Informatics Professional Services Price Indexes (IPSPI)

Detailed information for 2015





Record number:


The Informatics Professional Services Price Index (IPSPI) collects financial, wage and contractor fee information that is used to produce price indexes measuring changes in prices for informatics professional services.

Data release - December 9, 2016


The Informatics Professional Services Price Index (IPSPI) collects financial, wage and contractor fee information that is used to produce price indexes measuring changes in prices for informatics professional services such as data processing, hosting and related services, software development, packaged software and publishing, hardware and software consultancy, computer facilities management and system maintenance.

The IPSPI series is a useful indicator of economic activity in the informatics services industry, and can also prove helpful as a supplementary tool for performance evaluation, cost monitoring, contract assessment and benchmark comparisons. In addition, the indexes are used by the Canadian System of National Accounts to arrive at estimates of real value output for the industry through deflation.

Statistical activity

This index is part of the Services Producer Price Index program (SPPI) at Statistics Canada.

The SPPI program develops and produces price indexes for a number of business service categories. This initiative fills an important data gap in the area of economic statistics and has resulted in a more comprehensive set of service price indexes. These indexes allow Statistics Canada to produce more accurate estimates of real-value added (Gross Domestic Product) and changes in productivity.

Reference period: The time period for which the IPSPI equals 100; currently this is the year 2008.


  • Business, consumer and property services
  • Prices and price indexes
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Service price indexes

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 2007), this industry consists of all enterprises with at least one establishment primarily engaged in:

NAICS 541510 - Computer Systems and Related Services: includes computer information technology consultants, development of custom software, systems and network design, systems development and analysis, computer programming to meet a customer's specifications

NAICS 511210 - Software Publishers : packaged software development and publishing

NAICS 518210 - Data Processing, Hosting and Related Services : Web hosting, streaming services, application hosting, processing and preparation of reports from data supplied by the customer, optical scanning data services , data entry and validation etc.

NAICS 519130 - Internet Publishing and Broadcasting, and Web Search Portals : Establishments engaged in publishing and/or broadcasting content on the Internet or operating web sites, known as web search portals.

Instrument design

The questionnaire used for the IPSPI was developed and tested in consultation with numerous respondents and experts in the informatics services industry.


This is a sample survey with a longitudinal design.

For the IPSPI, the target population consists of all enterprises in operation in 2009 with at least one establishment primarily engaged in informatics professional services, as identified on Statistics Canada's Central Frame Database. The respondents are selected through a stratified cut-off sample design based on the significance of their operating income and based on the region they are located in. The sample size is approximately 1500 enterprises.

Selection of Sampled Units for Tax Data Replacement

The IPSPI sample contains two types of enterprises: simple and complex. A simple enterprise is an entity engaged in a single industry and at a single location. T2 tax data is considered an acceptable replacement for simple enterprises because it provides comparable information for the sampled unit. Approximately 75% of the IPSPI sample contains simple enterprises.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Respondents receive the questionnaire by mail. Contacts with the respondent take place when questionnaires are late or the responses provided require clarification. In the case of late respondents, several follow-up contacts can be made including sending out a reminder letter in order to obtain their response.

Use of Administrative Data

Managing response burden is an ongoing challenge for Statistics Canada. In an attempt to alleviate response burden and survey costs, especially for smaller businesses, the IPSPI has reduced the number of simple establishments in the sample that are surveyed directly and instead derives financial data for these establishments from Corporate Income Tax (T2) files.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).

Error detection

A set of systematized error detection procedures are in place to identify outliers and possible reporting errors. For example, a larger than average increase or decrease in one of the items collected will trigger a follow up with the respondent.


Averages of the designated cells are calculated within Naics and Regions and then used to impute missing data. Imputation for non-response is automatically carried out during estimation using the index movement at the next nearest aggregation level



The weights come from Statistics Canada's Central Frame Database and represent the gross business income for each enterprise for the current reference year. The weights are updated annually.


The prices collected for the IPSPI represent the input costs of labour and the realized profit for the firm. The labour cost is calculated as the weighted average of the firm's contract fees and wage rates for the year, while the profit portion reported is used to derive the realized net multiplier. Both of these inputs are multiplied to arrive at a total price index.

Quality evaluation

The quality of this index is maintained through the expertise of the few trained analysts assigned to it. They develop a thorough knowledge of the domain, which is supplemented by outside personal contacts for particular goods or services. Much time and effort is devoted to detecting and following up unusual fluctuations over time in the pricing patterns of goods and services. Prior to dissemination, the price indexes are analyzed and historic trends reviewed.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Collected data are converted to a price index and data are released as such, so that it is not possible to identify the suppliers of raw prices.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

The most recent two years of published indexes are subject to revision.

Data accuracy

The statistical accuracy of this index depends on price and weight data. Price data are obtained from a sample survey and the weight information is obtained from Statistics Canada's Central Frame Database. Both kinds of input data are subject therefore to their own errors. The quality of the price data rests on the response rate. The response rate is about 56%. The deteriorating response rate due to the large percentage of misclassified, out-of-business units, and non-response lead to a resampling of survey units to boost the sample size.

Though the IPSPI uses a sample survey methodology to obtain the necessary information, confidence intervals are not currently estimated, due to the longitudinal nature of price index series. Indexes for higher and lower levels of aggregation are considered to be statistically reliable.


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