Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The rising cost of living
Canada's pain at the pumps is bordering on torture. Despite relief in the form of a few cents per litre decrease since the early days of May, our nation's year-over-year gas price hike is brutal: a jump of nearly 30 cents per litre, on average, across Canada from May, 2010, to May, 2011, according to GasBuddy.com.
Yet while skyrocketing pump prices get all the media play, in fact all areas of consumerism are rising, rising, rising. Here are what goods and services you're paying more for now versus a year earlier in Canada.
Year-over-year increase: 1.9 per cent
The cost of goods and services around the house are up almost across the board over the last year - according to Statistics Canada, furniture prices jumped 2.4 per cent; pet food spiked 3.4 per cent; child care costs rose 5.2 per cent. More notably, though, is the price of Internet access, which was a major headline maker in the past 12 months. Over the same period Ontario and British Columbia applied the dreaded 13 per cent HST to its residents' telecom bills, Canadian Internet access ballooned in price by 3.7 per cent.
Year-over-year increase: 2.5 per cent
It was a tale of two trends for the cost of beer in Canada over the last year. According to Stats Canada, the price of suds bought in stores fell by 1.6 per cent (about 45 cents on a case of cheap brew) since March, 2010, though beer served in bars and restaurants conversely rose by 2.1 per cent during that same period. Those might sound like sweet numbers to smokers, though. By Statistics Canada's Consumer Price Index, the price of a pack of cigarettes has jumped 5.7 per cent nationwide over the past year.
Year-over-year increase: 2.6 per cent
Health care costs in Canada are rising, this we know. And the crisis, as it was called by party leaders during election time, is proving very costly. Prescribed medications are down in cost by 2.2 per cent year-over-year, Stats Canada notes, but over-the-counter drugs have soared by 5.8 per cent. Add that all up and the numbers are frightening. According to the Globe and Mail, Canadians spent about $172 billion on health care in 2008. Last year, that figure rose to more than $191 billion.