The federal government will be implementing a new tax rebate in the 2023 budget aimed at making basic necessities more affordable for some Canadians.
A “grocery rebate” will be delivered based on household income, according to two government sources who spoke on background because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the budget prior to its release Tuesday.
An average family of four with two children would receive $467, while a single Canadian would be eligible for $234 in rebates.
“We spend at least $300 weekly,” said Saskatoon resident Nikita. “Today we spent $500.”
Nikita lives in a five-person household.
“What used to be $20 is now $40 to $50. It’s ridiculous. It’s getting hard to keep food on the table, pay bills, pay rent and have all the groceries that you need to have.”
Laurie O’Connor at the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre said they have been seeing an increase in people using the food bank since January 2022.
“We have had lots of people who have never used a food bank before through our doors, folks who might be working a minimum wage job,” said O’Connor.
They are now feeding approximately 20,000 people monthly.
“I think folks who use the food bank will be excited to see a quick burst of cash, but it won’t be long-lasting,” said O’Connor. “It will help them pay the bills that they have right now, and they will still be faced with the high cost of groceries moving into the summer.”
She said while they applaud more money in people’s pockets, it isn’t a long-term solution.
“It won’t last past that first grocery bill.
“There have been great suggestions from Food Bank Canada around housing affordability, changes to the employment insurance system, things that can actually make a lasting impact.”
O’Connor noted that the federal government shouldn’t be the only one addressing the issue – the provincial government should be offering assistance as well.
She suggested an almost immediate raise in the minimum wage.
“We are all a little bit stressed when we go to the grocery store,” added O’Connor. “We might not be able to get what we need for our families and that is incredibly difficult.”
– with files from Global News’ Craig Lord