Students find creative ways to cope with inflation

Free meals, groceries from charities, increased work hours provide some relief

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By Shashi Goel

More Langara College students struggling with inflation are turning to campus and community services for food.

According to Statistics Canada, prices for groceries have risen at the fastest pace since 1981. Compared to last year, Canadians have been paying 6.5 per cent more for meat, seven per cent more for dairy products, 15.4 per cent more for bakery products, and 13.2 per cent more for fresh fruit.

Higher food prices increases number of students who need help

In the current academic year, Langara College has 18,761 students. Of those, approximately 400 registered students are being helped with groceries on a first-come, first-served basis through the Community Cupboard.

“Earlier, less students were coming for groceries, but now the student number has also increased, so the demand has increased,” said Arshpreet Kaur, an employee at Community Cupboard.

When dealing with inflation, “students try to save as much as they can, and they can avoid buying many things,” said Abhilav Gulati, a Community Cupboard employee.

Khalsa Darbar Gurdwara, a Sikh temple in South Vancouver which offers free meals to anyone every day from morning till evening, is noticing more students at the food service this year.

“This year, we see more students coming, and we are trying to help them as much as possible,” said Sukhwant Singh, the manager at Gurdwara.

A decrease of work restrictions help international students

On Oct. 7, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser announced a new measure aimed to help with the labour shortage by removing the off-campus 20-hour work limit for international students from Nov. 15, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2023. Fraser also said that more than 500,000 international students already in the country would be eligible to work more hours.

Students have different opinions about the rule change. Tania Kaushal, an international student at Langara College, said despite the increase in allowable work hours, students should focus on their studies rather than working more.

“There are two sides of the coin,” she said, adding that some students will overwork “for the sake of earning money” and “do not care about future careers. So, they will be working more hours.”

Bryan Breguet, the chair of the department of economics at Langara College, said inflation is at the highest level of all time.

“I see this as mostly just freedom” said Breguet. “Why would we tell students how many hours they can work, that’s kind of weird to me, but that’s more like my libertarian side showing up. I think for them overall I would see it as a win.”

VIDEO: Langara students talk about how they are fighting food inflation

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