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Calls continue for N.S. government to relieve rising cost of living impacts

Click to play video: 'Inflation rates show cost of nearly everything rising' Inflation rates show cost of nearly everything rising
WATCH: Newly released inflation stats show the cost of practically everything is going up and shows no signs of slowing down. And with Nova Scotia’s poverty rates being the highest in the country, opposition and non-profit voices say the provincial government can't afford to stall on further relief for citizens. Alexa MacLean has the details. – May 18, 2022

Newly released inflation statistics further exacerbate poverty issues that the front lines of Feed Nova Scotia say they’ve been dealing with for years.

“Nova Scotia has the highest rate of food insecurity of all the provinces across Canada,” Karen Theriault said, Feed Nova’s communication director.

“People are food insecure not because they don’t have enough food, because they don’t have enough money.”

The inflation report compares consumer price index rates from April 2022 to 2021 and demonstrates that the cost of nearly all commodities continues to rise.

READ MORE: Food, shelter push inflation in Canada to 6.8% in April: Statistics Canada

Food costs have shot up by 9.7 per cent, partly because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with both countries being major wheat exporters.

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Rent prices went up by 4.5 per cent with the cost of gas breaking another record this week topping $2 per litre.

With overall prices for basic necessities showing no signs of slowing, calls on Nova Scotia’s government to expand financial relief efforts are growing louder.

“We know that we need today, a $15 minimum wage and a path toward a living wage in Nova Scotia. Minimum wage just went up by forty cents, and with these types of cost of living increases, forty cents is not going to make much impact,” said Susan Leblanc, the N.S. NDP MLA for Dartmouth North.

READ MORE: Average gas price tops $2 a litre in Canada for the 1st time

According to a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative report, people working in Halifax would have needed to make $22.05 per hour in order to earn a living wage.

“We feel we have some ability to help but we also know that the gas tax revenue that comes into the province, we use them to fix the roads,” said Allan MacMaster, Nova Scotia’s finance minister.

In March, the provincial government provided a support package for people living on income assistance and a heating rebate for eligible Nova Scotians.

Feed Nova Scotia also received $1 million to divvy out to food banks across the province.

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MacMaster says the province is considering another round of targeted relief but he didn’t provide specific details.

“It’s something we’re discussing right now. We’ve also been having communication with the federal government and with other provinces,” he said.

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