from 14.5% to as low as 6.5% in 2020. However, due to food inflation, the poverty rate increased to 7.4% in 2021, according to the most recent available data.

Last year, the Canada Child Benefit provided families with payments of up to $7,437 annually per preschooler and $6,275 for school-age minors under 18. Approximately 3.5 million families with six million children received the benefit, incurring a yearly cost averaging $25 billion, as per official estimates.

Blacklock’s continued:

Cost of living adjustments to program rates could not match higher food inflation, said Food Insecurity. Statistics Canada in its last Monthly Average Retail Prices For Selected Products report showed year over year Canadians were paying:

  • 6 percent more for potatoes to an average $4.97 per kilogram;
  • 7 percent more for stewing beef to $20.48 a kilogram;
  • 9 percent more for tea to $4.39 per 20 bags;
  • 11 percent more for canned tuna to $1.82 per 170 gram can;
  • 12 percent more for carrots to $3.65 per 1.4 kilogram bag;
  • 14 percent more for hamburger to $11.72 a kilogram;
  • 15 percent more for baby food to $1.64 per 128 millilitre jar;
  • 18 percent more for peanut butter to $6.27 per one kilogram jar;
  • 19 percent more for orange juice to $4.70 per two litre jug;
  • 20 percent more for baby formula to $41.16 per 900 grams;
  • 27 percent more for white sugar to $2.92 per two kilogram bag.

The briefing note indicated that an estimated 13% of Canadians are experiencing “food insecurity,” which is a slight increase from the 11% rate observed in 2020.

The note described marginal food insecurity as worrying about running out of food or having limited choices due to a lack of money.

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