The slower increase in the CPI was mainly the result of gasoline prices, which fell 0.3% on a year-over-year basis in March, after rising 3.9% in February. Provincially, gasoline prices declined year over year in seven provinces.
Excluding gasoline, the CPI increased 1.1% in the 12 months to March, matching the rise in February.
Consumer prices rose in six of the eight major components in the 12 months to March. The exceptions were transportation, and health and personal care, both of which posted no change.
Food prices increased 1.8% on a year-over-year basis in March, following a 1.9% rise in February. Consumers paid 2.2% more for food purchased from restaurants.
Consumers also paid more for food purchased from stores, as prices rose for fresh vegetables (+7.2%) and fresh fruit (+8.7%). In contrast, prices for non-alcoholic beverages declined 3.6%.
Shelter costs rose 1.1% in the 12 months to March, after increasing 0.8% in February. Rent and homeowners' replacement cost advanced on a year-over-year basis, while mortgage interest cost decreased 4.0%.
Prices for transportation posted no change on a year-over-year basis in March, after advancing 2.0% the previous month. Gasoline prices decreased year over year, while prices for the purchase of passenger vehicles rose 0.8% in the 12 months to March, following a 2.5% increase in February.
Prices for recreation, education and reading rose 0.3% in the 12 months to March, following a 1.0% rise in February. Consumers paid 4.8% less for travel tours year over year in March.