Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Canada’s Inflation Rate Plummets to 2.9% in January, Manitoba Leads with Lowest Rate of 0.8%

Canada experienced a remarkable drop in its inflation rate to 2.9% in January, marking a significant decline of half a percent nationwide. Particularly noteworthy is Manitoba, boasting the lowest inflation rate at a mere 0.8%, according to Statistics Canada.

This remarkable decline is largely attributed to reduced gasoline prices, with Statistics Canada even acknowledging Manitoba’s role, stating that “lower gas prices in Manitoba contributed to the national decline, following a temporary suspension of the provincial gas tax.”

Premier Wab Kinew lauded this development, emphasizing the tangible benefits to Manitobans, who continue to save 14 cents a litre due to the tax suspension. However, he refrained from confirming whether this tax relief would persist beyond June, when the temporary measure is slated to conclude.

Jesse Hajer, assistant professor in economics and labour studies at the University of Manitoba, cautioned that the resumption of the gas tax could lead to a resurgence in inflation. “That’s something Manitobans will have to be prepared for when that gas tax goes back on. We’re going to see a big jump in inflation,” he warned.

Hajer further highlighted the limitations of the gas tax relief, noting that it does not alleviate the financial burden on those reliant on public transit. “Those who can’t afford a car, who rely on public transit, their price level isn’t coming down this month. Transit fares are going to be the same price,” he emphasized.

Moreover, the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (SPCW) criticized the tax break, arguing that the funds could have significantly impacted poverty alleviation efforts. Jesse Hajer emphasized the importance of targeted credits and benefits to reduce living costs sustainably.

Premier Kinew acknowledged the ongoing challenges faced by Manitobans in coping with the cost of living. “We recognize the work is not done. Manitobans are still struggling with the cost of living, so we are going to keep taking steps to help,” he affirmed, without specifying additional measures.

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