Survey Says Nearly Half of Canadians are Finding It Difficult to Feed Their Families Due to Inflation

A new survey has unveiled that about half of the Canadians have admitted to finding it difficult or very difficult to feed their families due to rising inflation that has increased grocery bills. The Angus Reid Institute conducted the survey, and 1,992 Canadian adult members of the Angus Reid Forum participated in it. They talked about their household finances and highlighted what they believe the Bank of Canada should do in the present situation.

As the inflation is now at a 31-year high, 49% of respondents said they found it difficult or very difficult to feed their families. This is not surprising given that food prices increased 8.7% year-over-year in March. The last time this survey was conducted was in April 2019. At that time, only 36% of respondents believed that they found it difficult or very difficult to feed their families.

Pessimistic Attitude

According to the survey results, Canadians have a pessimistic outlook when it comes to their finances. About 36% of respondents said they were in worse financial shape than a year back. Only 24% said that their finances improved in the last 12 months. About 39% said their finances were the same.

In the survey, about 28% of respondents mentioned that they believe their financial situation would be worse a year from now, while 24% believed it would improve. 38% said that it would be the same. About 63% of respondents said they expected to be worse off financially a year from now. Just 6% expected their situation to improve.

Uncertainty is There

Angus Reid Institute President Shachi Kurl said, "At this stage, you know, jobs are abundant. What the challenge is, of course, is people's ability to access disposable income in a way that they have relative to years past. So you're feeling squeezed because your grocery bill is now more, or you are blanching at the cost of a liter of gas, it is all of those things layered on top of the potential either for rising mortgage rates down the road or higher credit card debt rates down the road. It all represents a period of real uncertainty."

What Should the Bank of Canada Do?

There was little consensus on what Bank of Canada should do to bring the inflation down in the survey. About 45% of respondents agreed that they would prefer if the bank kept the overnight lending rate at 1%. About 27% said they would prefer it if the bank kept increasing rates to fight inflation, and 13% said they want to see the rates lowered to protect housing and investment markets. Approximately 15% of respondents were unsure about what the bank should do.

Kurl said, "Admittedly, the Bank of Canada does not make decisions based on public opinion. But we're seeing about half of Canadians saying, look, if it were up to them, they would have the Bank of Canada stand pat, maintain the status quo for now, rather than raise interest rates further. If you are already somebody who's feeling squeezed by the grocery bill, by the gas bill, by the cost of everyday living, you are perhaps looking out at a mortgage that's coming due in the next year, in the next two years, and your eyes are getting wider and wider, saying what is that going to cost me."



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