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Saskatchewan inflation increase second lowest among provinces over 2023-24

The high cost of living is a battle many Saskatchewan residents are facing, despite seeing better prices on many items.

Saskatchewan’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by one per cent in April 2024 over April 2023. It marks the second-lowest increase among the provinces and sits below the national average of 2.7 per cent.

The provincial government said the difference is thanks to scrapping the federal carbon tax.

“Removing the Carbon Tax from home heating is helping our province tackle inflation,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer said. “Our government will always fight for the people of Saskatchewan and stand up against policies that hurt our province.”

The CPI measures changes in the price of goods and services over time. Inflation is indicated by the growth of CPI, which helps assess changes to the cost of living. An individual’s ability to buy goods and services is affected by changes in income and prices.

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“You have a shopping list and you get sent to the store — how much is the shopping going to cost you?” economics professor Jason Childs said. “You go with the same shopping list next month — how much is it going to cost you this month? And then you compare the total cost of the shopping list. That’s essentially what’s going on.”

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In short, an increase in CPI means things have gotten more expensive. With only a one per cent CPI increase in Sask. over the last year, Childs said residents are seeing their value of money decline at a slower rate than the rest of the country.

“There’s still going to be pressure and you’re still going to want to get your pay increase,” he said. “But it’s happening at a slower rate here than it is in the rest of the country.”

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Depending on who you are, the one per cent increase could be a good be a big or small deal.

Regina resident Ewen McCormick for example is very pleased with Saskatchewan’s cost of living.

“I just recently moved here from a very expensive city living in Vancouver so it’s a lot more affordable here.”

But some local businesses are definitely feeling the pinch.

“Just the cost of operating, profitability… it’s absolutely brutal,” Mark Heise, the Rebellion Brewing Company CEO said.

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“Are we profitable right now? I would say barely.”

According to Childs, the issues in terms of cost of living comes from the lack of wage increases.

“If our wages are growing at less than one per cent, we’re falling behind. If they’re growing about more than one per cent, we’re getting ahead.”

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