Nearly all Canadians say their cost of living is higher than last year. Few think governments are doing enough about it.

Top takeaways

  • 62% of Canadians say that compared to a year ago, their cost of living has become “much higher.” 31% say it’s become “somewhat higher.” Together, that’s 93% of Canadians.
  • Canadians say groceries top the list of things that have become more expensive, with 87% reporting their grocery bills have become “much more” or “somewhat more” expensive.
  • For 65% of Canadians, housing has become more expensive. That’s especially true for Canadians who live in urban and suburban communities.
  • Topping the list of who Canadians blame is the federal government (78% “very” or “somewhat” responsible), and only 14% are satisfied with their efforts to lower the cost of living.

Highlights: How has your cost of living changed?

93% of Canadians say their cost of living has become much (62%) or somewhat (31%) higher over the past year.

Groceries top the list of things that have become more expensive, with 87% saying they’re more expensive than a year ago. 65% of Canadians are also spending more on housing than a year ago, and a relatively large number of Canadians have reduced their spending on eating at restaurants (33%) and entertainment (32%).

Highlights: Who is to blame?

The federal government is taking much of the blame for the change in the cost of living, with 43% of Canadians holding them”very responsible”. Combining “very” and “somewhat responsible” together, the federal government (78%), provincial government (72%), the Bank of Canada (74%), and corporations (76%) are held most responsible for the increased cost of living.

Small businesses are the only group that a majority of Canadians hold “only a little responsible” (35%) or “not at all” (35%) for the rising cost of living. 

Highlights: Satisfaction with federal efforts on cost of living

When it comes to satisfaction with efforts by the federal government to respond to changes in the cost of living, more than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) are somewhat (22%) or very dissatisfied (46%) with federal efforts to address the cost of living. Only 14% are either somewhat or very satisfied with the federal government’s efforts.

Residents of Atlantic Canada are the most dissatisfied (84%) with federal efforts to address the cost of living, with 60% saying they’re “very dissatisfied” and 24% saying they’re “somewhat dissatisfied”. Dissatisfaction is least strong in BC and Quebec; though, even in these regions, a plurality of respondents say they are “very dissatisfied” with federal efforts to address the cost of living.

Even among past Liberal voters, a majority of 51% report being either very (29%) or somewhat (22%) dissatisfied with the federal government’s efforts to address cost of living. Half of people who say they’re likely to vote in the next federal election (49%) report being very dissatisfied with federal efforts to address cost of living.

Survey methodology

This round of the What Canadians Think omnibus survey was conducted by Pluriel Research, using an online sample fielded September 7 – 8, 2023. The sample includes 1,001 respondents, and the final sample has been reweighted to account for remaining imbalances that differ from the Canadian adult population. The margin of error for an equivalently-sized probability sample is +/- 3% (19 times out of 20). 

Full crosstabs are available by request. Please contact us if you would like a walkthrough.