Consumer Price Index, February 2022
In February, Canadian consumer prices increased 5.7% year over year, up from a 5.1% gain in January. This was the largest gain since August 1991 (+6.0%). February marked the second consecutive month where headline inflation exceeded 5%.
Price increases were broad-based in February, pinching the pocketbooks of Canadians. Consumers paid higher prices for gasoline and groceries in February 2022 compared with the same month a year earlier. Shelter costs continued to trend higher, rising at the fastest year-over-year pace since August 1983.
Excluding gasoline, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 4.7% year over year in February, surpassing the gain in January (+4.3%) when the index increased at the fastest pace since its introduction in 1999.
On a monthly basis, the CPI rose 1.0% in February, the largest increase since February 2013, following a 0.9% increase in January. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.6%.
Higher prices for gasoline amid geopolitical conflict
Canadian motorists paid 32.3% more at the pump compared with February 2021.
Monthly gasoline prices increased 6.9% amid geopolitical conflict in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, as uncertainty surrounding global oil supply put upward pressure on prices.
Similarly, prices for fuel oil and other fuels increased 8.5% month over month following higher international energy prices.
Spotlight on dairy prices
Price change for staple foods, like dairy products, has an impact on inflation, which affects some Canadians more than others, especially those for whom food costs represent a larger proportion of disposable income.
In Canada, dairy, poultry and eggs are supply-managed and the Canadian system is supported by three main pillars to ensure income stability for domestic farmers: production control, import control and pricing mechanisms. Production control refers to limiting production through quotas, and therefore limiting supply of a product to ensure price stability. Import control refers to tariffs placed on foreign goods, making these goods comparatively expensive for Canadians. Pricing mechanisms refer to guaranteed minimum prices for farmers selling supply-managed products, called "farm gate prices," when farmers sell to processors. Each of the three pillars has an effect on the prices Canadians ultimately pay for dairy, poultry and eggs at grocery stores.
After reviewing farm gate milk prices as well as various other costs used to administer the supply management system, the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) implemented several changes on February 1, 2022. The farm gate milk price increased $0.06 per litre (+8.4%), the largest increase to date, in order to partially offset the increased costs of production associated with COVID-19 (particularly animal feed, energy and fertilizer costs). Additionally, the support price for butter, the price at which the CDC buys and sells butter within the framework of its various programs, rose from $8.7149 to $9.7923 per kg, a 12.4% increase.
Following the changes by the CDC, many processors and retailers passed on dairy product price increases to consumers. In the Consumer Price Index (CPI), dairy products account for 1.45% of the CPI basket weight. In February, prices for dairy products rose 3.7% month over month. While fresh milk prices (+5.8%) rose at the fastest month-over-month pace since April 1994, price increases were seen across all dairy products in February, most notably in the indexes for cheese (+3.0%) and other dairy products (+4.9%) and, to a lesser extent, in butter (+0.8%) and ice cream and related products (+0.8%).
Grocery prices continue to climb in February
Prices for food purchased from stores (+7.4%) rose at a faster year-over-year pace in February than in January (+6.5%). This is the largest yearly increase since May 2009. Higher input prices and heightened transportation costs continued to contribute inflationary pressure in February.
Price growth for meat (+11.7%), including fresh or frozen beef (+16.8%) and chicken (+10.4%), was higher year over year in February than in January (+10.1%).
On a year-over-year basis, prices for dairy products and eggs were up 6.9%, following a 4.5% gain in January, as the farm gate milk prices producers receive increased on February 1, 2022 to partially offset higher production costs.
In contrast, price growth for bread, rolls, and buns (+3.7%) slowed year over year in February compared with January (+7.5%).
Shelter costs rise at fastest pace since 1983
In February, shelter costs rose 6.6% year over year, the fastest pace since August 1983. Higher costs for both owned accommodation (+6.2%) and rented accommodation (+4.2%) contributed to the increase.
Homeowners' replacement cost (+13.2%), which is related to the price of new homes, and other owned accommodation expenses (+14.3%), which includes commissions on the sale of real estate, remained elevated year over year. In contrast, mortgage interest cost (-6.0%) moderated the shelter index on a year-over-year basis.
According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, improved economic and demographic conditions over the past year, including youth employment recovery and resumption of international migration to Canada, supported rental demand. This, in part, contributed to higher rent (+4.2%) prices year over year in February.
Higher prices for household appliances and non-electric kitchen utensils
Consumers paid higher prices for household appliances (+7.8%), including cooking appliances (+9.4%), refrigerators and freezers (+15.6%) and laundry and dishwashing appliances (+9.1%), compared with February 2021.
In addition, prices for non-electric kitchen utensils, tableware and cookware increased 10.4% on a year-over-year basis in February, following a gain of 7.5% in January.
Prices for telephone services fall less in February
Although prices for telephone services continued to trend lower year over year, prices fell to a lesser extent in February (-7.9%) compared with January (-11.9%).
The movement was mostly the result of a price decline in February 2021, when various cellular providers offered bonus data to customers at no additional charge, which no longer influences the 12-month price movement.
Upcoming Consumer Price Index basket update: Helping to shape Canada's post-pandemic economic recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an undeniable impact on the prices of consumer goods and services, and on the way Canadians spend their money. Capturing shifts in purchasing patterns is critical to helping government leaders and policy-makers make evidence-based decisions. As Canada continues to chart a path to economic recovery, Statistics Canada is updating its methods to ensure its core statistical programs, including the Consumer Price Index (CPI), are accurate, timely and of the highest quality.
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.
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 CPI.
Year over year, prices rose at a faster pace in February than in January in every province. Price increases across the provinces were broad-based.
Prices for child care drop in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador
In February, prices for child care and housekeeping services fell 32.8% month over month in Saskatchewan and 18.2% in Newfoundland and Labrador following the introduction of new child care grants.
Consumer Price Index, major components and special aggregates, Canada – Not seasonally adjusted
Consumer Price Index for the provinces and for Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit – Not seasonally adjusted
Consumer Price Index statistics, preferred measures of core inflation – Bank of Canada definitions, year-over-year percent change, Canada,
Note to readers
COVID-19 and the Consumer Price Index
Goods and services in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that were not available to consumers in February due to COVID-19 restrictions received special treatments, effectively removing their impact on the monthly CPI. The following sub-indexes were imputed from the monthly change in the all-items index: some components of spectator entertainment in some areas.
The details of the special treatments from April 2020 to March 2021 are provided in technical supplements available through the Prices Analytical Series. Details and other treatment information for April 2021 and onwards are available upon request.
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) table. At that time this table will also include an expanded list of products, based on enhanced data sources and methods. These new data series will begin with March 2022 data. This table uses scanner data (also known as transaction data) collected from Canadian retailers. Transaction data provide a comprehensive electronic record of the transactions made through a retailer's point-of-sale system, and contain relevant pricing information, such as product descriptions and quantities sold. The Monthly Average Retail Prices for Food and Other Selected Products (table 18-10-0002-01) table will no longer be published after March 16, 2022. Note that these tables are not directly comparable due to methodological differences, and do not contain all the same products and may contain different product definitions.
The CPI is continuously evolving to incorporate the most timely and accurate data sources and methods. With the release of the March CPI on April 20, new sources of administrative data will be introduced for the mortgage interest cost index. In the coming months, new sources of administrative data will be introduced for the cellular services price index.
Real-time data tables
The Consumer Price Index for March will be released on April 20.
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 (62-553-X).
For information on the history of the CPI in Canada, consult the publication Exploring the First Century of Canada's Consumer Price Index (62-604-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.
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; email@example.com) or Media Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org).