Canada’s annual inflation rate jumped to 3.3 per cent in March, pushing inflation to its highest level since the recession began in September 2008, according to a new StatsCan report. Food and fuel prices are the main contributors to this steep increase. In March, gas prices rose by 18.9 per cent, fuel oil and other fuels went up by 31.3 per cent, while electricity prices increased by 4.3 per cent. Food costs rose by 3.3 per cent, marking the largest year-over-year increase since August 2009. Vegetable prices skyrocketed by 18.6 per cent, while meat rose by 5 per cent. Higher energy costs are a blessing and a curse for Canadians, said TD Bank Financial Group economist Craig Alexander, who said that while gas prices are impacting Canadians’ wallets, “higher oil prices are good for Canada,” because it is a net oil-exporting country. The Bank of Canada says that while fuel costs would boost inflation to 3 per cent by June, energy prices will be stabilizing in 2012, making the increase temporary.