Most polled Canadians say their earnings are not keeping up

Respondents cite many different causes to growing affordability crisis

Most polled Canadians say their earnings are not keeping up

A recent poll found that only one in six Canadians believe their earnings are keeping up with inflation, and that two-thirds believe it will continue to rise for at least another year.

According to a poll by Pollara Strategic Insights, which drew from an online panel survey of 2,013 people across the country from July 25 to August 2, consumers attribute cost increases to the COVID-19 epidemic, supply-chain issues, the federal government, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the Bank of Canada.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in a high period of inflation, so it feels new and scary to people,” said Dan Arnold, Pollara’s chief strategy officer. “Canadians are blaming a lot of different factors. They don’t see one culprit.”

Statistics Canada indicated that the inflation rate was 7.6% in July. The firm found that 67% of respondents think it will "rise over the next few months"; 15% predict that it will remain unchanged, while 11% predict a decrease.

A little under one-third, 29%, believe the high rate of inflation will last for at least two more years, while 37% believe it will last for one to two years. In other words, 66% of respondents anticipate that the present inflationary phase will last at least through the fall of 2023.

Around one fifth (18%) of respondents indicated that it might last for six months to a year, while 2% stated "a few more months at most," and 14% were unsure.

Overall, only 16% of employees reported that their pay is keeping up with inflation. However, depending on what they did for a living, respondents' answers differed.

Thirty-one percent of gig workers claimed to be keeping up. This was in contrast to 15% of white-collar workers, 21% of blue-collar workers, and 19% of service workers.

In fact, Pollara discovered that Canadians are making sacrifices to make ends meet. Nearly three fourths (73%) of respondents claimed that they are "purchasing less expensive food products or cheaper brands of groceries because of inflation."

Similar to this, 72% claimed to be "eating out less," 68% claimed to be "spending less money on trips this year," and 67% claimed to be "delaying significant purchases," such as cars.

Many factors, according to the respondents, are contributing to the affordability crisis.

Nine tenths (88%) of those surveyed believed it to be the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit Canada in March 2020 and resulted in the deaths of around 44,000 Canadians. Three quarters (75%) of respondents blame Russia and its February invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and military and disrupted global energy and food supply.

Another two thirds (63%) of respondents place the responsibility on the BoC, which has raised interest rates in an effort to curb inflation.