Consumer Price Index

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

Related subjects

May 2011 (Previous release)

Consumer prices rose 3.7% in the 12 months to May, the largest increase since March 2003. This follows a 3.3% increase posted in April. The increase in May was primarily a result of higher gasoline prices.

The 12-month change in the CPI and the CPI excluding gasoline

Energy prices advanced 16.6% during the 12 months to May, following a 17.1% increase in April. Gasoline prices rose 29.5%, the largest increase since September 2005 when prices rose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The latest year-over-year increase follows a 26.4% gain in April, and leaves the gasoline index just below the peak level reached in July 2008. Prices were also higher for fuel oil (+28.2%) and electricity (+0.9%), while they declined 5.3% for natural gas.

Excluding gasoline, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.4% in the 12 months to May, following a 2.2% rise in April.

Note to readers

As announced in The Daily of May 4, 2011, Statistics Canada has updated the weights in the basket of goods and services used in the calculation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

These weights, as with previous updates, are based on information derived primarily from Statistics Canada's Survey of Household Spending. The new weighting pattern is based on 2009 consumer expenditures and replaces the 2005 weighting pattern. The CPI's time base remains 2002=100.

For more information, refer to survey 2301, "Documentation" at the end of this release.

The special aggregate "Energy" includes electricity; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; and fuel, parts and supplies for recreational vehicles.

The Bank of Canada's core index excludes eight of the Consumer Price Index's most volatile components (fruit, fruit preparations and nuts; vegetables and vegetable preparations; mortgage interest cost; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; inter-city transportation; and tobacco products and smokers' supplies) as well as the effects of changes in indirect taxes on the remaining components.

 Gasoline index just below peak of July 2008

Prices for food purchased from stores rose 4.2% in the 12 months to May, following a 3.7% gain in April. Prices increased for many staples, such as meat, bread and fresh milk. Prices for food purchased from restaurants increased 3.2%, following a 2.8% rise in April.

Seasonally adjusted monthly CPI

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.2% from April to May, after increasing 0.3% the month before.

The food index rose 0.5% while the household operations, furnishings and equipment index increased 0.6%. The transportation index, which includes gasoline, advanced 0.2% following a 1.0% rise in April.

 Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index

The clothing and footwear index posted a monthly gain of 2.0%, after decreasing 1.1% in April. The alcoholic beverages and tobacco products index rose 0.5% in May.

12-month change: Transportation posts largest increase

On a year-over-year basis, prices increased at a faster rate in May than in April in all major components except shelter.

 Prices increase at a faster rate in seven of eight major components

The cost of transportation increased 9.1% in the 12 months to May, the largest year-over-year gain since September 2005. The increase in May followed an 8.3% gain in April. In addition to paying more for gasoline, consumers paid 5.0% more in passenger vehicle insurance premiums; prices for air transportation and the purchase of passenger vehicles also advanced.

Food prices rose 3.9% in the 12 months to May, after increasing 3.3% in April. Increases among food items were widespread. The cost of meat rose 5.4%, as prices increased for beef, pork and chicken. Consumers paid more for both bakery and dairy products, including bread (+10.6%), fresh milk (+4.3%) and cheese (+3.2%). Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables also rose.

Shelter costs rose 1.8% in the 12 months to May, following a 2.3% increase in April. In addition to higher prices for fuel oil and electricity, homeowners' replacement cost increased 2.1%. However, mortgage interest cost, which measures the change in the interest portion of payments on outstanding mortgage debt, decreased 1.9%. Natural gas prices also fell.

Prices for recreation, education and reading went up 2.4% in May. Consumers paid more for the use of recreational facilities and services. However, prices for video equipment fell.

Clothing and footwear prices rose 1.1% following a 1.1% decline in April. Consumers paid more for men's clothing and children's clothing.

Provinces: Gasoline still a factor in every province

Consumer prices increased at a faster rate in May compared with April in eight provinces, largely the result of higher prices at the pump. Ontario recorded the largest increase in gasoline prices (+35.6%) and British Columbia the smallest (+20.7%).

Nova Scotia had the fastest year-over-year increase in consumer prices for the fifth consecutive month (+4.6%).

Prices increase at a faster rate in eight provinces, year over year

In Ontario, consumer prices went up 4.0% in the 12 months to May, after rising 3.6% in April. In addition to higher gasoline prices, food purchased from stores increased 5.4%. Passenger vehicle insurance premiums and homeowner's replacement cost also increased. Prices for natural gas fell.

In Quebec, consumer prices increased 3.5% following a 3.2% gain in April. Gasoline prices rose 27.0%. Consumers in Quebec also paid more for fuel oil, food purchased from restaurants, meat and women's clothing.

Prices in British Columbia went up 3.1% in the 12 months to May, following a 2.7% increase in April. In addition to paying more for gasoline, consumers in the province paid more for food purchased from restaurants as well as for homeowners' home and mortgage insurance.

In Alberta, prices advanced 2.8% in May. Alberta drivers paid 29.2% more for gasoline. Prices for natural gas, which tend to be volatile in the province, rose 17.4%. The cost of homeowners' home and mortgage insurance also went up. Consumers in the province paid 8.9% more for bakery products in May.

Bank of Canada's core index

The Bank of Canada's core index advanced 1.8% in the 12 months to May, following a 1.6% gain in April.

The seasonally adjusted monthly core index increased 0.2% in May, after rising 0.3% in April.

For a more detailed analysis, consult the publication The Consumer Price Index.

Available on CANSIM: tables 326-0009, 326-0012, 326-0015 and 326-0020 to 326-0022.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2301.

More information about the concepts and use of the CPI are also available online in Your Guide to the Consumer Price Index (62-557-X, free) from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

The May 2011 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 90, no. 5 (62-001-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications. A more detailed analysis of the CPI is available in this publication.

The Consumer Price Index for June will be released on July 22.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the Dissemination Unit (toll-free 1-866-230-2248; 613-951-9606; fax: 613-951-2848; cpd-info-dpc@statcan.gc.ca), Consumer Prices Division.