Ottawa Group

International Working Group On Price Indices

About Us

On this page: Background | Terms of Reference | Organisation of the Group


The Ottawa Group is a city group set up in 1994 under the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission. It provides a forum for specialists and practitioners who work for, or are advisors to, national statistical agencies or international organisations to exchange their experiences and thoughts on crucial problems of measuring price change. The Group’s strength is based on its professional authority, independence, and usefulness to national and international statistical agencies. The Group meets about every two years.

Terms of reference

Without avoiding theoretical issues, the focus of the Group is on applied research, particularly though not exclusively, in the area of consumer price indices. The Group examines advantages and disadvantages of various concepts, methods and procedures in the context of realistic operational environments, supported by concrete examples whenever possible. Only specialists actively involved in the application of the principles relating to the topics under discussion are invited to the Group’s meetings as active participants. The proceedings from the sessions are edited and diffused. They contain the presented papers and the most important elements of discussions. They also include the Group’s recommendations when a preponderant opinion clearly emerges from the discussions, or, if this is not the case, a summary of the discordant opinions with balanced commentary.

The Group may also assemble and publish compendia of materials related to specific topics of price statistics, composed of papers and of summaries of discussions from several meetings. Each of these publications could constitute chapters of a Handbook describing best practices in the given area of price statistics.

Organisation of the group

The Group has a Steering Committee, which ensures the continuity and evolution of the Group's activities and coordination with other international activities on price statistics, such as the meetings of the Expert Group on CPIs which is jointly organised by the UNECE and the ILO, and the Intersecretariat Working Group on Price Statistics (IWGPS). The Steering Committee comprises of: National Statistical Office (NSO) representatives; academics and other experts in the field of price statistics; a representative of the organising committee for the Expert Meetings on CPIs; a representative of the IWGPS; and representatives of the agencies that host the Group's recent and upcoming meetings. The representative of the Australian Bureau of Statistics is currently serving as Executive Secretary. Membership of the Committee is reviewed at each Ottawa Group meeting.

The Steering Committee members, as at November 2020 are:

Mr. Leigh Merrington (Australian Bureau of Statistics; secretariat)
Mr. Carsten Boldsen (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)
Prof. Jan de Haan (Statistics Netherlands and Delft University of Technology)
Prof. Erwin Diewert (University of British Columbia & University of New South Wales)
Mr. David Fenwick (Expert)
Mr. Jens Mehrhoff (Deutsche Bundesbank - Germany)
Prof. Vagner Ardeo (Fundação Getulio Vargas - Brazil)
Mr. Federico Polidoro (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica - Italy)
Ms. Roberta Zizza (Banca d'Italia - Italy)
Ms. Nada Hamadeh (Worldbank)
Prof. Kevin Fox (University of New South Wales)
Mr Claude Lamboray (European Commission)
Mr. Patrick Kelly (Statistics South Africa)
Ms. Corinne Becker (Federal Statistical office of Switzerland)
Ms. Randi Johannessen (Statistics Norway)
Ms. Heidi Ertl (Statistics Canada)

The Committee outlines long-term plans for the Group and proposes topics for the meetings. Meetings are organised about once every two years, with topics established in advance. The scheduling of the meetings and the selection of topics are coordinated with the IWGPS and the Expert Group Meetings on CPIs.

The Committee extends invitations to selected agencies and individual experts for the submission of papers on the agreed topics and is responsible for the selection of papers to be presented. Their authors are invited to the meeting along with other specialists whose contribution to the discussion on a specific topic is considered useful. The total number of meeting participants is limited for the sake of efficient discussion; however, the host agency may invite additional participants.

Based on the offers of papers and presentations, the host agency, in cooperation with the Committee, organises the meeting into topic-based sessions. Session chairs produce a summary of the discussions and recommendations made during the sessions. The host agency is responsible for drafting the final report of the meeting.

The host agency provides facilities for the meeting and arranges for the collation of papers and summaries of proceedings. The participants bear the cost of travel, accommodation and sustenance.

Information about the Group and copies of papers and summaries of proceedings are available on the Internet. The agency providing secretariat services is responsible for maintaining a Web-site open to the public ( The Steering Committee may decide to edit and periodically release compendia on selected topics, whenever it is warranted by the status of available materials.

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