The Canadian Consumer Price Index Reference Paper
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This volume explains the conceptual, structural and methodological basis of the Canadian Consumer Price Index (CPI). It should be regarded as the successor to the book The Consumer Price Index Reference Paper, published in 1995.Note 1 Much has happened since that earlier paper was released and fresh documentation is now required. Most recently, the statistical quality of the CPI has been greatly enhanced as the result of a multi-year project launched in 2010, aimed at improving the index.

The material in this reference paper is fairly technical and may not be of interest to all users of the CPI. For some purposes, the alternative document Your Guide to the Consumer Price Index Note 2 may be a more useful source of information. That paper provides a brief and straightforward explanation of: (i) the CPI itself and how it relates to Canadian consumers; (ii) how the relative importance of different goods and services is determined for purposes of the index; (iii) the means by which prices are collected, compiled and adjusted, when necessary, for changes in the quality of goods and services; (iv) the index reference period, which is currently 2002=100.0; (v) the mathematical formulas for calculating percentage changes; (vi) the ways in which the CPI is sometimes used to adjust or “index” payments of various kinds; and (vii) how the CPI can be used to compare dollar values over time.

The remainder of this Reference Paper provides a thorough explanation of the concepts and methodology underlying Canada’s CPI. The first chapter provides an overview and summary of the entire document.

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