This week, the NWT Bureau of Statistics reported Yellowknife’s largest year-on-year jump in prices for more than three decades.
The consumer price index, which measures the change in prices, rose 8.3 percent between June 2021 and June 2022, Yellowknife’s biggest leap since 1991. The Canada-wide average for the same period is 8.1 percent.
Bush Order Provisions, a Yellowknife market garden and bakery operated by Marie-Christine Auger and Kyle Thomas, this week set out how increasing costs are affecting its business.
Posting to the company’s website, Thomas said Bush Order attempted to “constantly balance the costs of goods and services with how much the average consumer is willing to pay.”
Thomas said Bush Order acquires flour from a mill in Saskatchewan, chosen based on a range of criteria.
“In February of 2022, while making a routine flour order, we were informed that a bushel of organic wheat had increased in price from $15 to $28, a 78-percent increase for the mill, due to a limited harvest,” Thomas wrote.
“This effectively increased our price per 20-kg bag of baker’s flour from $33 to $46.”
On top of that, Thomas said, transportation costs were rising by April, in part as a result of increased fuel costs spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The shipping price for 4,000 lb of flour increased from $1,295.10 to $1,584.65. The freight charge increased by $75, while the fuel surcharge increased by approximately $200,” Thomas wrote.
“The point of this post is not to announce that our bread prices will also be increasing right away, that will take a lot more work to determine. As we know first-hand, we can only price a loaf of bread so high. The point of this post is to show that the costs of goods and services are increasing across the board.”
Bush Order said other factors in pricing include the cost of labour, utilities, rent, packaging, equipment maintenance and administration.
“To help us navigate these times, we are currently working with an accounting consultant who we hope will help us find a clear path forward by early fall,” Thomas concluded.
The consumer price index tracks the price ultimately paid by Yellowknife customers for goods and services, rather than the wholesale prices paid by firms to suppliers behind the scenes.
In Yellowknife, the NWT Bureau of Statistics said fuel costs were the main contributor to the annual jump in the consumer price index. Gas prices rose 45 percent year-on-year, while fuel oil and other fuels increased 64 percent.
Food prices rose almost 10 percent, around a percentage point higher than the Canada-wide average of 8.8 percent. In Whitehorse, by contrast, the year-on-year jump in food costs was much lower, at 5.6 percent.