It may go without saying, but your hard-earned dollars will have to stretch a little further in 2020.
Here’s a look at some of the areas where you can expect to spend more.
Feeding yourself and your family is going to be more expensive in 2020, according to a recent report from researchers at Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph.
They forecast that food prices are expected to rise between two and four per cent.
For the average family following Canada’s food guide, that can translate into an additional $487 on food, increasing the average household total grocery bill to $12,667.
But it partially depends on what you’re buying.
The cost of meats is expected to increase most dramatically — between four to six per cent — while on the low end of the spectrum, bakery items are poised to stay the same or rise by two per cent.
The price increases are expected as consumer preferences change, trade wars continue, global growth decelerates, and wages stay constant while failing to adjust for inflation, the report said.
If you plan on moving or buying a home, those costs are also expected to rise.
In its Housing Market Outlook, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. forecasts the average price of a home to be in the range of $506,200 to $531,000 in 2020.
That’s an increase over 2019, when CMHC projects an average home price was $479,300 on the low end and $497,200 on the high.
Ontario is expected to lead the country on price growth in 2020, while the Quebec market will show “relatively strong” gains.
B.C. home prices are poised for a recovery after declining this year. Elsewhere, increases are expected to be more modest, the report said.
Renters, meanwhile, are by no means off the hook.
A report from Rentals.ca and Bullpen Consulting forecast that overall, rents will increase by three per cent.
Vancouver is almost right on the national average at a 3.1 per cent projected increase, while Edmonton and Calgary are basically flat — decreases of under one per cent are projected.
Elsewhere, renters will have to dig deeper.
Toronto rents are poised to rise 6.9 per cent, and an increase of 7.5 per cent is in the forecast for neighbouring Mississauga. Ottawa rents could increase by 4.1 per cent year over year, while Montreal is at 4.8 per cent.
Pensions and taxes
You can expect to pay more into the Canada Pension Plan in 2020 and beyond, as part of the government’s plan to expand the program and provide Canadians with more retirement money.
Outside of Quebec, nearly all Canadians pay into CPP throughout their working lives through deductions on their paycheques or for the self-employed, through paying directly. (Quebec has its own plan called the QPP).
For 2020, the CPP contribution rate for non-self-employed workers will be 5.25 per cent, up from 5.1 per cent in 2019. (Contributions are matched by your employer).
For self-employed individuals, the contribution rate will be increasing to 10.5 per cent from 10.2 per cent.
These rates only apply to income that falls under the CPP 2020 maximum earnings ceiling, which is $58,700 (minus a basic exemption amount).
In other words, regardless of whether you earn more than that, there’s a hard contribution limit of $2,898 for employees and $5,796 for the self-employed in 2020.
Compared with 2019 — when the earnings ceiling and the contribution rates were lower — that’s an increase of about $149 for employees and $298 for self-employed people.
On the other hand, Employment Insurance premiums are also going down slightly, from 1.62 per cent to 1.58 per cent.
There’s also likely some relief on your 2020 tax return.
The government is looking to raise the basic personal amount — earnings you pay no federal tax on — to $13,229 from $12,069.
It’s part of a broader plan to raise the ceiling up to $15,000 by 2023. (The federal government says that will save individuals up to nearly $300 per year, and in the end, nearly 1.1 million more people would pay no federal tax).
The government is also introducing a new tax credit for 2020 for those who subscribe to Canadian digital publications. Canadians will be able to claim up to $500 for eligible subscriptions, and receive a tax credit up to $75.
(Here’s a look at other federal tax changes taking place as of Jan. 1.)
If you were hoping for a break on gas, 2020 won’t be your year.
“I think almost without a doubt 2020 will likely feature higher average prices than what we saw this year,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com.
If it wasn’t for carbon taxes, 2020’s gas prices would likely be very similar — within a couple of cents a litre — to what we saw in 2019, he said.
In B.C., the cost of gasoline could hit records once again, he said. And Alberta, which will face the federal carbon tax as of Jan. 1, could see increases at the pumps of seven to 12 cents per litre.
Drivers can help offset increases simply by shopping around and using online comparison tools (of which GasBuddy is one), DeHaan said.
“Consumers that aren’t actively paying attention to prices are going to end up spending anywhere from $200 to $300 more per year,” he said.
They can also make efforts to use less gas. Not driving aggressively or curbing time spent warming up the car in winter can help, he said.
Ultimately, those living in the provinces with the federal carbon tax will get a rebate come tax time.
That rebate is set to drop somewhat in the new year, however. A Saskatchewan family of four will qualify for rebates totalling $809 when they submit their 2019 taxes, down from the $903 that was projected for the previous year, the federal finance department says.
In Ontario and Manitoba, the rebates are only being reduced by a few dollars. A family of four is expected to receive $448 in Ontario and $486 in Manitoba.
A family of the same size in Alberta will get the biggest rebate of all, at $888.
You may not have heard of this, but new regulations designed to cut sulphur dioxide emissions are being called the “biggest shakeup in decades” to the global shipping industry.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a UN agency, is lowering the allowable sulphur content in a ship’s fuel to 0.5 per cent from 3.5 per cent as of Jan. 1.
The landmark agreement is expected to improve air quality, benefiting both human health and the environment.
But some experts warn the added expense of meeting the regulations could result in higher prices for consumer goods.
Citing analysts, Reuters has reported that the shipping container industry could be looking at additional expenses of about US$10 billion.
Further, the outlet said it spoke with 25 unnamed logistics company executives who said they would be passing the price tag of IMO compliance onto consumers.
— With files from Hannah Jackson, Global News, The Canadian Press and Reuters