From gas to groceries, Churchill members pay more for essentials
Nov 06, 2012
What would you say is a fair price for a litre of gasoline in Manitoba? $0.75, $1.00, $1.15? Most Manitoba motorists long for the days (eight years ago) when gas was well below a dollar per litre at the pumps.
But drivers in Churchill, MB would be more than happy to pay what the average Manitoban does (currently $1.17 on a litre of regular) since the price of gasoline at the town’s only gas station soared two weeks ago by 21 cents to $2.17 per litre.
What makes the sudden pump jump even more puzzling is that it comes at a time when fuel prices have been relatively stable across the country. But that’s life in Manitoba’s most northern community – a place where retail competition is few and far between and a train or plane are pretty much your only options to get in or out of town.
MGEU member and Local 134 Bargaining Committee representative, Shirley Stevens, is a Northern Patient Transportation Clerk at the Churchill Health Centre and has lived in the community for the past 13 years. Prices on everyday essentials - such as milk, meat, veggies. laundry soap and canned goods - at her local Northern store can be two to four times higher than the price of the same item in a southern Manitoba grocery store.
Even with a northern allowance to compensate workers for the higher prices, Stevens still feels unable to keep up with the cost of living in a remote community. “When I started at the Health Centre, I felt like I was living from paycheck to paycheck. Eleven years later, I still feel the same way.”
Stevens and her fellow MGEU members from Local 134 are set to return to the bargaining table later this month with their employer, the Churchill Regional Health Authority. Part of what members and their bargaining representatives will be looking for are better ways to address the ever-expanding costs for those working in the community.
|Churchill Northern Prices||Winnipeg Safeway Prices|
|Premium Plus Crackers (450 g)||$4.29||$3.29|
|Campbells Soup (10oz)||$1.79||$0.99|
|Alymer canned tomatoes (540ml)||$3.19||$1.44|
|Bananas (1 kg)||$3.79||$1.94|
|Green Onion (each)||$2.09||$0.69|
|Romaine Lettuce (per head)||$4.59||$1.49|
|Carrots (small bag)||$6.59||$1.59|
|Eggs (1 doz.)||$5.75||$2.99|
|Nestle Good Start Baby Formula (730g)||$36.69||$28.99|
A quick comparison between groceries in Churchill vs. Winnipeg (price comparison was done in October 2012 at the Northern store in Churchill and the Osborne Street Safeway in Winnipeg)