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Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Consumer Price Index (CPI)


Ontario inflation in 2023/2024

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of inflation based on the increase in price to a predetermined “basket of goods”. The year 2002 was chosen as the “base” year, which means the CPI for that year is 100. The CPI in each year after 2002 measures what has happened to prices relative to 2002.  The Statistics Canada website allows researchers interested in downloading prior year’s tables to do comparisons year over year. You can view the CPI tables from 1989 to 2014 with this link: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/150918/dq150918a-eng.htm

Ontario: percentage change in the consumer price index over one year from the same month.

November   3.3%
December    3.4%
January        2.7%

Ottawa: Percentage Change

November   2.9%
December    2.6%
January        2.0%

Toronto: Percentage Change

November   3.8%
December    4.2%
January        3.3%

Thunder Bay: Percentage Change

November   2.1%
December    2.6%
January        2.1%

For more information on the Consumer Price Index, you can download Your Guide to the Consumer Price Index from Statistics Canada. You can also call OPSEU research staff toll-free at 1-800-268-7376.

Why is the CPI useful in Bargaining?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) indicates how much more we are paying for goods and services. In other words, it measures inflation. It is useful in finding out whether our wage increases are keeping up with price increases.

Inflation calculations

You can estimate how much inflation has affecte4.1%d your wages by using the percentage change figures from the above section or by figuring out how much inflation has occurred since the year of your last wage increase. You then will have an idea what kind of wage increases you should propose just to keep up with inflation.

The Bank of Canada provides the following useful tool for calculating percentage changes from one year to another:  http://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/related/inflation-calculator/

Here are the steps to go through in using the Bank of Canada inflation calculator. Let’s assume that your last negotiated wage increase was 2018 and your average wage was $25.00 per hour.

  1. In the “basket of goods” line enter “$25.00” into the first column after “…that cost”
  2. Enter “2018” into the second column.
  3. Click on the blue “Calculate” button to see what $25.00 in 2018 is worth in today’s dollars.

What to do if you need a more precise measure

It is possible to use the Statistics Canada CANSIM tables and some simple mathematical calculations to target your time frame and generate a more precise measure of inflation. For example, you might want to measure the change in CPI over a 17-month period rather than relying on the year to year or annual statistics that the above tools provide you. This level of precision is rarely necessary in bargaining but your staff representative can help you get obtain this information if necessary.

For more information on the Consumer Price Index, you can download Your Guide to the Consumer Price Index from Statistics Canada.

Other Useful Tools available to you in Bargaining

To help you compare your recent wage increases to recent wage trends in the public and private sectors, the Ontario Ministry of Labour offers Collective Bargaining Information Services (CBIS). This Ministry provides the public with information on collective wage settlements in Ontario, including:

  • summaries of settlements
  • wage trends
  • major negotiations that are underway

The reports that come out in March, June, September and December also provide information for the preceding three months on:

  • work stoppages
  • how long negotiations have taken
  • the stage at which negotiations were settled

Additional Resources available

OPSEU has a Research Department that monitors economic, political and sectoral trends. If you are going into bargaining and require additional support, please have your Staff Representative contact them.