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09/01/2020

Statistics Canada preps new online inflation tool to better detail price impacts

The national statistics agency is readying a new online tool designed to help Canadians track the impact of price changes on their spending during the pandemic.

Statistics Canada already has a visualization tool that allows users to see the changes in prices for goods that make up the country's headline inflation number.

A senior official with the agency says the next step is to let individuals put in their own spending patterns to generate a consumer price index unique to themselves so they can better see themselves in the data the agency collects.

Assistant chief statistician Greg Peterson says the online tool is still a work in progress, but meant to address a gap between official measurements of inflation and consumers' price perceptions.

Inflation rates collapsed as economic restrictions were put in place earlier this year to curb the spread of COVID-19, and price increases overall are expected to stay low through next year.

But consumer perceptions suggest a belief that prices are rising as Canadians buy more things that are rising in cost like food, and less of goods whose prices have declined such as gasoline.