New Brunswickers have to be content with an average cost-of-living index that compares favourably with other provinces. The most recent survey released by Statistics Canada shows that New Brunswick ranks tenth out of the ten provinces and territories when it comes to its comparative costs. The national average is 100, but New Brunswick falls in at 96.5 while Newfoundland and Labrador is the least affordable province at 45.9%. It’s surprising then that New Brunswick brands itself as “Canada’s most livable community.
“We have a fairly good cost of living, power costs have been going down, housing costs haven’t gone up tremendously,” said Sylvain Couturier, the province’s minister of local government.
According to Statistics Canada’s report released in September 2004, the average price of goods in New Brunswick is 2.1% lower than the national average; groceries run 3.8% higher while housing has climbed almost 9% higher than the national average. The only two categories that are lower than average are clothing and footwear and transportation costs. Housing prices in New Brunswick are currently below the peak they reached three years ago when they were still above 118 points on a scale where Ottawa was at 100 and Halifax was at 111.
All things considered, New Brunswick residents can live relatively comfortably. The highest price tag on an item in New Brunswick is $6.87 and the most expensive place to eat is at Capital City Grill Restaurant where a chicken sandwich costs $10.59 while one of the cheapest items to buy is a cup of coffee going for ten cents.
New Brunswickers are also very lucky when it comes to purchasing insurance as they only pay $11.54 per month for car insurance while Newfoundland and Labrador residents pay much more at $14.29 per month.
“We’re proud to be considered a low-cost travellers’ paradise,” said Peter Znotins, the president of the New Brunswick Hotel and Tourism Association. “Price competition between hotels nationwide has been fierce in recent years.”
The survey showed that New Brunswickers are still paying more for everything from electronics to insurance. Though the average price of consumer goods in New Brunswick is only 2.1% higher than average, prices for consumer electronics have risen 4.6%, clothing and footwear has climbed 5.2%, automotive and parts have gone up 1%, while furniture goes up 4% and health care costs are up 3%. The only category that is lower than on average is food with prices declining 1%.
In terms of food and drink, New Brunswick is as expensive as any other province with grocery prices 3.8% higher than average, yet surprisingly beer, wine and liquor are cheaper here than elsewhere in the country. A six-pack of Molson Canadian is only $2.50 while a glass of red wine costs $4.03 and a bottle of rum fetches $6.52 here compared to $6.83 in Ontario and $7.47 in Prince Edward Island.
New Brunswickers are also paying more for insurance than people elsewhere in the country: car insurance costs an average $12.46 a month compared to an average of $9.