Every Friday, we publish a weekly update on COVID-19 and its effect on business. 

Statistics Canada releases its August Consumer Price Index

Statistics Canada continues to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on Canada’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). On September 16th, Statistics Canada released its consider price index for August. While the annual pace of inflation has slowed to a crawl during the pandemic, recent insights include:

In August, measures remained in place across much of the country to restrict gatherings and the movement of people. In-person field collection continued to be conducted via telephone or Internet for health and safety reasons, supplementing prices collected via web scraping, transaction data and administrative data. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on product availability in the month of August 2020, select sub-components of the Consumer Price Index received temporary special imputations.

Goods and services in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which were not available to consumers in August due to COVID-19 restrictions received special treatments, effectively removing their impact on the monthly CPI. The following sub-indexes were imputed from the monthly change in the All-items index: travel tours, components of spectator entertainment, and recreational services.

Consistent with previous months affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, prices for suspended flights are excluded from the August CPI calculation because passengers were ultimately unable to consume them. As a result, select sub-components of the air transportation index were imputed from the parent index.

Where prices were missing due to high levels of out-of-stock products or the temporary closure of businesses, they were imputed with the average price movement of available prices for those items.

A document entitled “Technical Supplement for the August 2020 Consumer Price Index” is available in the Prices Analytical Series (62F0014M) publication, with further details on the imputations used to compile the August 2020 CPI. For more information about the August consumer price index from Statistics Canada, click here.

The Prime Minister Provides Remarks After Cabinet Retreat

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet held a two-day retreat beginning on Monday, September 14th. The federal government spent billions to help Canadians and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and keep the economy moving, and the purpose of the retreat was to discuss the future as those programs are set to start to wind down. View the Prime Minister’s remarks and transcript below:

Good morning everyone.

Thanks for being here today.

We just wrapped up a Cabinet retreat here in Ottawa to map out our plan to keep Canadians safe and healthy, while building a more resilient Canada.

Canada and the world continue to face the ongoing threat of the global pandemic.

Over the last few months, we’ve learned that we can never let our guard down.

The fight against COVID-19 is far from over.

So we must stay focused on the task ahead.

We need to rebuild our economy while keeping Canadians safe.

These two goals are not mutually exclusive – they go together.

Healthier Canadians will mean, and has already meant, a healthier and stronger economy.

And on that front, today, we took yet another step forward.

Through the Safe Restart Agreement, reached earlier this summer, we announced federal funding to help provinces and territories safely restart the economy.

Provinces and territories were asked to outline in a letter just how these funds would be best allocated within their jurisdictions, based on their priorities.

The premiers have now submitted those letters which will allow over $19 billion in federal funding to flow toward our shared work to protect Canadians as we safely restart the economy.

The number of cases is rising across the country, and around the world.

Kids are also now going back to school and as a dad, I get how parents are worried.

Last month, we announced the Safe Return to Class Fund to help protect kids and staff with up to an extra $2 billion for the provinces and territories.  

Keeping our kids safe must always be our top priority.

This is why I’m asking Canadians to continue to be careful and to follow public health recommendations.

Limit the in-person contacts that you have. Take the appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of exposure so that you and your family stay safe, and download the government app to keep you and your friends and neighbours safe.

Every effort counts.

The Cabinet retreat has been very busy over the past few days.

It was an opportunity to get together to continue to develop our approach to this new world in which we live.

The Speech from the Throne will describe this approach in detail for Canadians next week.

We must continue to support Canadians in need during this crisis.

The pandemic has accentuated many of the inequalities that still exist in our society.

We must seize the opportunity of this economic recovery to build a healthier and safer Canada.

A Canada that’s fair and inclusive.

A Canada that’s clean and competitive.

On Monday, the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force provided Cabinet with an update on their important work.

Dr. Tam also shared her thoughts on where we are in the fight against this virus and what we need to work on in the coming months.

We also heard from Sharleen Stewart, the President of the SEIU Healthcare union, who spoke about the challenges ahead this fall and winter, for long-term care, with a particular focus on how we must support those extraordinary workers who keep our elders safe and healthy.  

I am also pleased to confirm that we have accepted a request from the Quebec government to extend the mission of the Canadian Red Cross in Quebec long-term care facilities or CHSLDs. We responded from the start of the crisis, first with the Canadian Armed Forces and now with the Canadian Red Cross, and we are pleased to be able to continue to support our seniors.

Last weekend, a number of countries in Europe and around the world reported record daily increases of new cases.

We’re not immune to those trends.

Here in Canada, we’re seeing cases rise in many parts of the country too.

As everybody knows by now, each new case has the potential to multiply, and create even more cases.

So we are not out of the woods.

This is why I’m asking Canadians to continue to be very careful and follow public health recommendations.

Limit the in-person close contacts that you have.

Take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of exposure, and keep yourself and your family safe.

And make sure you download the COVID Alert app.

These efforts help protect our grandparents, our parents, our front-line workers, and vulnerable people in our communities.

We have to show solidarity to keep each other safe.

We’ve come too far to give up now.

Together, Canadians must stay strong and vigilant. 

This afternoon, I also want to talk about jobs.

Lots of people are back at work, and that’s good news.

But I know that there are lots more people who are still struggling.

And there are many others who are worried that they could lose their job in these uncertain times.

If that’s you, know that your government will continue to be here to support you.

This pandemic has highlighted many of the inequalities that still exist in our society.

More than ever, we need an economy that benefits all Canadians.

During this retreat, and over the weeks and months to come, that’s exactly what our government will stay focused on.

To build a resilient Canada, our economy must be strong, and all Canadians must be able to benefit from it.

Our country must continue to be well-positioned on the world stage to attract investment and talent from around the world.

To discuss what to expect this fall, as well as Canada’s place in the global economic recovery and the fight against COVID-19, we spoke with Ambassador Rae, Ambassador Barton, and Ambassador Hillman.

Yesterday’s decision by the U.S. administration to remove unjustified tariffs on Canadian aluminum was the right thing to do.

This is very good news for both of our countries, as well as for Canadian aluminum workers.

When it comes to defending our workers and our economic interests, whether it is for aluminum or any other sector, we will always stand up for ourselves.

Aluminum trade between Canada and the United States has long been good for people on both sides of the border.

It supports jobs, and it grows our economies.  

I want to thank Minister Freeland, Minister Ng, and Ambassador Hillman for their hard work on this important issue.

Our government will always stand up for Canadian workers.

Yesterday, I also had a call with Chancellor Merkel of Germany.

We talked about the global response to COVID-19, from vaccine plans to our experiences with back to school.

We also discussed smart ways to grow our economies going forward in what has become a more unstable world.

And we both reiterated our condemnation of the poisoning of Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny. On the world stage, Canada will continue to work with our G7 allies and other international partners, to come up with bold solutions to the challenges we face.

And here at home, we will continue to work closely with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous peoples, and businesses to drive the most important economic recovery of our generation.

Canadians deserve an ambitious plan for a healthier and safer Canada.

A Canada that’s fair and inclusive.

A Canada that’s clean and competitive.

And with the Speech from the Throne on September 23, that’s exactly what our government is ready to do.

Once again, I want to thank you all for joining us today.

Remember…

While the coronavirus continues to spread quickly, it is important to remember that only a small percentage of patients need special treatment to recover. Trusted health experts continue to emphasize that the general population shouldn’t panic and should instead focus on practicing proper hygiene, such as hand-washing and refraining from touching the facial area.

Stay up to date on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by visiting the World Health Organization and the Government of Canada website.

View our full library of COVID-19 resources here.

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