Calgary second only to Vancouver when it comes to inflation rate hikes

Calgarians faced the highest consumer price hikes in almost 20 years in May. Tomasia DaSilva explains what is driving up inflation in our city.

Canadians had to dig deep into their wallets to pay for basically everything in May and Calgarians were hit especially hard.

The annual inflation rate skyrocketed to its highest level in nearly 40 years, Statistics Canada said Wednesday, adding it’s consumer price index rose 7.7 per cent compared with a year ago — the  largest increase in 39 years, since January 1983.

In Calgary, there was an even bigger hike of 8 per cent — which according to the City of Calgary’s Inflation Review report, is the highest hike in nearly two decades.

“It’s a pretty high number,” city economist and regulatory lead Oyin Shyllon told Global News.

“If you think about it relative to all the big cities in the country, one million people or slightly more, the only other jurisdiction where you have a higher inflation rate, will be Vancouver.”

Shyllon said there were two main factors driving the rise locally — fuel and shelter. The cost of putting a roof over their heads cost Calgary homeowners 8.8 per cent more, while renters paid 4.1 per cent more last month.

Shyllon said many also got a shock from their utility bills.

“The biggest chunk, though in terms of price change, would be utility bills,” he added. “Utility bills are higher by 21.1 per cent.”

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Rising food prices

The Calgary Food Bank has definitely seen the fallout from high inflation.

“The first five months of 2022, we’ve experienced a 26 per cent increase in demand,” Betty Jo Kaiser said.

Kaiser added its clients these days are also very diverse.

“Honestly the people who use the food bank are your next door neighbour, your cousin, your co-worker,” she said.

“We’re seeing people that would have never thought they’d have to access a support like this and now they absolutely must.”

Kaiser said luckily the organization has been holding steady in terms of food donations and funds, but it does expect another rise in demand come the summer.

“Seven per cent,” she said. “But that number does not account for inflation. It does not account for these rising food costs. It’s just based on past history. So we know that seven per cent is for sure going to be higher.”

The food bank has now loosened its hamper rules to help more Calgarians out. Clients are now able to pick up a hamper every seven-to-10 days.

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Shyllon said Calgarians can reach out to the city for help as well, pointing to several aid programs.

He also advised people navigate rising costs by changing their spending habits, suggesting they ask themselves a few questions.

“Can you reduce your consumption? The items that are discretionary, that you do not necessarily need to do now, can you do those later? Can you institute spending controls?”

Shyllon said he expected hikes to start to stabilize in the latter part of the year.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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