Back-to-school sticker shock hits home for New Brunswick parents


Add school supplies to the list of items that have risen in price due to inflation.

And as another school year is about to begin, some parents are wondering how they will afford everything their children will need to get back to school.

In fact, 40% of parents and students in Atlantic Canada are worried about going into debt to pay school expenses this year, according to Stressed out by the bella report by Angus Reid.

The survey also revealed that 69% expect higher prices for school supplies/books due to supply chain issues.

The Fredericton Anti-Poverty Organization said it is doing what it can to supply families who cannot afford back-to-school items. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Christine Jewett, whose two daughters attend Canterbury Secondary School 34 miles south of Woodstock, said the cost of school supplies was definitely on the rise.

She was picking up the latest items from their school lists and first tried to buy the items online. But the site kept crashing and she was forced to shop in person at Staples in Fredericton on Friday.

What would have cost him about $150 online, cost him $220 in person.

« The cost is significantly higher for things like loose sheets and binders, and there seems to be less supply of things, so you almost have to buy what’s there. »

Donations down in some non-profit organizations

Some parents have turned to community groups for help, but even some of those organizations are running out of supplies this year.

Moncton Headstart runs an annual school supply program where they fill backpacks with all the essentials for the year, said Caroline Donelle, the group’s general manager.

But this year, they had to cut off requests early because donations were down 80%.

« So last year we got almost $11,000 in community donations and this year…we got $2,600. So a big drop, » he said. Donnelle.

Moncton Headstart has been collecting school supplies for those in need for many years. This year, donations have decreased by 80%. (Gilles Landry/Radio-Canada)

She thinks families and businesses are « stretched beyond what they’ve ever been before ».

She said they even ran out of backpacks much earlier than normal, so the last of the packages will be distributed in cloth bags.

Last year the group filled 841 backpacks and this year they filled 668.

Schools can help

Schools sometimes receive supplies directly that they can distribute to students who don’t have them, said Jennifer Read, communications director for the Anglophone West School District.

“Our schools continue to work with families in need to ensure they have the supplies they need to get off to a good start,” Read said.

The coordinator of the Anti-Poverty Organization of Fredericton said she is doing what she can to provide families with back-to-school items.

« But we’re not a reliable supplier of this material because we’re dependent on the ups and downs of donations, » Dan Weston said.

He said the need this year is worse than it has been in recent years.

Overhead signage for school supplies is visible above boxes containing binders, duotangs, and other items.
Parents shopping for items on back-to-school lists are shocked at the high cost of school supplies this year. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

« It’s been bad for a long time, » Weston said. « This year is worse because we have runaway inflation. »

Although Statistics Canada reported that the country the inflation rate saw its first drop in a year last monthmany prices, including for groceries, continue to rise.

shock sticker

Ricardo Obusan was out on Friday with a shopping list of items for his nephew, an international student.

He said he was surprised at how everything was.

« The bills are piling up, that’s for sure, » Obusan said.

In an effort to cut costs, he sought out generally cheaper store brands.

Eric Church, shopping for the latest items on his daughters’ back-to-school list, was also taken aback by the high price of things. Rummaging through a store bag, he identified two binders, dividers and tape.

These few items cost him $55.



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