Government lockdowns to limit the spread of the coronavirus have led to a dramatic spike in the cost of food across Canada.

On Tuesday, Dr. Sylvain Charlebois of Dalhousie University’s Agri-food Analytics Lab told CTV that Canadian grocery bills have gotten much bigger due to the pandemic, increasing by as much as 4% this year.

“We actually are expecting the average household in Canada to spend not just 9.1% of their budget, but maybe 10.5%, perhaps even 11%,” he said.

The Agri-food Analytics Lab published a report suggesting food prices have increased 240% since 2000. The report determined that the cost of food has increased much faster than the rate of inflation of the past ten years.

Price increases can also be attributed to the increased cost for businesses to meet coronavirus restrictions.

Last week, Charlebois said that many products Canadians often buy have seen significant hikes.

“What’s more expensive since January are onions, oranges, carrots, produce — lots of vegetables are more expensive. Beef is up about — depending on the cuts — on average six to eight per cent, which is what we predicted.”

Throughout 2020, Canadians struggled to make ends meet as the government shut down the economy to limit the spread of coronavirus. In the spring, unemployment reached unprecedented highs.

A recent survey by Ipsos found that 43% of Canadians still reported being either unemployed or on a reduced income due to the pandemic.

While many Canadians are still struggling financially after the pandemic shut down the economy, some politicians and experts are already warning of another round of lockdowns as coronavirus cases rise in some parts of Canada.

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