During the COVID-19 pandemic many residents across Ontario have lost jobs and sources of income.
These residents have been left looking for ways to save money, while also continuing to pay their bills.
So, why then, is the provincial government raising electricity rates?
The province has announced residents will see an increase to their electricity bill of about $2.24 (or 1.97 per cent) for a customer using 700 kWh per month. The rates will increase on Nov. 1.
For a government which has spent the last several months making grand statements that it will protect the people of Ontario during the pandemic, both financially and physically, this is counterproductive.
While $2.24 is crumbs to some, like the increases to regional taxes, this adds up for those who are currently out of work.
Many of those who are unemployed due to the pandemic are currently surviving with the help of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). But, for many, this is less income than they had before, making it an exact science while they pay their bills.
This increase is already on top of the increase Durham residents will be seeing to their regional taxes, and it’s an unwelcome sight for them.
Many households are already paying well over $100 every month for electricity during a period they can’t necessarily afford to.
The country as a whole also had the highest unemployment rate in the G7 in August at 10.2 per cent.
While this number is down from May’s 13.7 per cent, it’s still far too high, and now is not the time to be increasing electricity bills.
The provincial government is breaking its promise to continue caring for residents’ needs during the pandemic with this announcement, even if it’s only $2.24 per month.
The province has a responsibility to take care of its residents and their financial needs during the pandemic, and this doesn’t help.