New data shows grocery prices continue to climb, especially for basic staples that families rely upon, and Alberta’s NDP is again calling on the UCP government to take immediate action to help Albertans.
According to Statistics Canada prices of several common household products shot up from November 2021 to November 2022: laundry detergent by 19 per cent; potatoes by 13 per cent; pasta by 28 per cent; bread by 19 per cent; celery, carrots and onions by 13 to 15 per cent; and baby formula by 12 per cent.
“Even the measures families have been using to reduce their grocery costs are no longer as helpful as they once were. Bread has risen in price, but so have the ingredients you need to make it at home,” said NDP deputy leader Sarah Hoffman in a statement.
“Traditionally cheaper cuts of meat, like stewing beef or chicken thighs, have risen by up to 22 per cent, and alternative affordable proteins like beans and lentils often used to stretch every last dollar are up by 17 per cent.”
The NDP say basic necessities like fruits and vegetables have become prohibitively expensive, with fresh vegetables soaring in price by 20 to 40 per cent.
Meanwhile, Canadian grocers are reporting record profits and larger margins since the pandemic. In November, Loblaws reported previous quarter earnings of $556 million, up 29 per cent from last year’s earnings.
“It has been over two months since we wrote to the UCP, urging them to investigate the potential price gouging by grocers, and the lack of competition in the Alberta marketplace,” Hoffman said.
The NDP says an investigation should review the business practices of large corporate grocers over the last two years to ensure they are not capitalizing on the cost of living crisis.
“We have heard from constituents in every corner of Alberta that they are struggling to make ends meet as the rising costs of groceries, utilities, and housing continue to put a strain on their budgets,” Hoffman said.
The Bank of Canada recently stated that the pain felt by Canadians could worsen heading into 2023 as prices to continue to rise, and economists anticipate grocery prices to increase by another seven per cent as well as major increases to debt service payments.
The NDP say Albertans already carry among the highest levels of debt in the country. With wages not keeping up with inflation, they are relying on credit cards just to afford basic needs, with half of Albertans only $200 away from not being able to pay their bills at the end of the month — the highest percentage in the country.