Nearly 50% of Canadians are finding it difficult to feed their families amid record-high inflation rates which have impacted the cost of groceries, according to a new survey.

Recent Angus Reid Institute research revealed that 49% of respondents are finding it difficult or very difficult to feed their families amid rising food prices. That number is up 13% from the last time Angus Reid conducted a similar survey in 2019.

In March, Canada’s food inflation rate rose 8.7% year over year, according to Statistics Canada. Meat and dairy products appear to be the hardest hit. 

The Angus Reid data – which was gathered between May 4 and 6 from 1,992 Canadians who are part of the company’s online forum – shows that Canadians have an increasingly pessimistic outlook when it comes to their finances. 

According to the survey, 36% of respondents say they are in worse financial shape than one year ago, compared to 24% who said that their finances had improved over the last 12 months.

A separate poll released by Nanos Research for Bloomberg News found similar findings among Canadians. The Nanos weekly poll, which surveyed 250 Canadians by telephone, found that 41% say their finances are worse today than a year earlier. 

According to Bloomberg, average wages in Canada are growing only at about half the rate of inflation. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, wages rose by only 2.7% over the past two years, while inflation grew by 3.4% annually.

Canadians are also being hit hard by high interest rates as the Bank of Canada (BOC) tightens its monetary policy. Record-high inflation rates have prompted the BOC to lift borrowing costs from pandemic-era emergency lows in March and hike its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 1%. 

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre has pledged if elected prime minister to fire BOC governor Tiff Macklem. Poilievre has accused Macklem of being an “ATM” for the Trudeau government’s spending, and of helping to fuel the inflation crisis.

“I would replace him with a new governor who would reinstate our low-inflation mandate, protect the purchasing power of our dollar, and honour the working people who earned those dollars,” Poilievre said. 

The Carleton MP said those who caused the inflation crisis must be “held accountable.” 

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Harrison Faulkner is producer and journalist for True North based in Toronto.

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