Canadians Are Changing Provinces At The Fastest Rate Since The 90s Real Estate Bubble

Canadians are fleeing for another province at one of the fastest clips in history. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) revealed its interprovincial migration estimates for Q2 2021. Crunching the numbers on net-flows, we can see which regions are losing the most Canadians. The last quarter saw the most people relocate to a new province since the 90s real estate bubble.

Canadians Are Migrating To New Provinces At The Fastest Rate Since The Early 90s

Canadians haven’t fled their province in such a large volume in over three decades. Interprovincial migration reached 123,500 people in Q2 2021. This is an increase of 55.1% from the previous quarter, and the largest migration since Q3 1991. That was smack in the middle of the last affordability crisis, and the end of the early 1990s real estate bubble. Migration and quality of life improvements tend to go hand in hand.

Canadian Interprovincial Migration

The quarterly number of Canadians that moved from one province to another.

Source: Stat Can; Better Dwelling.

Canadians Are Dumping Ontario and Alberta For Other Provinces

Ontario was by far the biggest loser, with many more people leaving than arriving. Net migration was -11,857 people in Q2 2021. It was the largest outflow for the province since the early 1980s. 

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Canadian Interprovincial Net Migration By Province

The net flow of interprovincial in and out migrants. Positive numbers indicate more people arrived than left.

Source: Stat Can; Better Dwelling.

Other provinces also saw substantial outflows, but not nearly as big as Ontario. Big losses were seen in Alberta (-5,447), Manitoba (-3,513), and Saskatchewan (-3,362). The whole middle of the country, eh?

Canadians Are Opting For Coastal Regions Like BC and Nova Scotia

Since it’s interprovincial migration, one province’s loss is another’s gain. British Columbia was the biggest winner, with net migration reaching 15,300 people in Q2 2021. Both Nova Scotia (4,700), and New Brunswick (2,100) also saw substantial gains. Life on the coasts must be appealing. 

The other provinces made minor increases, managing to win over more Canadians. Those include PEI (869), Newfoundland (806), and Quebec (626). Quebec is a bit of a surprise, considering it was a top gainer just a few quarters ago.

The net flow of interprovincial migration is less important than the total population. However, it reveals a lot about the province from the perspective of the people that live there. Provinces with big gains strike the right balance of local retention and attractiveness. If they can keep locals and take the talent from other provinces, they’re doing it right. They’re winning people over with a better quality of life.

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Provinces with big losses are showing structural issues with keeping and attracting Canadians. For example, half of Ontario’s youth are looking to move due to affordability. As these people leave, so does their disposable income, tax revenues, and innovation. The issue can be patched over with immigration for a while. However, at some point potential immigrants start to wonder why longer-term residents are moving, and start moving to those regions directly. 

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