North Bay organizations have mixed feelings on new federal grocery rebate
Local groups and organizations in North Bay that work with low-income Canadians told CTV News they have mixed opinions on the grocery rebate set to come out of the 2023 federal budget.
The shelves at the Callander and District Food Bank always need re-stocking. The food bank knows all too well of the impacts inflation and rising food costs have on those that need its services.
"Our people are beginning to feel it and we're also growing in clientele daily. So we need more food," said food bank coordinator Maureen Carriere.
CTV News has confirmed the government is going to provide some financial assistance to lower income Canadians struggling with the rising cost of food.
The new measure is called the grocery rebate and will be included in Tuesday’s budget. Sources said the measure will help nearly 11 million low-income Canadians.
The new benefit will be part of a GST credit once the budget is passed in the House of Commons.
Here is how it would work: a couple with two children could get a one-time payment of up to $467, seniors would get a one-time payment of $225, while a single person would get a payment of $234.
The benefit will be rolled out through the GST rebate system, once a bill implementing it passes in the House of Commons, according to sources.
This move is essentially re-upping and re-branding the recent GST rebate boost.
The amounts expected to be offered are exactly what the Liberals offered through last fall's doubling of the GST credit, a boost that was estimated to cost $2.5 billion and got all-parties' backing.
It's not expected that there will be a requirement to spend the rebate on groceries.
Currently serving roughly 100 families and 53 children, the Callander food bank wonders if it will help at all.
"It is better than nothing. We sort of think that it's not really a help to them. Maybe it will for one week," Carriere said.
"Next week, the price of gasoline is going up, which means food prices are going up."
North Bay's Golden Age Club said seniors are feeling their wallets get thinner every time they have to go to the grocery store and they welcome this rebate with open arms.
"We can do more for seniors," said the club’s vice-president Kathy Forth.
"Any of us, no matter what our situation is, would like a break. Anything that can be given to us, I think is there to help us all out."
Low Income People Involvement of Nipissing (L.I.P.I) is happy the government plans to establish this one-time payment.
"I'm glad they're paying attention and glad they're putting some effort into this," said LIPI’s executive director Lana Mitchell.
"I'm glad they're using a process that we can understand for people already on GST entitlement. I'd like to see a little bit more in-depth analysis on what we can do so people can afford their own groceries."
According to Statistics Canada's latest inflation report, food prices rose 11.4 per cent year-over-year in January, nearly double the rate of inflation of 5.9 per cent and up from 11 per cent the previous month.
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