Retail Services Price Index (RSPI)

Detailed information for fourth quarter 2015





Record number:


The purpose of the survey is to collect and compile price data to measure the monthly change in the movement of the price of retail services over time. These price data are combined and the component indexes chained to form a price index. The estimates are produced on a quarterly basis.

Data release - May 13, 2016


The Retail Services Price Index is constructed from price data collected by the Retail Trade Price Report. These price data are combined to estimate a price index for retail services that can be joined with other business services indexes to provide better estimates of real output and productivity, monitor inflation and feed an important research agenda at Statistics Canada.

Statistical activity

These indexes are a part of the Services Producer Price Index program (SPPI) at Statistics Canada.

The SPPI program develops and produces price indexes for a wide range 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. It also allows Statistics Canada to produce more accurate estimates of real value added of the Gross Domestic Product and changes in productivity.

Reference period: The time period for which the RSPI equals 100; currently this is the year 2013.

Collection period: Collection takes place during the quarter following the reference quarter.


  • Prices and price indexes
  • Retail and wholesale
  • Service price indexes

Data sources and methodology

Target population

For the RSPI, the target population consists of all enterprises with at least one establishment classified to the retail sector (NAICS 44-45) on the Business Register (BR) as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 2012), excluding Automobile and Other Motor Vehicle Dealers and Non-Store Retailers (NAICS 4411, 4412 and 454).

Instrument design

Pricing methodologies and questionnaire design were researched and based on internationally accepted practice. The Retail Trade Price Report was developed and tested through consultation and collaboration with retailers, industry experts and the Questionnaire Design and Research Centre at Statistics Canada.


This is a sample survey with a longitudinal design.

The frame consists of those units on Statistics Canada's Business Register with at least one operation classified to the retail sector (NAICS 44-45). The population is stratified by 5-digit NAICS and by size based on revenue. The sample is allocated to strata by revenue and selected based on probability proportional to size using Sequential Poisson sampling. The sampling unit is at the enterprise level.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Monthly data are collected on a quarterly basis via electronic questionnaire and by mail out, mail back paper questionnaires, while telephone communication (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) is used for non-response and data follow-up. Several follow-up contacts can be made including sending out an email, fax or letter reminder in order to collect data.

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

Error detection

Error detection is conducted at the time of data collection and also 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 price data are imputed using the averages of designated cells from responding units within the same strata.



The Retail Services Price Index (RSPI) uses enterprise revenues from the Business Register and industry gross margins from Annual Retail Trade Survey (record number 2447) as its weighting sources.


Estimates are produced by calculating a weighted average of price relatives by industry, which are chained together to form an index series. The RSPI is a Laspeyres chain linked index, available at the Canada level only.

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

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Data for the most recent quarter are preliminary. The previous quarter of the series data are subject to revision. The series is also subject to an annual revision released with the second quarter data of the following reference year. The indexes are not seasonally adjusted.

Data accuracy

The statistical accuracy of this index depends on price and weight data obtained from sample surveys. Each type of input data is subject to its own errors. Processing procedures for editing and imputation are in place to ensure the quality of data. Consequently, the aggregate indexes at all levels are considered to be statistically reliable.

The survey achieves about an 80% response rate and uses a survey methodology designed to control errors and reduce their effect on estimates. However, the survey results remain subject to sampling and non-sampling error.

Sampling errors occur when observations are made only on a sample and not on the entire population. All other errors that arise from the various survey phases are referred to as non-sampling errors. For example, non-sampling errors can occur when a respondent provides incorrect information or does not answer certain questions; when a unit in the target population is omitted or covered more than once; when an out of scope unit is included by mistake or when errors occur in data processing, such as coding or capture errors.

A systematized imputation process is used to impute for the non-response portion of the sample, achieving an effective 100% coverage. Non-response bias is also minimized during the same process.

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