Increasing costs of grocery delivery in Prince Rupert could have a significant impact on seniors and others who are home-bound at a time in the winter when seniors are less likely to go outside.
Prince Rupert Seniors Centre has a notice displayed informing of local delivery fees for groceries and the Northern View has received verbal concerns from seniors about the impact of the delivery charges.
“Currently, 45 per cent of seniors in B.C. are living on less than minimum wage and 25 per cent of seniors are living on less than $21,000 a year,” Isobel Mackenzie, B.C. Seniors Advocate stated following the release of a September report about the financial struggles seniors are facing.
“These are the lowest incomes we find by a large margin and it speaks to the significance of the financial hardship seniors are experiencing.”
Save-On-Foods started charging $9.95 for all grocery orders in August, a spokesperson for the store stated in an email to The Northern View. Save-on-Food stated the only exception is for orders delivered between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., which cost $14.95.
Safeway started charging seniors for grocery delivery earlier this year for the service that was previously free.
“This is just another impact on seniors and home-bound people who may be living on a fixed income and have been relying on the free delivery services,” Barry Cunningham, president of the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre Association, said.
“It seems like these large corporations are making enough in profits that they could provide free delivery services to people who are home-bound,” he said.
Before the Save-on-Food change in August the store had an “informal delivery service with a variable fee structure.”
“These fees were introduced in August and our customers have been loving this service,” the Save-On-Food representative stated.
Safeway manager Ranjit Gill, said that Speedy, the private company delivering for Safeway, increased their prices due to things like rising fuel costs, which were passed on to the grocery store chain.
He said he could not comment on the price of delivery, since it depends on where you live and what you are buying. He added that Safeway still offers free delivery to residents who are 60 years and older on the first Tuesday of every month.
“During the winter seniors are vulnerable. They can’t get out, they don’t drive. This is affecting a susceptible part of the population,” Cunnigham said.
Similar to Safeway, Henry’s B-Y Market uses an outside company for their grocery deliveries, SPYCE, whose delivery prices depend on where you live. When entering an assortment of addresses into the delivery form, the price ranged from $3.99 to $5.99.
Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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