Canadian inflation rises in April; gas prices strengthen from carbon pricing

Excluding gasoline, the inflation rate rose 2.3 per cent in April compared to a year earlier

Statistics Canada’s offices at Tunny’s Pasture in Ottawa are shown on Friday, March 8, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Canada’s annual inflation rate picked up its pace in April for a third-straight month due in part to stronger gasoline prices in provinces with new carbon-pricing systems.

The consumer price index posted a year-over-year increase of two per cent last month, up from its reading of 1.9 per cent in March and 1.5 per cent in February, Statistics Canada said Wednesday in a new report. The move brought it in line with the Bank of Canada’s ideal two per cent target.

The report said the six provinces where carbon levies were introduced or increased in April saw a larger month-over-month rise in prices at the pump.

The federal Liberal government imposed carbon levies last month on New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan because they did not have similar systems of their own. The federal move has caused controversy, and provincial governments have vowed to fight the mandated systems.

READ MORE: Vancouver expected to headline long Canadian summer of high gasoline prices

Last month, Prince Edward Island introduced its own carbon-pricing system and British Columbia increased its existing levy.

“Absolutely, when you increase the price of gasoline by applying the carbon price it’s obviously going to show up in the numbers,” said Alicia Macdonald, principal economist with The Conference Board of Canada.

She added that the levies were one of several factors that put upward pressure on pump prices. Others included the annual switch to summer-blend gasoline and higher global oil prices, she said.

Under the federal carbon-pricing program, the Liberals have said 90 per cent of the revenues collected will be returned via rebates to households in each of the four provinces. Consumers will get by far the largest share because the government expects them to ultimately pay most of the new costs, passed down from businesses.

Gas prices rose month-to-month in April in all provinces — and, combined, were up 10 per cent.

Excluding gasoline, the inflation rate rose 2.3 per cent in April compared to a year earlier.

Consumers paid more last month for mortgage borrowing costs, fresh vegetables and autos last month, while they saw lower price tags for hotels, kids’ clothing and digital equipment.

April’s headline inflation reading matched expectations from economists.

In reaching the mid-point of the Bank of Canada’s inflation target zone of one to three per cent, governor Stephen Poloz is unlikely to be under immediate pressure to move his trend-setting interest rate in either direction.

“It just reinforces the notion that the Bank of Canada is in a wait-and-see mode,” Macdonald said.

The Statistics Canada report said the average of its three gauges for core inflation, which are considered better measures of underlying price pressures by omitting volatile items like gasoline, slowed slightly to 1.9 per cent in April, down from two per cent the previous month.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

Most Read