Consumer Price Index (CPI) data from Statistics Canada suggests Whitehorse is significantly more affected by increases in household expenses than anywhere else in the country.
Data capturing the rise in the Consumer Price Index, which measures the change in the price of a fixed “basket” of goods and services over time, shows a 5.2 per cent increase for Whitehorse over the past 12 months.
The data for the territories only considers their capital cities: Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit, while the CPI increase is tracked for the whole province elsewhere in the country. A StatCan representative confirmed that no data for Yukon communities outside Whitehorse was considered.
Although it is not an exact comparison because of the different scope of data collection, the next sharpest increase in the country was the 3.9 per cent rise tracked in Quebec. StatCan also notes statistical challenges created by Whitehorse and Yellowknife’s small housing markets. Different methods are used for collecting and analyzing the cost of housing in the two northern capitals than in the rest of the country.
Whitehorse’s CPI increase compares unfavourably to the other territorial capitals with both Yellowknife and Iqaluit logging increases of less than half of Whitehorse’s. A 2.5 per cent increase was observed in Yellowknife and 2.6 per cent in Iqaluit.
While Whitehorse’s 12-month increase in prices was the sharpest in the country, data from the past month shows both Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia slightly outpacing the Yukon capital’s 1.3 per cent CPI increase with both logging 1.7 per cent bumps.
As troubling as the statistics may be, they pale in comparison to the human impacts of the runaway inflation.
“What do we see? We see that people are very anxious. There’s worry for people who have kids, you know the start of the school year is a very expensive time,” said Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition (YAPC) executive director Kristina Craig.
Craig noted that along with inflating prices of household goods stretching Yukoners’ dollars thin, there has also been a reduction of some services that provided basic needs, such as food, using federal funding instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said much of that funding has now dried up.
She said people are “going everywhere they can think of to get support” and YAPC has been helping out when it can, offering everything from extra toilet paper to bus passes to help people make ends meet. Craig said demand for the bus passes YAPC provides has effectively doubled in recent months. She noted that those on income assistance receive an allotment to purchase a bus pass but she thinks they are requiring that money to buy food, leading to the uptick in demand.
“The truth is that we, you know, we all need a place, we all need a place to sleep, we all need food to eat. We’re all parts of families that are doing their best to be healthy and when you have very little income, it just becomes that much more acute,” Craig said.
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