Victoria had the highest inflation rate of any Canadian city last month – reading at 2.7 per cent, its March inflation rates were above Victoria’s 2018 yearly average of 2.4 per cent.
Graham Voss, chair of the department of economics at UVic, said South Islanders might be feeling a pinch at the grocery store, but the reading isn’t something to worry about at, at least not at this point.
“It’s certainly interesting, but you would want to look at it over a longer period of time before you get worried about it,” he said, adding that historically B.C. has had, on average, a lower inflation than much of the rest of Canada.
Voss said calculating inflation is a volatile practice, especially at more micro levels – the Bank of Canada pays attention to the national rate, but the numbers become increasingly unstable when you calculate month to month changes in provinces and cities.
“It’s not irrelevant in the fact that it’s an accurate measure in a basket of goods Victorians are buying,” he said. “It does mean that we’ve seen an increase over the years.”
Vancouver came in second at 2.5 per cent. And overall, B.C.’s inflation rate was at 2.6, mostly thanks to the inflation in food prices (4.3 per cent ) and shelter (3.4 per cent).
The reasons behind an inflation reading are almost incalculable, but the provincial rate points to jumps in housing and food costs.
“It very much depends upon the conditions within B.C. as a whole,” Voss said. “There is a fair amount of activity that could be pushing up costs, higher demand [or] it may be that we source a lot of our food from south of the border and those costs have gone up.”