Export Import Price Report

Detailed information for February 2014





Record number:


The survey is conducted to collect prices for representative export and import commodities, directly from Canadian exporters and importers.

Data release - Data are not released to the public.


The changing dynamics of the Canadian merchandise trade (both in terms of product mix and the origin/destination of the goods being traded), its steadily increasing importance to the economy and the growing volatility of the exchange rate have led Statistics Canada to seek to improve the method it uses for measuring export and import prices. Statistics Canada has in the past relied on unit value indices and other proxies to estimate price changes in the goods Canada exports and imports. This index collects prices for representative export and import commodities directly from Canadian exporters and importers through a survey program.

The prices collected ultimately feed into the export and import price indexes produced by Statistics Canada and supplement or, in some cases, replace the prices currently used to construct these indexes.

Reference period: Export Import Price Index base period is December 2012.

Collection period: During the reference month.


  • International merchandise trade price indexes
  • Prices and price indexes

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the survey consists of enterprises residing in Canada who export from or import to Canada a selected list of representative commodities.

Instrument design

In the pilot phase of development, the survey adopted the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI) questionnaire due to similarities between the two surveys and as a cost effective approach. The questionnaire was revised in March 2011.

The questionnaire contains technical descriptions and specifications for products originally confirmed by respondents as being exported and imported under selected HS commodities. In addition, the questionnaire outlines the terms of sale for which the price applies (e.g., unit of sale, currency of transaction, country of origin or destination, price base, pricing method, mode of transportation).


This is a sample survey with a longitudinal design.

The sampling frame is based on the most recent data available from the Exporter and Importer Register Databases (see record 5124) managed by the International Trade Division. The common survey unit is the "enterprise" which, in Statistics Canada's usage, refers to the organizational unit of a business that directs and controls the allocation of resources relating to its domestic operations.

Enterprises are stratified by specific and representative Harmonized System (HS) commodities. A sample of enterprises exporting from and importing to Canada is then selected for each strata.

Sampling is done using a combination of three methods: census, cut-off and sequential probability. Important exporters and importers are "must take" respondents. A random selection is taken from the smaller enterprises. These samples are redrawn on a regular cycle as dictated by changes in the market. A directly surveyed elemental index is usually supported by 3 to 15 price quotes.

The sample design is responsive to the constraints of both cost and respondent burden. Budget constraints determine the maximum number of enterprises selected in a sample, and respondent burden limits the number of HS commodities priced by each enterprise.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The prices of most of the commodities surveyed for the Export Import Price Report are collected monthly, usually over a three-week period. In an effort to minimize respondent burden, prices are collected less frequently when price changes occur at other intervals (e.g. quarterly).

The price information collected relates to transactions which take place within the month in question. Ideally, transaction prices are reported for the 15th of the month or the nearest prior business day for comparable transactions. Commodity specialists obtain, from each of the sampled respondents, price observations for each product selected as being exported and imported under a specific HS commodity category. As such, they discuss with each respondent the different varieties of products that they trade and the different terms of sale. The terms of sale that apply must be specified for each price quotation (e.g., unit of measure, currency of transaction, country of origin or destination, price base, pricing method, mode of transportation). In most cases, the specific quotation chosen pertains to the trade of a representative commodity to a major type of customer.

During this preliminary contact with respondents, the importance of obtaining prices for actual transactions is stressed. If an enterprise posts regular list prices from which discounts are typically applied, then the prices collected should reflect these discounts, whether they vary continuously with each trade or whether there are standard rates of discount depending on the class of customer, size of order or so on. In the subsequent validation of the regularly supplied price quotations, one of the most important concerns is that the prices quoted are what actually prevail in the market. For this reason the commodity specialists try to ensure that their contact inside the enterprise is someone who can supply that information.

Export and import prices should be reported at the seller's premises. This price excludes delivery costs such as freight, handling and insurance charges. Also, it excludes other charges related to the transaction such as taxes and duties. If price at sellers premises is not available respondents should report the price F.O.B. (Free on Board) place of exit from Canada for exports and F.O.B. place of direct shipment to Canada for imports.

Commodities are coded and described based on the Harmonized System (HS) of classification. The HS classification is familiar to survey respondents because it is used worldwide for export and import when reporting transactions to Customs.

Once there is an agreement on which price information is to be supplied, the price quotations are collected primarily by means of a questionnaire. This is sent to each respondent for reporting the price in effect on the 15th of each month, or the nearest prior business day.

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

Error detection

Error detection is conducted both at the time of collection and during post collection processing, using a set of systematized error detection procedures to identify outliers and possible reporting anomalies. Records that fail these edits are reviewed for editing and correction when necessary or edit failure may trigger a follow-up with the respondent.


Non-response or missing prices are imputed using the averages of designated cells from within the same strata.


Estimates are produced by calculating a weighted average of price relatives by the Canadian Export and Import Classifications which are chained together to form an index series. The Export Import Price Index uses establishment revenues as its weighting source.

Quality evaluation

The survey methodology was designed to control for errors and to reduce their potential impact on estimates. The data are subject to collection and processing validations on key variables and most non-essential data. Analysis at the index level is also performed at various stages of aggregation. Qualitative assessment is done using an internationally developed framework for services producer price indexes that considers program elements such as the type of price being used, timeliness and relevance.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that 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.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Data for the most recent month is preliminary. The previous six months of the series is subject to revision. The indexes are not seasonally adjusted.

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