Canada

See how inflation in Canada has affected the wages of workers in your region

With the price of essentials like groceries and housing skyrocketing over the last few years, many have struggled to keep up with the cost of living.

When prices rise faster than wages do, the money people take home effectively decreases because it costs more to buy the same things.

To help people in Canada understand and monitor how inflation has affected the value of their wages, CBC News has created an app (see below).

It uses the consumer price index (CPI) to calculate how much the median wage in a given year would be worth in 2023 when accounting for inflation. This means you can compare wages from different years.

Try the app for yourself to see how the real value of wages for different subsections of people has changed over time and to compare whose wages have increased the most in the last decade. You can hover over or tap the charts for more details.

Methodology

CBC News follows the methodology set out on this page for adjusting dollar values for inflation, which Statistics Canada confirms is correct.

One assumption of this analysis is that the CPI applies universally to all people. In reality, the index encompasses the prices of many goods and services, some of which may not be equally applicable to everyone.

For example, a price increase for gasoline may affect people who own cars more than those who don’t.

To inform the data analysis, CBC News spoke with Statistics Canada analysts and economists, including Jim Stanford of the Centre for Future Work and Fabian Lange of McGill University in Montreal.

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About the data

The app uses data from two Statistics Canada tables: one for data around inflation and one for hourly wages in the provinces. It also uses custom data provided by Statistics Canada for Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit.

The inflation data comes from the consumer price index. This is a widely used indicator of inflation that compares how the price of a set of goods and services has changed over time. The CPI accounts for changes in quantity and size of products — something known as shrinkflation.

The wage data comes from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). This is a well-known Statistics Canada dataset that has been collecting information on wages since 1997.

Each month, Statistics Canada asks tens of thousands of households to provide information about various labour statistics for the people in their household, including their usual wage rate before taxes and deductions. They are asked to include tips and commissions. The usual hours that a person works is accounted for in the data.

Statistics Canada sometimes does not publish LFS data when there are too few respondents for certain subsets of people. This is done to ensure both confidentiality and a big enough sample size for reliability of the data.

The LFS currently excludes Indigenous people living on reserves. Statistics Canada said this is because many live in remote locations not easily accessible to the survey’s interviewers and because of a short data collection period each month.

People in all other areas are included in the LFS — meaning First Nations people living off-reserve, Métis and Inuit people are included.

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