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Tuesday, August 19, 1997
For release at 8:30 a.m.





Consumer Price Index

July 1997

Compared with July last year, consumers across Canada experienced an average price increase of 1.8% for the goods and services included in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket. This annual rise was identical to the increase noted in June.

Chart: Consumer Price Index compared with the same month a year earlier

Transportation charges have risen considerably over the past year, with significant price increases noted for auto insurance, air travel and new car purchases. The upward impact of new car prices in July was not as great as in the past few years. Many other price increases were noted, including food, utilities, education, alcohol, tobacco, rental accommodation and clothing. Lower mortgage interest charges continued to benefit consumers. Other items that cost less than last July included: computers, audio and video equipment, household appliances, furniture and tools.

CPI unchange between June and July

Overall, consumer prices did not change between June and July. Lower prices for new cars, gasoline, clothing, footwear and beer were offset by higher prices for air travel, traveller accommodation and food.

New vehicle prices are typically established with the introduction of new models in the fall of each year. These prices are then adjusted throughout the year. When the 1997 models were introduced last November, their prices were set 3.9% higher than those set for introducing the 1996 models. Several minor price reductions were observed in early 1997. In July, new vehicle prices dropped by 1.4% as manufacturers introduced or increased rebates on some models. This price reduction was one of the largest mid-year decreases this decade. As a result of the adjustments, last November's 3.9% annual rise was whittled down to 1.9% in July, the lowest 12-month increase in this series since 1992.

Gasoline prices fell by 2.5% in July after rising by 0.6% in May and 0.9% in June. Some portion of the July reduction in the retail price of gasoline can be explained by the behaviour of crude oil prices. The crude mineral oil index (computed as part of the Raw Materials Price Index) showed declines for five of the first six months of this year. In June, crude oil prices fell by 8.3%.

The clothing and footwear component fell by 1.0% as clothing, footwear and accessories all showed lower prices. Most of the latest price drop was seasonal in nature. In the latest month, the drop in the clothing index came from declines in women's wear and children's wear. A proportion of the overall decline was slowed by a rise in the prices of men's wear.

The prices of beer purchased from stores fell by 1.8% in July. Most of this came from a price war between two major manufacturers in Ontario.

Air fares advanced by 10.2% in July. While price increases normally occur in July with the higher summer demand for air travel, the increase this July was larger than normal.

Rates for traveller accommodation advanced by 6.3% as hotel and motel rates graduated to their peak summer levels. While July rates were 34.5% higher than in December and January, they were only fractionally higher than last summer.

Food prices went up by 0.5% in July following increases of 0.4% in each of the two previous months. A major part of the latest rise resulted from higher prices for fresh vegetables. Potatoes were particularly affected as low prices last year motivated U.S. producers to reduce their acreage this year. Shoppers also paid more for fresh fruit, ham and bacon, pork, and dairy products. The rise in food prices was moderated slightly by price declines for chicken.

Shelter charges did not change overall in July. Higher prices for piped gas were offset by lower mortgage interest charges.

Provincial highlights

Between July 1996 and July 1997, increases in the all-items indexes of the provinces ranged from a low of 0.9% in Prince Edward Island and British Columbia to a high of 2.5% in Newfoundland. Lower prices for food from stores was the major reason for the low rate in Prince Edward Island. In British Columbia, consumers paid much less than a year ago for gasoline and owned accommodation. At the same time, they saw no change in their auto insurance rates and a relatively small increase in tuition fees. In Newfoundland, the relatively large annual increase was associated with larger than average increases for gasoline, electricity, and fuel oil.

Between June and July, monthly changes in provincial CPIs ranged from declines of 0.1% in Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia to a 0.4% increase in Newfoundland. Larger-than-average decreases in the indexes for clothing and transportation were observed in each of the three provinces reporting declines in their CPIs. In Newfoundland, increases were noted in its indexes for transportation, clothing and household operations and furnishings, while declines were noted in each of these indexes at the national level.

Available on CANSIM: matrices 7440-7454, 7477 and 7478.

Available at 7 a.m. on the Internet at http://www.statcan.ca in "Latest news from Statistics Canada".

The July 1997 issue of the Consumer Price Index (62-001-XPB, $11/$103) is now available. See How to order publications.

The August 1997 Consumer Price Index will be released on September 19th, 1997.

For further information on this release, contact Paul-Roméo Danis (613-951-9606; fax: 613-951-2848; Internet: danipau@statcan.gc.ca), Prices Division.

Table: Consumer Price Index and major components
                               July 1997        June 1997        July 1996    

All-items                          138.0            138.0            135.6    
Food                               131.0            130.4            128.3    
Shelter                            134.5            134.5            134.1    
Household operations   
  and furnishings                  125.4            125.5            124.5    
Clothing and footwear              131.4            132.7            129.5    
Transportation                     147.2            148.0            142.4    
Health and personal    
  care                             139.3            139.6            136.6    
Recreation, education  
  and reading                      152.3            151.4            149.2    
Alcoholic beverages    
  and tobacco products             150.6            151.3            146.3    
Goods                              130.5            131.0            128.5    
Services                           147.1            146.6            144.4    
All-items excluding    
  food and energy                  140.3            140.4            138.2    
Energy                             132.8            133.9            129.7    
Purchasing power of    
  the consumer dollar  
  expressed in cents,  
  compared with 1986                72.5             72.5             73.7    
All-items (1981=100)               182.7                                      


                            June 1997 to     July 1996 to    
                               July 1997        July 1997    

                                      % change               
All-items                            0.0              1.8    
Food                                 0.5              2.1    
Shelter                              0.0              0.3    
Household operations       
  and furnishings                   -0.1              0.7    
Clothing and footwear               -1.0              1.5    
Transportation                      -0.5              3.4    
Health and personal        
  care                              -0.2              2.0    
Recreation, education      
  and reading                        0.6              2.1    
Alcoholic beverages        
  and tobacco products              -0.5              2.9    
Goods                               -0.4              1.6    
Services                             0.3              1.9    
All-items excluding        
  food and energy                   -0.1              1.5    
Energy                              -0.8              2.4    
Purchasing power of        
  the consumer dollar      
  expressed in cents,      
  compared with 1986                                         
All-items (1981=100)                                         


Table: Consumer Price Index by province, Whitehorse and Yellowknife,
                               July 1997        June 1997        July 1996    

Newfoundland                       132.6            132.1            129.4    
Prince Edward Island               135.3            135.0            134.1    
Nova Scotia                        135.2            135.0            132.3    
New Brunswick                      133.3            133.0            130.9    
Quebec                             135.2            135.4            133.2    
Ontario                            139.3            139.3            136.5    
Manitoba                           141.6            141.8            138.9    
Saskatchewan                       140.3            140.0            138.5    
Alberta                            138.6            138.5            136.1    
British Columbia                   139.7            139.9            138.5    
Whitehorse                         136.4            136.2            133.2    
Yellowknife                        136.4            135.3            135.5    


                            June 1997 to     July 1996 to    
                               July 1997        July 1997    

                                      % change               
Newfoundland                         0.4              2.5    
Prince Edward Island                 0.2              0.9    
Nova Scotia                          0.1              2.2    
New Brunswick                        0.2              1.8    
Quebec                              -0.1              1.5    
Ontario                              0.0              2.1    
Manitoba                            -0.1              1.9    
Saskatchewan                         0.2              1.3    
Alberta                              0.1              1.8    
British Columbia                    -0.1              0.9    
Whitehorse                           0.1              2.4    
Yellowknife                          0.8              0.7    


Who cares? Caregiving in the 1990s


Canadians willingly step in to provide care to those suffering from long-term health problems or physical limitations - notwithstanding the demands and the considerable consequences experienced by some caregivers.

According to new data from the 1996 General Social Survey (GSS), about 2.8 million adult men and women provided some sort of care in 1996 to people with long-term health problems. This help included everything from preparing meals and shopping for groceries to performing personal care.

But the data also showed that this help had a substantial impact on the caregivers themselves. About half cited repercussions at their paid job because of their caregiving duties. Others reported a financial toll on themselves, while still others said their own health had suffered, if only through a lack of sleep.

The caregivers

More than one in eight Canadians over the age of 15, or about 2.8 million individuals, provided help to someone with a long-term health or physical limitation in 1996.

A significant proportion of men participated in caregiving even though women outnumbered them by about three to two. Approximately 14% of all women over the age of 15 were caregivers (just over 1.6 million), compared with 10% of all adult men (just over 1.1 million).

The largest proportion of caregivers were aged 45 to 64. About 19% of women in this age group reported helping someone, compared with 11% of men. This finding is not surprising, as many of these caregivers were helping their elderly parents with various tasks. A considerable number of caregivers were also seniors looking after their spouses, friends and neighbours.

Note to readers

Today, Statistics Canada releases new data from the 1996 General Social Survey (GSS) on social support (Cycle 11). The survey provides the first look at the help Canadians gave to people with long-term health problems or physical limitations. This is the first time Statistics Canada has conducted a large-scale household survey on social support. The survey, which also collected information on tobacco use, was sponsored by Health Canada.

The target population was all persons aged 15 and over, excluding residents of the Yukon and Northwest Territories and full-time residents of institutions. Approximately 13,000 respondents were interviewed between February and December 1996, with a response rate of 85.3%.

The 1996 GSS focused on help given or received during temporary difficult times or due to long-term health or physical limitations. The survey's objectives included: determining the nature of help received and provided; understanding the dynamics between an individual's social network and help received and provided; and identifying unmet needs and the reasons for the needs.

Long-term health problems refers to any condition that lasted, or was expected to last, more than six months. Help was defined as help given, because of long-term health problems, with one or more of the following activities: childcare; meal preparation; house cleaning; household maintenance; grocery shopping; transportation; banking or bill paying; or personal care.

Only those results relating to informal care given for long-term health problems are reported today. An upcoming article in the winter issue of Canadian social trends will expand on this analysis.

Chart: Those aged 45 to 64 most likely to give help

Performing paid work outside the home did not prevent caregivers from providing support when the need was there. In fact, 15% of women and 10% of men who had a job outside the home were caregivers. Of people looking for work, 16% of women and 12% of men combined their job search activities with caregiving duties. The relatively high proportions of unemployed people who were caregivers may have reflected freedom from an employment schedule, and therefore the flexibility to provide help. About 15% of women who worked in the home were also caregivers. (Working in the home also included those people looking after their own children.) Of people who were retired, 11% of both women and men performed caregiving duties.

A caregiver's living arrangements also seemed to have little impact on caregiving. Of women who lived with a spouse and children, 16% were caregivers. About 14% of both women who lived with only their spouse and women who lived alone were also caregivers. Of women who lived with only their children, 12% provided care.

Approximately 11% of both men living with a spouse and children and men who lived with only a spouse were caregivers. Of men who lived alone, 9% were caregivers.

Caregiving affects the lives of caregivers

One in five caregivers nearly always felt that they should be doing more for the people they were helping, and more than one in ten wished they could do a better job. However, over half of caregivers did not feel burdened by their caregiving duties.

The most severe change caregivers cited was deterioration in their health. One in five reported that caregiving had affected their health, while over one-quarter said their sleep patterns had been altered as a result of caregiving.

Half of caregivers employed outside the home experienced repercussions at their job, such as arriving late or leaving early, or having to miss a day or more of work. Almost half of all caregivers adjusted their social activities because of caregiving. In addition, more than 4 in every 10 caregivers had extra out-of-pocket expenses because they were helping others.

One-quarter of caregivers changed holiday plans because of their responsibilities. About 12% of caregivers reported that either they or the individuals they were helping had moved to be closer together, while more than 1 in 20 actually moved in with the person they were assisting. Approximately 6% of caregivers had even been forced to postpone plans to enroll in an education program due to their responsibilities of helping others.

Support for caregivers

Almost half of caregivers said they did not need help to cope with their duties. However, many others suggested potential sources of assistance that could help them continue to provide care.

Approximately 15% of caregivers reported that financial compensation for their unpaid work would help, and 15% wished someone would occasionally give them a break by taking over their caregiving duties. Of those working outside the home or going to school, 15% suggested that changes in the work or school environment would help in their caregiving responsibilities. About 12% of caregivers were interested in receiving information on effective caregiving, while slightly more (13%) wanted information on long-term illnesses and disabilities. Approximately 5% said counselling would help in their caregiving activities.

For further information on this release, contact Kelly Cranswick (613-951-6972; Internet: crankel@statcan.gc.ca), Housing, Family and Social Statistics.

To order tables ($50) that document the above analysis, as well as provide more detail, contact Jennifer Hubbard (613-951-5979; Internet: hubbjen@statcan.gc.ca), Housing, Family and Social Statistics.


Sales of natural gas

June 1997 (preliminary)

Natural gas sales totalled 3 667 695 thousand cubic metres in June, up 9.3% from the same period a year earlier. All three sectors (residential, commercial and industrial) recorded higher monthly sales. Sales to the industrial sector (including direct sales) posted a solid 9.8% advance from June 1996, due to increased demand for natural gas by electric utilities, and the mining and chemical industries.

Table: Sales of natural gas
                               June 1997(p)     June 1996     June 1996 to    
                                                                 June 1997    

                             thousands of cubic metres            % change    
                           ______________________________    _____________    
Natural gas sales              3,667,695        3,356,857              9.3    
Residential                      534,993          494,384              8.2    
Commercial                       386,328          361,689              6.8    
Industrial                     1,757,983        1,646,317                     
Direct                           988,391          854,467                     


                            Jan. to June(p)  Jan. to June        Jan.-June    
                                    1997             1996          1996 to    

                             thousands of cubic metres            % change    
                           ______________________________    _____________    
Natural gas sales             37,823,354       36,909,890              2.5    
Residential                   10,618,612       10,717,279             -0.9    
Commercial                     7,509,503        7,636,988             -1.7    
Industrial                    12,591,851       12,364,382                     
Direct                         7,103,388        6,191,241                     


(p)  Preliminary figures.

Year-to-date sales to the end of June rose 2.5% from the same period in 1996. Sales to the residential (-0.9%) and commercial (-1.7%) sectors decreased due to the milder weather during the first six months of 1997. Sales to the industrial sector (including direct sales) maintained steady growth, advancing 6.1% from the same period last year.

Available on CANSIM: matrices 1052-1055.

The June 1997 issue of Gas utilities (55-002-XPB, $17/$165) will be available in September. See How to order publications .

For further information on this release, contact Gary Smalldridge (613-951-3567; Internet: smalgar@statcan.gc.ca), Energy Section, Manufacturing, Construction and Energy Division.

Environmental protection spending in industry

1995 (preliminary)

The pulp and paper industry invested $952.3 million on capital projects for environmental protection in 1995 - by far the largest amount of any Canadian industry.

The capital expenditure represented a 55.3% increase from the $613.3 million spent by the pulp and paper industry in the previous year, and increased its share of capital investment for environmental purposes among industries covered in this survey from 39% in 1994 to 42% in 1995.

Overall, the surveyed industries spent $2.3 billion on capital projects for environmental purposes in 1995. Combined with $2.4 billion in operating expenditures, industry spending on environmental protection totalled $4.7 billion in 1995.

Much of the new pulp and paper investment went into pollution and abatement and control projects, in large part to comply with new environmental regulations that came into effect at the end of 1994.

The crude oil and natural gas industry made the second largest capital expenditure on environmental protection, spending $324.4 million. The industry accounted for 14.4% of capital spending for environmental purposes for the surveyed industries.

Most capital spending on environmental protection in 1995 was related to pollution abatement and control projects. As in the previous year, almost two-thirds went to end-of-pipe processes, which control undesirable substances emitted during production activities without any impact on production itself. However, there was also an important increase in investment in integrated processes, to prevent generation of pollutants from the production process.

The manufacturing sector accounted for 63.3% of operating expenditures on environmental protection for the selected industries, followed by the primary metals industry at 15.6%, and the pulp and paper industry at 12.3%.

Over $1 billion, or just under half of operating expenditures on environmental protection for the surveyed industries, was associated with pollution and abatement control projects - the majority on end-of-pipe processes. The purchase of waste management and sewerage services represented 18% of operating expenditures on environmental protection. In addition, there was a significant increase in spending on wildlife protection and habitat in 1995.

Preliminary results of the Environmental Protection Expenditure Survey, 1995 are now available. This survey covered capital and operating expenditures made by companies because of environmental regulation or convention. Certain firms may also invest in environment-related activities when environmental protection is a secondary purpose or an additional benefit from the investment. This type of investment was not covered in this release.

A few changes were made in the 1995 survey. For instance, in addition to industries already covered in 1994, the oil and gas transmission industry was included while a sample of the rest of the manufacturing sector was produced.

Additional information will be available in the complete analytical report of the survey results scheduled for release in November 1997. This report will include provincial and industrial breakdowns of capital and operating expenditures on environmental protection by type of activity; a breakdown of capital expenditures on end-of-pipe processes; data on purchase of waste management and sewerage services and purchase of other environmental service; and information on pollution abatement and control methods to reduce current and future waste and pollutants.

For further information on this release, contact the information officer (613-951-3640), National Accounts and Environment Division.

Table: Expenditures on environmental protection by industry and type of
Industry                       Pollution            Waste            Other    
                               abatement       management    environmenta-    
                             and control     and sewerage     l protection    
                            expenditures         services     expenditures    

                                             $ millions                       
Operating expenditures                                                        
Logging                              6.8              5.3             87.7    
Mining                             133.5              6.2            101.2    
Crude petroleum and    
  natural gas                       71.0             46.5             76.4    
Food                                29.6             41.6             11.1    
Beverage                             2.7             11.4              4.2    
Pulp and paper                     214.2             27.3             56.2    
Primary metals                     268.1             60.5             51.0    
Non-metallic mineral   
  products                          14.7              7.0             14.4    
Refined petroleum and  
  coal products                        x              7.7                x    
Chemical products                   75.7             36.9             42.9    
Other manufacturing                183.0            176.3            107.3    
Oil and gas            
  transmission and gas 
  distribution 1                    12.8              2.6             15.7    
Electric power                         x             11.1                x    
Total, operating       
  expenditures                   1,189.0            440.5            799.9    
Capital expenditures                                                          
Logging                              4.0              ...              3.8    
Mining                              62.5              ...             22.7    
Crude petroleum and    
  natural gas                      233.6              ...             90.8    
Food                                23.2              ...              1.2    
Beverage                             6.7              ...              0.8    
Pulp and paper                     940.1              ...             12.2    
Primary metals                     108.7              ...              0.9    
Non-metallic mineral   
  products                          51.6              ...              1.5    
Refined petroleum and  
  coal products                     95.6              ...              0.9    
Chemical products                   65.5              ...             17.8    
Other manufacturing                301.9              ...              6.1    
Oil and gas            
  transmission and gas 
  distribution 1                    21.7              ...              8.0    
Electric power                      84.3              ...             84.6    
Total, capital         
  expenditures                   1,999.4              ...            251.3    


Industry                           Total    

                              $ millions    
Operating expenditures                      
Logging                             99.8    
Mining                             241.0    
Crude petroleum and        
  natural gas                      194.0    
Food                                82.3    
Beverage                            18.3    
Pulp and paper                     297.7    
Primary metals                     379.6    
Non-metallic mineral       
  products                          36.1    
Refined petroleum and      
  coal products                    102.1    
Chemical products                  155.4    
Other manufacturing                466.6    
Oil and gas                
  transmission and gas     
  distribution 1                    31.1    
Electric power                     325.2    
Total, operating           
  expenditures                   2,429.3    
Capital expenditures                        
Logging                              7.9    
Mining                              85.2    
Crude petroleum and        
  natural gas                      324.4    
Food                                24.4    
Beverage                             7.5    
Pulp and paper                     952.3    
Primary metals                     109.6    
Non-metallic mineral       
  products                          53.1    
Refined petroleum and      
  coal products                     96.5    
Chemical products                   83.3    
Other manufacturing                308.0    
Oil and gas                
  transmission and gas     
  distribution 1                    29.7    
Electric power                     168.9    
Total, capital             
  expenditures                   2,250.7    


(1)  Includes the following two industries: crude oil and natural gas
     pipeline transport and gas distribution systems.
(...)  Figures not appropriate or not applicable.
(x)  Figures suppressed to protect confidentiality.
Note:  Figures may not add due to rounding. Expenditures on pollution
       abatement and control (PAC) include expenditures on PAC end-of-pipe
       construction and equipment, PAC integrated processes and environmental
       monitoring expenditures. Other expenditures on environmental
       protection include expenditures on environmental assessments and
       audits, on-site reclamation and decommissioning, and expenditures on
       wildlife protection and habitat.


Consumer Price Index, July 1997
Catalogue number 62-001-XPB
(Canada: $11/$103; outside Canada: US$11/US$103).

Touriscope: International Travel, advance information, Vol. 13, no. 6
Catalogue number 66-001-PPB
(Canada: $8/$73; outside Canada: US$8/US$73).

All prices exclude sales tax.