With high inflation continuing, the Bank of Canada has announced a quarter-percentage point rate increase.
The key interest rate is now 4.75 per cent, the highest since 2001.
The hike adds to more stress for Canadians as, according to new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, 46 per cent say they are in worse shape financially than last June. Two in five (39%) are holding steady, while a handful (14%) say they are trending positively.
Housing affordability and the cost of groceries remain two of the most significant stresses on Canadians, as more than half (54%) of renters and almost half (45%) of mortgage holders say they are already finding their monthly payment for housing tough or difficult to manage.
While inflation and increasing housing costs have affected the entire country, Saskatchewan is home to some of the highest levels of economic stress.
“While Saskatchewan’s provincial economy appears strong, the percentage of residents seeking debt relief has increased in recent years,” the Angus Reid Institute said.
According to recent data, 59 per cent of Saskatchewan residents feel worse off than a year ago. Residents also aren’t feeling optimistic about the future, as 48 per cent believe they will be financially worse off than they are now in a year.
Regarding paying for groceries and housing, 54 per cent say that it’s difficult to feed their household and 40 per cent find it tough, and 15 per cent find it very difficult to maintain their living situation.
“These numbers confirm what we already know: that Saskatchewan people are struggling to pay their bills because of this tired and out-of-touch government’s choices,” said Saskatchewan NDP Finance Citric Trent Wotherspoon.
Saskatchewan led the country in each of the four listed categories.
“The Sask. Party doesn’t get it. They’re just not listening. This is not growth that works for everyone,” said Wotherspoon. “Families need cost of living relief now, and it’s long past time for the government to act. We need to be cutting costs for working families whether that’s removing the Sask. Party’s power hikes or removing the Sask. Party’s PST from everyday grocery items like rotisserie chickens and granola bars. People need a hand, and we should be delivering.”