Consumer Price Index Monthly

Consumer Price Index, May 2021

This monthly release of the The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Canada, the provinces, Whitehorse and Yellowknife, provides a descriptive summary of retail price movements, inflation rates and the factors underlying them.

PEI and Canada Consumer Price Index

All-Items Consumer Price Index by Province

May 2021 141.0 144.3 144.2 143.1 141.4 137.3 142.6 141.5 143.7 148.6 135.1
April 2021 140.3 143.5 143.2 142.3 140.3 136.2 141.8 140.6 143.9 147.7 135.2
May 2020 136.1 138.2 136.1 136.5 135.6 131.9 137.5 136.8 139.9 144.1 131.5
Year Over year Change (%) 3.6 4.4 6.0 4.8 4.3 4.1 3.7 3.4 2.7 3.1 2.7
Monthly Change (%) 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.6 -0.1 0.6 -0.1


Statistics Canada reported that the year-over-year change in the All-Items Consumer Price Index for P.E.I. was 6.0 per cent in May 2021. A significant proportion of this increase was attributable to a steep decline in prices in May 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, as the monthly increase was 0.7 per cent. This compares to 3.6 per cent year-over-year and 0.5 per cent monthly increases for Canada. Year-over-year price increases for P.E.I. were led by gasoline (56.5%), followed by fuel oil and other fuels (84.8%), homeowners' replacement cost (14.8%), rent (10.1%), and purchase and leasing of passenger vehicles (4.8%). These increases were partially offset by year-over-year declines for telephone services (-11.4%), mortgage interest cost*, other food preparations*, women's clothing (-3.4%), and cereal products excluding baby food (-5.4%).


The monthly change for P.E.I. in May 2021 was 0.7 per cent. Higher prices for rent (2.7%), gasoline (2.6%), purchase and leasing of passenger vehicles (1.3%), fuel oil and other fuels (3.6%), and fresh or frozen beef (12.6%) were partially offset by lower prices for women's clothing (-4.2%), inter-city transportation (-3.3%), men's clothing (-4.2%), sugar and confectionery (-5.8%), and paper, plastic and aluminum foil supplies (-5.0%).

Nationally, the All-Items Consumer Price Index rose 3.6 per cent on a year-over-year basis in May, accelerating from a 3.4 per cent increase in April. This was the largest yearly increase since May 2011. Unlike March and April 2021, when most of the year-over-year gains in the CPI were characterized by the large upward base-year effects caused by price declines falling out of the 12-month movement, base-year effects affected the 12-month price movement for only a few key goods and services in May 2021. While prices began to recover in May 2020 from the initial pandemic-related declines, they remained below pre-pandemic levels.

Year over year, prices rose more in May than in April in seven provinces. Year-over-year price growth was strong in the Atlantic provinces, as prices for fuel oil and rent increased. Furnace fuel oil is more commonly used in the Atlantic provinces than in other provinces. Prices rose in every major component on a year-over-year basis. Shelter prices rose 4.2% year over year in May, the largest yearly increase since September 2008. Prices for durable goods rose 4.4% year over year, the fastest pace since 1989, against the backdrop of rising consumer confidence and low interest rates. Year over year, prices for gasoline rose at a slower pace in May (+43.4%) than in April (+62.5%).


Impact of COVID-19 on the May CPI


Base-year effects and the CPI

In spring 2020, the global economy was dramatically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Canadian consumers experienced a significant decline in prices from February to April 2020. Headline consumer inflation slowed from +2.2% in February 2020 to +0.9% in March and -0.2% in April, the largest two-month slowdown in year-over-year CPI growth since 1992. The broad decline in prices at the onset of the pandemic, led by prices for energy products and travel services, had an upward impact on the year-over-year rate of consumer inflation in May 2021 because significantly lower prices from May 2020 were used as the basis for year-over-year comparisons.

For more information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) during the first year of the pandemic, please consult the Statistics Canada research document entitled "The Consumer Price Index and COVID-19: A One-Year Retrospective". This publication explores the sources of pandemic-related price change and the ongoing impact of base-year effects on the headline CPI.

For more information regarding the May CPI for Canada and the Provinces, see the Statistics Canada CPI release for May 2021.



Related downloads for this release:

Monthly Consumer Price Index Report PDF (87KB)

* data not published at the provincial level


Visit the Consumer Price Index Portal to find all CPI data, publications, interactive tools, and announcements highlighting new products and upcoming changes to the CPI in one convenient location.

The CPI for June 2021 will be released on July 28, 2021.

Source: Statistics Canada.

Table 18-10-0004-01, Consumer Price Index, monthly, not seasonally adjusted

Published date: 
June 16, 2021

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