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Consumer Price Index, February 2015

Released: 2015-03-20

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.0% in the 12 months to February, matching the increase in January.

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

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

Lower gasoline prices continued to be the largest downward contributor to the CPI on a year-over-year basis in February, posting a 21.8% decline. However, February's decline was smaller than the 26.9% year-over-year decrease observed in January.

Excluding gasoline, the CPI increased 2.2% on a year-over-year basis in February, following a 2.4% rise the previous month.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Gasoline prices increase on a monthly basis in February - Description and data table
Gasoline prices increase on a monthly basis in February

Chart 2: Gasoline prices increase on a monthly basis in February - Description and data table

On a non-seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the gasoline price index rose 9.4% in February, following seven consecutive declines. This increase was the largest in almost eight years. Despite the monthly gain in February, gasoline prices were 27.7% below their June 2014 peak.

12-month change in the major components

Prices rose in seven of the eight major components in the 12 months to February. Higher prices for food led the rise in the CPI, followed by increased shelter costs. The transportation index, which includes gasoline, declined on a year-over-year basis for the fourth consecutive month.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Prices rise in seven of eight major components - Description and data table
Prices rise in seven of eight major components

Chart 3: Prices rise in seven of eight major components - Description and data table

Food prices advanced 3.9% in the 12 months to February. Prices for food purchased from stores were up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis in February, after rising 5.4% the previous month. Price gains for meat (+12.4%), fresh vegetables (+8.4%) and fresh fruit (+3.5%) contributed the most to the February increase, although these gains were smaller than in January. Prices for food purchased from restaurants rose 2.8% year over year in February.

The shelter index rose 1.8% on a year-over-year basis in February. Natural gas prices increased 10.8% in the 12 months to February, while the cost of homeowners' home and mortgage insurance rose 8.6%. Consumers also paid 3.8% more for electricity. In contrast, prices for fuel oil declined 23.4% in February compared with the same month a year earlier.

Transportation costs fell 5.0% in the 12 months to February, following a 5.3% decrease the previous month. In addition to paying lower prices for gasoline on a year-over-year basis in February, consumers paid 1.0% less for the purchase of passenger vehicles. February marked the first year-over-year decrease in the purchase of passenger vehicles index since May 2013.

12-month change in the provinces

Consumer prices rose in six provinces in the 12 months to February, with Ontario posting the largest increase. For the second consecutive month, consumer prices decreased in all four Atlantic provinces on a year-over-year basis.

In all provinces, gasoline prices recorded smaller year-over-year declines in February than in January.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Consumer prices decline in the Atlantic provinces - Description and data table
Consumer prices decline in the Atlantic provinces

Chart 4: Consumer prices decline in the Atlantic provinces - Description and data table

Ontario's CPI advanced 1.3% in February compared with the same month in 2014. Among the provinces, Ontario posted the largest year-over-year increases in the indexes for natural gas (+25.7%) and for homeowners' home and mortgage insurance (+15.8%). In addition, homeowners' replacement cost rose more in Ontario than at the national level.

Consumer prices fell in all four Atlantic provinces in the 12 months to February. The largest decline was in Prince Edward Island (-1.5%), while the smallest was in Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.1%). In addition to lower prices for gasoline, year-over-year declines in the cost of fuel oil were a notable factor in the Atlantic provinces. Fuel oil is a key source of energy for heating in these provinces and carries a larger basket weight than at the national level.

In Quebec, consumer prices increased 1.1% on a year-over-year basis in February, after rising 0.7% in January. Prices for clothing in the province increased 4.5% in the 12 months to February, following a 1.8% decrease the previous month.

Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index increases

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.2% in February, following three consecutive declines.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index - Description and data table
Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index

Chart 5: Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index - Description and data table

Of the eight major components, four increased and two declined on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis in February. The seasonally adjusted indexes for shelter and for health and personal care posted no change for the month.

The seasonally adjusted transportation index rose 0.6% in February, following a 2.3% decrease in January. Before seasonal adjustment, the transportation index rose 1.6% in February.

Monthly increases were also observed in February in the seasonally adjusted indexes for recreation, education and reading (+0.6%), household operations, furnishings and equipment (+0.3%) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+0.3%). Conversely, the seasonally adjusted indexes for food and for clothing and footwear both declined 0.1%.

Bank of Canada's core index

The Bank of Canada's core index increased 2.1% in the 12 months to February, after rising 2.2% in January.

The seasonally adjusted core index rose 0.1% on a monthly basis in February, following a 0.2% increase in January.



  Note to readers

A seasonally adjusted series is one from which seasonal movements have been eliminated. Users employing Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for indexation purposes are advised to use the unadjusted indexes. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The Bank of Canada's core index excludes eight of the CPI'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.

For a more detailed report, consult the publication The Consumer Price Index. The February 2015 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 94, no. 2 (Catalogue number62-001-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

More information about 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).

A video providing an overview of the CPI is available on Statistics Canada's YouTube channel.

The CPI for March will be released on April 17.

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 (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).

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