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Inflation: The rising cost of living worries Canadians

The rising cost of living is worrying Canadians and defining Ontario’s election as prices rise on everything from groceries to gas.

In the Greater Toronto Area, the average price per liter of gas has just reached a record $2.09, while prices in Montreal climbed to $2.15 on Monday. Both are below Vancouver, where prices recently hit $2.34. Experts predict no immediate relief.

“Usually I put in $50 a week,” one driver told CTV News. “Now I’m putting in $80 a week for the same amount of gas.”

Food prices have also soared.

“Vegetable prices are up, canned prices are up, fruit and everything,” a shopper told CTV News. “Even the meat. The meat is ridiculous.”

The rising cost of living appears to be a priority for voters in Ontario, where provincial party leaders debated Monday for the last time before the June 2 election.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford has pledged to temporarily cut gas and fuel taxes while the Liberals promise to cut all public transit fares to one dollar through 2024. NDP proposes subsidies for energy-efficient home upgrades, which could help reduce utility bills.

“I don’t know which party, but who can take control of the cost of living,” one voter told CTV News.

Sarika Agrawal says a year ago she was spending $100 a week to feed her family of five. Today she says it costs closer to $200.

“Grocery prices and gas prices: two things they should do something about,” Agrawal told CTV News.

At least there has been some relief in the housing market. For the second month in a row, home prices in Canada have fallen, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. The average cost of a home in Canada in April was $746,000, down from a record high of over $816,000 in February 2022, a drop of 9%. Although rising mortgage rates are helping calm the market, homes in Canada are still more expensive than they were a year ago.

Vancouver’s booming real estate market is no exception. In the east end of the city, a dilapidated and completely uninhabitable two-bedroom house recently went on sale for $1.5 million.

“There’s not a lot out there for $1.5 million, oddly enough,” Vancouver realtor David Hutchinson told CTV News.

Statistics Canada is expected to release its latest inflation figures on Wednesday. While many hope inflation has peaked, data released in April showed inflation hit a 30-year high of 6.7%.

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