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Grocery rebate doesn't go far enough to fight inflation: food policy expert

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In grocery store aisles across Quebec, food inflation is no longer an impression but a fact.

"I know it's more. I can see from everything that we buy is costing a lot more." a woman tells CTV News at Esposito in NDG.

Some relief is expected to be announced Tuesday when the federal government unveils its budget.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's proposed "grocery rebate" would provide a one-time tax credit to nearly 11 million lower-income Canadians.

The new measure would see eligible couples with two children receive a payment of up to $467, a senior would receive $225, while a single person would receive $234.

It's a relief, but not nearly enough to compensate for the rapid rise in food prices, explains Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy in the faculties of management and agriculture at Dalhousie University.

"For a family of four, the food bill will rise by about $1,050, so that's a very small portion for a family," he says.

Charlebois questions whether a cheque is the right way to fight inflation because giving people more money to spend creates more demand and drives up prices, he says.

"As soon as you have more money poured into the economy, you tend to create an inflationary environment which can actually lead to higher food prices."

Quebec's provincial government faced the same criticism last December when it handed out cheques between $400 and $600 to everyone to fight inflation.

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