Spring is just around the corner, and we can finally look forward to a progressive return to normal. The bad news: after the pandemic comes inflation. The good news: there are ways to help limit the damage!
The first thing to do is to acknowledge the facts and to realize that it’s not all just a scare tactic designed to terrify the world.
A consumer price index on the rise
According to Statistics Canada, from December 2020 to December 2021, the consumer price index jumped 5.1% in Quebec, making it the highest increase in 30 years.
The cost of groceries is steadily climbing
One trip to the grocery store is all it takes to realize that prices continue to soar. The price of beef, for example, increased over 15% in just one year. And consumers need to pinch their pennies even more if they want to buy items such as bacon. Fruits and vegetables are more expensive too, as is always the case this time of year.
And that’s without counting the pressure felt by many businesses so early in the year. A decision made by the Canadian Dairy Commission means Quebec milk is slated to go up 5% (which will have direct impacts on the price of butter, cheese, yogurt, etc.), while gas station employees are busy changing their displays to reflect the ever-changing price of gas, which jumped 10% in a single month.
Hopeless? Not necessarily.
What’s hiding behind inflation?
First off, the increase in food and gas prices depends, essentially, on cyclic factors. In other words, said increase is a victim of circumstances. Bad weather conditions affected cattle producers, both here and abroad, while geopolitical risks, such as a possible conflict between Ukraine and Russia, a big petrol producer, fuels speculation. But in reality, with the rise in popularity of electric cars, the demand for hydrocarbon is expected to diminish and prices will eventually follow suit.
This does not, however, mean that inflationist trends are temporary. There’s an element that currently impacts, and will continue to impact, inflation: the labour shortage, which is not going away anytime soon. To attract talent, employers have no choice but to offer better work conditions. These better work conditions cost money, which causes businesses to increase their prices.