Here's what will cost more in B.C. in 2023

Food costs will continue to rise in 2023, according to Canada's Food Price Report. (Stefan Malloch/Shutterstock - image credit)
Food costs will continue to rise in 2023, according to Canada's Food Price Report. (Stefan Malloch/Shutterstock - image credit)

Inflation remained top of mind for Canadians in 2022.

Economic forecasts suggest prices will continue to rise in the new year.

So what can British Columbians expect to pay more for in 2023?

Food prices expected to keep rising

For many British Columbians, higher prices were most noticeable at the grocery store.

In 2021, Canada's Food Price Report — an annual publication by Canadian researchers that looks at factors across the supply chain to attempt to predict what the cost of putting food on the table will be — estimated that Canadians would pay five to seven per cent more for food in 2022.

Rick Barichello, a professor at the University of British Columbia's faculty of land and food systems and one of several contributors to the report, says the amount of food price inflation in 2022 exceeded what was forecast a year ago.

"Inflation on food prices was much higher than was anticipated and worst of all, it still seems to be at fairly high rates," he said.

Food price increases stood at 10.3 per cent as of September 2022, according to the latest edition of the report, well above what was forecast. B.C. saw the smallest increase at 9.2 per cent.

WATCH | Here's what to expect at the grocery store in 2023: 

The latest report also predicts a food price increase in the range of five to seven per cent in 2023, meaning the typical family's food bill for the year is estimated to go up by more than $1,000.

Issues that have led to rising food prices in 2022 will persist in the new year.

"We were hoping to have better news for Canadians, given the difficulties experienced in 2022, but our models tell us a different story," the report reads.

Rent increases capped at 2 per cent

Back in September, the provincial government announced it is capping allowable rent increases for 2023 at two per cent if tenants are given a full three months' notice.

Maximum allowable rent increases are set for each year by the province. In the past, it has been set to two per cent plus the rate of inflation. The NDP has previously capped the increase to inflation.

The province put a freeze on rent increases at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was lifted at the end of  2021, with landlords allowed to raise rents by as much as 1.5 per cent in 2022.

David Horemans/CBC
David Horemans/CBC

B.C. Hydro rates going up over 3 years

B.C. Hydro says rates were reduced by an average of 1.4 per cent as of April 2022 after the B.C. Utilities Commission gave interim approval to the Crown utility's three-year rate application.

Things are set to change in 2023. The rate application also included a two per cent increase in 2023 and a 2.7 per cent increase in 2024. All told, rates will increase an average of 1.1 per cent over three years.

On Dec. 7, FortisBC announced a 3.98 per cent increase for electricity rates as of Jan. 1, 2023 following interim approval from the BCUC. The average customer would expect their bill to go up by about $7.62 per month.

The company also said its gas customers could see their bills decrease by four per cent or $4 a month on average.

Vancouver to increase fees for shopping bags

A year after implementing a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags, Vancouver will require businesses to charge more for paper and reusable bags.

Starting Jan. 1, customers will be charged a minimum of 25 cents for a paper bag and $2 for a new reusable bag, up from 15 cents and $1, respectively.

At least 21 B.C. municipalities, representing more than 40 per cent of the province's population, have approved bylaws for single-use plastics or will have them in place in 2023, according to B.C.'s Ministry of Environment. The newest additions are Sidney and Harrison Hot Springs, which have new bylaws coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

This year the B.C. government is expected to deliver on a promise to introduce a province-wide plastic bag ban, with fees for paper bags and a new reusable bag set at 25 cents and $2, respectively.