Your inflation dollars may not be going where you think: report

Most price increases are going to corporate profits in mining, oil and gas extraction
January 18, 2023

OTTAWA—Of every dollar spent on higher prices in the last two years, 47 cents was converted into corporate profits in four industries, led by mining, oil and gas extraction, explains a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

In Where are Your Inflation Dollars Going, CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald examines what’s driving inflation in Canada, using a new approach. It shows four industries are dominating in inflationary corporate profits. Of every additional dollar spent on inflation:

  • 25 cents is going to profits in mining and oil and gas extraction
  • 9 cents is going to profits in manufacturing, which includes oil refining into gasoline and diesel
  • 7 cents is going to profits in real estate, rentals, and leasing
  • 6 cents is going to profits in finance and insurance, which includes the big banks

“By far, the largest beneficiary of inflation has been the oil and gas extraction and mining industries,” says Macdonald “which, in an era of climate change, is probably not what we want.”

Since the fall of 2020, prices in the business sector have risen by 19%. In dollar terms, that means $72 billion more went to the corporate sector due to higher prices in the third quarter of 2022 alone. 

“Inflation has been incredibly disruptive, but there has been little effort to determine who’s ending up with all those inflation dollars, until now,” Macdonald says. “Economists are quick to blame workers, but the majority of inflation dollars are pure profit for energy companies, real estate and the big banks.”

Luckily, there is a policy solution that can right this imbalance: applying a new corporate surtax to all industries, and not just banking and insurance, as was done in the spring federal budget.

“A tax is the right approach because these corporate profits were gained through no productive merit,” says Macdonald. “They represent the cream skimmed off the top of an inflationary economy. And that richness should be distributed more evenly to benefit all Canadians and the environment too."

The report calculates how much of each inflation dollar has ended as profit, worker compensation or depreciation and interest costs in the aggregate and across the 15 economic sectors in Canada. 

Where Are Your Inflation Dollars Going is available at:



For more information and interviews please contact Amanda Klang, CCPA Senior Communications Specialist (Media & PR) at [email protected]