A professor at UNBC has issued the reasons behind some of the major retail price gaps between Canada and the United States.
Jalil Safaei says a number of factors within Canada result in higher prices for consumers.
“One is tax since we have higher taxes for things like tobacco, alcohol and fossil fuels and the other one which is a tax on imported goods is tariffs. Unfortunately, people assume since we have a trade agreement with the United Sates it doesn’t cost us anything which is not the case, at least in Northern BC we have an understanding of that.”
There is also not as much retail competition in Canada as there is in America which is why prices south of the border are generally cheaper.
Canada is currently 1/10 the size of the American market.
For example, a Hammershot 0.22 Caliber Hammer at Home Depot goes for $75.98 in Canada compared to just $34.55 ($25.98 in USD) at the same store.
That’s a gap of 220%.
However, a pair of Bauer Vapor X500 hockey skates are 25% cheaper in Canada compared to south of the border when making the same price comparison.
U.S. (Dick’s Sporting Goods) $265.96 ($199.99 in USD)
Canada(Sport Check) $199.99
Safaei adds changes to the exchange rate and performance of the loonie actually, has little to do with the difference in price.
“These price differentials are not new they have existed and will continue to and when there is a sudden change in the exchange rate all of a sudden people think what we are paying is quite different when really nothing has changed.”
However, two major things that affect our daily lives are much cheaper that often get overlooked according to Safaei. “Post-Secondary education and health care is cheaper in price than the United States so sometimes I wonder why people get annoyed over some products they are interested in and not look at the whole picture.”