Here’s what will cost more or less in BC in 2023

Here are a few changes that consumers can expect in 2023.

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It’s time to ring in a New Year in BC, and with it some new costs that could affect how people budget. Residents should brace themselves for higher grocery and electricity bills.

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Here are a few changes that consumers can expect in 2023:

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Inflation is leading to rising food costs.
Inflation is leading to rising food costs. Photo by illustration /Getty Images

Grocery bills are expected to continue to climb

It’s frightening to think food prices will go up more than they are now. However, according to the latest Canada’s Food Price report, food prices are expected to rise to seven per cent more in 2023, with vegetable prices seeing the biggest increase of six to eight per cent.

“We were hoping to have better news for Canadians, given the difficulties experienced in 2022, but our models tell us a different story,” said the report, complied by four Canadian universities from Halifax to Vancouver.

The report calculates that the annual food expenditure for a family of four will hit $16,288 in 2023, an increase of $1,065 from this year.

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Canadians will continue to struggle with food security as grocery prices rise, the report said.

Electricity bills likely up, too

This year, rates decreased by 1.4 per cent, however in 2023 BC Hydro has requested a rate increase of two per cent, followed by a rate increase of 2.7 per cent in 2024.

BC Hydro says the increase will cover important investments in reliability, cybersecurity, vegetation management and new projects.

While rates will likely jump, BC Hydro customers did get a one-time, $100 credit, paid out on their first bill after Dec. 4. Commercial rate payers, including small and medium businesses, such as restaurants and tourism operators, received a one-time bill credit for an average of $500. The precise amount is based on electricity consumption.

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Home prices are expected to drop

A report by TD Bank earlier this year suggested the average price of a home in Canada could fall 20 to 25 per cent in the first quarter of 2023.

TD economist Rishi Sondhi says the projected price drop represents an unprecedented decline at least going as far back as the late 1980s, when the data began, but it follows an unequally unprecedented rise during the pandemic.

File photo of Novaco Daycare in North Vancouver.
File photo of Novaco Daycare in North Vancouver. Photo by Jason Payne /PNGs

Daycare fees will drop

Provincial and federal ministers announced last month new subsidies that will apply to 96,000 children across BC

The amount parents can expect to save varies based on age and type of child care. The maximum is $550 a month in savings for the care of an infant/toddler under three years old at licensed group daycares; $445 a month for children between three and five years old; and $220 a month for after school care for kids in kindergarten.

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Parents in home daycares will save $400 a month for infant/toddler care, $440 a month for children three to five and $260 a month for after school care for kids in kindergarten.

The government said this would bring down the average daycare fees to $21 a day, from an average of $53 a day before subsidies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2021 budget promised $30 billion over five years to nationalize child care and make all spaces $10-a-day by 2026.

A BC Ferries vessel heads to Duke Point near Nanaimo.  The trip is going to cost you more in 2023.
A BC Ferries vessel heads to Duke Point near Nanaimo. The trip is going to cost you more in 2023. Photo by JENNIFER GAUTHIER /REUTERS

BC Ferries fees to go up

Every four years, the BC Ferries Commissioner sets annual price caps.

BC Ferries plans to implement an approved tariff increase of 2.3 per cent on average across the fleet on April 1, 2023.

Some fare types may be slightly higher and some lower than the average.

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BC Ferries says the tariff increases are necessary to cover operating costs and major capital replacement projects.

Rent will likely increase

The BC government has said the 2023 maximum increase for residential rent will be two per cent. If your landlord is going to increase your rent, he or she must give you no less than three months notice before the fee hike takes effect.

File photo: A man walks along the path around the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park on a beautiful sunny morning.  (Jon Murray/Province)
File photo: A man walks along the path around the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park on a beautiful sunny morning. (Jon Murray/Province) Photo by Jon Murray /PROVINCE

Parking fees to go up at Stanley Park

The Vancouver park board has voted in favor of increasing parking fees in Stanley Park by nine per cent per hour, six per cent per day and 10 per cent for special events.

Minimum wage stays the same

The minimum wage in BC is $15.65 per hour. There are no plans to increase it this year.

Farm workers who hand-harvest crops get rate increase Jan. 1

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Farm workers and producers are reminded that the minimum wage for agricultural rates will increase by 2.8 per cent on Jan. 1.

The increase applies to 15 agricultural crops that are harvested by hand, as specified in the employment standards regulation, including peaches, apricots, Brussels sprouts, daffodils, mushrooms, apples, beans, blueberries, cherries, grapes, pears, peas, prune plums, raspberries and strawberries.

The increase is based on BC’s average annual inflation rate in 2021 and is consistent with the 2.8 per cent increase to the minimum hourly wage that came into effect on June 1, according to a BC government news release.

Stamp on food delivery fees

Canada’s first permanent cap on fees charged to restaurants by food-delivery companies will go into effect in BC on Jan. 1.

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The Food Delivery Service Fee Act was passed on Nov. 3 in response to delivery companies charging fees to restaurants as high as 30 per cent of an order’s value, according to a government news release Thursday. This followed a temporary cap put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The food-delivery fees are capped at 15 per cent. An additional cap of five per cent is placed on related fees such as online ordering and processing, so that the food-delivery companies cannot shift their delivery costs to other fees. The 20 per cent total will apply to the big, food-service companies such as DoorDash, SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats.

The act prohibits delivery companies from downloading costs onto drivers, ensuring employees and contractors will continue to be paid their wages and gratuities.

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— with files from the Financial Post, David Carrigg, Katie DeRosa, and The Canadian Press

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