Inflation remains sticky in British Columbia, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada released this month.
While inflation across Canada dropped to 5.2 per cent in February 2023 year-over-year from 5.9 per cent in January 2023, B.C.’s rate remained at 6.2 per cent in February.
Higher housing costs in B.C. offset lower energy costs, according to Statistics Canada. Neighbouring Alberta saw the lowest price growth at 3.6 per cent, as gasoline and natural gas prices dropped significantly in that province.
But Statistics Canada warns against high expectations that the trend of declining inflation will continue.
While inflation has slowed in recent months – having increased 1.2 per cent compared to the period six months ago – prices remain elevated. Inflation has increased 8.3 per cent compared to 18 months ago and grocery prices remain on the rise. Prices for food purchased from stores rose 10.6 per cent in February 2023 in marking the seventh straight month of double-digit increases.
These figures appear just days after a new survey from Angus Reid Institute identified inflation as the most pressing issue among British Columbians. Almost 60 per cent respondents said it is the issue which they care about the most, followed by health care (42 per cent) and housing affordability (33 per cent).
Twenty-three per cent identified environment and climate as their most pressing issue, while 20 per cent pointed to public crime and safety. Survey respondents could choose up to three top issues.
Looking at issues of least interest among British Columbians, no one expressed personal concern about Canada’s national unity. COVID-19 (three per cent) and international issues (four per cent) round up the bottom three issues.
The survey also found British Columbians increasingly pessimistic about their current and future financial situations. Just over half (51 per cent) said their financial situation has worsened compared to a year ago. Only residents of the New Brunswick (56 per cent), Saskatchewan (55 per cent) and Alberta (52 per cent) reported higher figures.
Most daunting: 33 per cent of British Columbians think their pocket books will be worse off next year. Meanwhile, 41 per cent of Saskatchewan residents feel they were worse off 12 months from now.