Canada's Consumer Price Index in March up 1.4% month-over-month, up 6.7% annually compared to 5.7% in February; price pressure in housing market, supply constraints, geopolitical conflict affected energy, commodity, agriculture markets: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , April 20, 2022 (press release) –

In March, Canadian consumer prices increased 6.7% year over year, one percentage point higher than the gain in February (+5.7%). This was the largest increase since January 1991 (+6.9%).

Inflationary pressure remained widespread in March, as prices rose across all eight major components. Prices increased against the backdrop of sustained price pressure in Canadian housing markets, substantial supply constraints and geopolitical conflict, which has affected energy, commodity, and agriculture markets. Further, employment continued to strengthen in March, as the unemployment rate fell to a record low. In March, average hourly wages for employees rose 3.4% on a year-over-year basis.

Excluding gasoline, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 5.5% year over year in March, the fastest pace since the introduction of the all-items excluding gasoline special aggregate in 1999, following a 4.7% gain in February.

On a monthly basis, the CPI rose 1.4% in March, following a 1.0% gain in February. This was the largest increase since January 1991, when the goods and services tax was introduced. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.9% in March, matching the largest increase on record.

Chart 1: 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and CPI excluding gasoline

Chart 1: 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and CPI excluding gasoline

Chart 2: Prices rise in all major components

Chart 2: Prices rise in all major components

Higher prices for gasoline and fuel oil and other fuels
In March, gasoline prices rose 11.8% month over month, following a 6.9% increase in February. Global oil prices rose sharply in March because of supply uncertainty following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Higher crude oil prices pushed prices at the pump higher. Year over year, consumers paid 39.8% more for gasoline in March.

Month over month, prices for fuel oil and other fuels rose 19.9%, the second largest increase on record after February 2000. On a year-over-year basis, prices for fuel oil and other fuels rose 61.0% in March.

Chart 3: Prices for gasoline and fuel oil and other fuels increase

Chart 3: Prices for gasoline and fuel oil and other fuels increase

Prices for durable goods rise at a faster rate, led by passenger vehicles and furniture
In March, prices for durable goods increased 7.3% compared with the same month a year earlier, following a 4.8% gain in February. This was the largest increase since February 1982.

Prices for passenger vehicles rose 7.0% year over year, after increasing 4.7% in February. This movement is partly attributable to the higher availability of new 2022-model-year vehicles. An ongoing global shortage of semiconductors, a key input in vehicle assembly, continued to factor into higher prices.

Consumers paid higher prices to furnish their living spaces in March, as furniture prices rose 13.7% on a year-over-year basis. Supply chain issues and higher input and shipping prices contributed to the increase.

Prices for groceries continue to increase
Shoppers paid 8.7% more for food purchased from stores on a year-over-year basis in March, up from a 7.4% increase in February. This is the largest yearly increase since March 2009. Increases in input prices and transportation costs continued to put upward pressure on grocery prices.

Prices for dairy products and eggs rose 8.5% year over year in March, following a 6.9% increase in February. This is the largest yearly increase since February 1983. Price growth for butter (+16.0%), cheese (+10.4%) and fresh milk (+7.7%) contributed to the gain. The Canadian Dairy Commission implemented changes in February 2022, which put upward pressure on dairy products and butter prices.

Prices for pasta products were up 17.8% on a year-over-year basis in March, the largest increase since January 2009. Similarly, breakfast cereal and other cereal products (excluding baby food) increased 12.3% year over year, the fastest pace of price growth since June 1990. The increases occurred as prices for wheat futures reached a 14-year high in the context of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, two major wheat exporters. Prices for fertilizer, a key input in wheat production, were elevated prior to the conflict in Eastern Europe, due, in part, to higher energy prices.

Chart 4: Prices for food purchased from stores and restaurants rise

Chart 4: Prices for food purchased from stores and restaurants rise

Canadians pay more for dining out, hotel rooms, and flights
In March, prices for services rose 4.3% on a year-over-year basis, up from a 3.8% increase in February, as public health measures across Canada continued to ease. Higher prices for high-contact services contributed to the increase.

Canadians paid more to dine out, as prices for food purchased from restaurants (+5.4%) rose at a faster pace year over year in March than in February (+4.7%).

Prices for traveller accommodation rose 24.4% in March compared with the same month a year earlier amid higher demand for travel, especially during the March break.

Month over month, traveller accommodation prices increased 3.7%, the fastest March increase on record, as Canadians attended in-person sporting events, concerts, and conventions in major cities.

Air transportation prices rose 8.3% month over month in March. Strong demand for domestic travel and trips to the United States during the March break contributed to higher prices this month.

Explore the Consumer Price Index tools that can help you make informed financial decisions
Check out the Personal Inflation Calculator! This interactive calculator allows you to enter dollar amounts in the common expense categories to produce a personalized inflation rate, which you can compare to the official measure of inflation for the average Canadian household—the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Visit the Consumer Price Index portal to find all CPI data, publications, interactive tools, and announcements highlighting new products and upcoming changes to the CPI in one convenient location.

Consult the Consumer Price Index Data Visualization Tool to access current and historical CPI data in a customizable visual format.

Regional highlights
On a year-over-year basis, the CPI increased at a faster pace in March than in February in every province. Prices rose across a broad range of consumer goods and services in the provinces.

Price growth was most pronounced in Prince Edward Island (+8.9%), followed by New Brunswick (+7.4%), Manitoba (+7.4%) and Ontario (+7.0%). The gains in the two Atlantic provinces were led by fuel oil and other fuels, used more commonly in the region for home heating, as well as gasoline. The gains in Manitoba and Ontario were led by gasoline.

Chart 5: The Consumer Price Index rises at a faster pace in all provinces

Chart 5: The Consumer Price Index rises at a faster pace in all provinces

Passenger vehicle registration fees eliminated in Ontario
In March, the passenger vehicle registration fees index fell 100.0% year over year in Ontario, as the provincial government eliminated these fees.

Note to readers
COVID-19 and the Consumer Price Index
In March 2022, no special treatments for goods and services due to the COVID-19 pandemic were required.

Mortgage Interest Cost Index
With the release of the March 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI), a new data source for resale house prices, in addition to the New Housing Price Index, will be used in the calculation of the mortgage interest cost index (MICI). This change will improve the timeliness of resale housing prices in the MICI, as well as the other owned accommodation expenses index, which includes commissions on the sale of real estate.

Expansion of monthly average retail prices
Beginning May 4, 2022, national average retail prices will be available in the Monthly Average Retail Prices for Selected Products table (18-10-0245-01). The table will include an expanded list of products and an enhanced methodology, resulting in some revisions. All series will contain data from January 2017 onward.

Used vehicle prices
The Canadian CPI accounts for the sale of used vehicles by including a weight for used vehicles in the index for the purchase of passenger vehicles. However, price changes for new cars are used as a proxy for used cars to ensure price change for this product is still covered to the best extent possible. Work is under way to include the price of used cars and trucks in the purchase of passenger vehicles index. An analytical paper will be published in the Prices Analytical Series on May 18.

Consumer Price Index basket update in June 2022
The CPI is based on a fixed basket of goods and services designed according to international standards and methods. On June 15, 2022, updated basket weights for the goods and services used in the calculation of the CPI will be made available in table 18-10-0007-01. The new basket weight reference period will be 2021, based on the most recent national household final consumption expenditure data. Alternative data for 2021 will be used to account for pandemic-related shifts at more detailed levels of geography and within the various CPI components. The methods and data sources used will be similar to the last basket update in July 2021.

One week later, on June 22, the May 2022 CPI will be released, based on the updated basket weights.

For general information on basket updates, consult The Canadian Consumer Price Index Reference Paper, chapter 8, "Weights and basket updates."

For the latest analysis of evolving consumer expenditure patterns during the pandemic recovery, see the Adjusted price index, which has provided a complementary measure of consumer price inflation based on a more timely set of national weights from alternative sources of expenditure data, such as those from the Bank of Canada.

Going forward, and to ensure an even greater degree of relevance, Statistics Canada will move towards annual basket updates based on the most recent household expenditure data.

Real-time data tables
Real-time data table 18-10-0259-01 will be updated on May 2. For more information, consult the document "Real-time data tables."

Next release
The Adjusted price index for January 2022 to March 2022 will be released on May 9.

The Consumer Price Index for April will be released on May 18.

Products
The "Consumer Price Index Data Visualization Tool" is available on the Statistics Canada website.

More information on the concepts and use of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is available in The Canadian Consumer Price Index Reference Paper (Catalogue number62-553-X).

For information on the history of the CPI in Canada, consult the publication Exploring the First Century of Canada's Consumer Price Index (Catalogue number62-604-X).

Two videos, "An Overview of Canada's Consumer Price Index (CPI)" and "The Consumer Price Index and Your Experience of Price Change," are available on Statistics Canada's YouTube channel.

Contact information
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

Industry Intelligence Editor's Note: This press release omits select charts and/or marketing language for editorial clarity. Click here to view the full report.

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