Alberta Is Calling? Ontario Residents Are Fleeing The Province In Record Numbers

Ontario’s astronomical cost of living has residents fleeing by the tens of thousands. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows interprovincial migration soar in Q2 2022. Ontario’s talent is fleeing to more affordable regions like Alberta and Nova Scotia. It’s so bad, a Big Six bank warned investors that immigration is having a harder time filling the gap. Ontario has never seen people leave at this scale, as the province fails to compete for young adults.

Ontario Residents Are Leaving By The Tens of Thousands

Ontario residents are suddenly in a rush to move. The province saw over 49,000 people leave for another province in Q2 2022. The outflow was 77.6% higher than the previous quarter and 45.9% higher than the same quarter last year. Ontario has never seen this many people rush for the door in a single quarter. 

The trend is reaching emergency levels. Nearly 125,000 Ontario residents left in the year-ending Q2 2022, up 54.7% from a year before. Strong and rising outflows are indicative of a lack of perceived opportunity. Expensive housing in one of North America’s worst paying tech hubs, seemed like such a good pitch.

Ontario Residents Are Fleeing For Other Provinces In Record Numbers

The annual sum of interprovincial migrants leaving Ontario.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Ontario Has Never Seen People Leave At This Rate Before

Rising outflows are a warning, often dismissed as less important than net-interprovincial flows. This is the balance of inflows from other provinces, minus the outflow. Positive numbers are good— they show more people arriving in a province than leaving. People aren’t just attracted to the province, they’re also retained. 

Negative numbers are bad news, since that means more people are leaving than arriving in a province. It can be patched over with immigration for a temporary fix, but it’s a long-term issue brewing. Immigrants eventually see the same lack of opportunity that locals do, and move as well. 

Ontario’s net interprovincial flows have never been this deeply negative. In Q2 2022, the net outflow was 21,000 people, a new record limboing under the early 80s recession. The annual net flow for the quarter was an outflow of over 47,200 people. That means 47,200 more people left for other provinces than arrived in the 12-month period. Ontario has never seen it this bad, and it’s accelerating.  

Ontario Residents Are Leaving & Canadians Aren’t Interested In Moving There

The net flow of interprovincial migration in Ontario. Net flows are inflows minus outflows, with negative meaning more people are leaving than arriving.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Ontario’s Lofty Immigration Is Struggling To Patch This Issue

BMO Capital Markets warned investors how bad the seasonally adjusted annualized net migration looks. Senior economist Robert Kavcic wrote, “net migration out of Ontario surged to a near 75,000 per year pace in Q2, the largest outflow on record—maybe Alberta’s advertisements are working?” 

Even Canada’s robust immigration won’t be able to keep up with Ontario’s deteriorating situation. Kavcic adds, “At this rate, these outflows are carving about 0.5 ppts from Ontario population growth, eating into some of the gains seen from international migration. Remote work options elsewhere, poor housing affordability in Ontario and lower taxes elsewhere are usually cited as reasons.” 

Alberta Is Calling & Ontario Is Listening

Where is everyone in Ontario going? Alberta’s campaign to attract Ontario residents is landing at the perfect time. The province received 12,700 people fleeing Ontario in Q2 2022, up 121% from last year. The year-ending that quarter saw Alberta gain nearly 31,600 residents from Ontario. It’s an outflow that hasn’t been seen in almost two generations. The early 80s recession and inflation crisis is the only period to beat last quarter. However, it’s currently accelerating and might blow past it soon.

Other provinces are also seeing a windfall of Ontario’s talent, just not to the same extent. A distant second was BC (9,700 people) in Q2 2022, which is a huge number for a quarter. However, it was still only three-quarters the size of Alberta’s inflow. Quebec (7,100) and Nova Scotia (6,790) took third and fourth spots, respectively.\

Where Are Ontario Residents Moving?

Ontario’s interprovincial migration outflows by receiving province in the 12-month period ending in Q2 2022.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Interprovincial outflows don’t mean Ontario’s population is shrinking, as stated previously. However, they are indicative of an erosion in quality of life, and lead to inequalities. Immigration can patch over the issue temporarily, but remember, they’re moving here for opportunities. If locals are moving for more opportunity, recently arrived immigrants will follow.

If you moved across the world and saw locals fleeing, would you continue to patch over a province’s issues while locals seek opportunities elsewhere? Probably not. 

40 Comments

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  • Bernie 2 months ago

    Ontario won’t learn until it’s too late. Good luck depending on immigration if/when a global recession hits.

    • Mortgage Guy 2 months ago

      Ask people that work in this sector casually, and they’ll pitch you on the “solution” and then explain they don’t plan to live here long because the solution is terrible.

      It’s not an issue of they won’t learn. It’s an issue of predators controlling the narrative to the point there’s no other option.

    • JOE 2 months ago

      This is what happens when every junk of a house or a piece of cardboard is selling for no less than a million. Immigrants of all people won’t afford such prices in hell, because if they did they would probably stay where they came from and only vacation in Canada.

  • Jamie Price 2 months ago

    Come to Alberta. I can assure you the media reporting from Toronto likes to pretend it’s not as progressive, but I moved here in 2020 and it’s been awesome. Calgary feels like Toronto did 20-years ago. Things are happening, young people aren’t struggling — immigrants are doing just fine.

    • Peter M 2 months ago

      Might work fine if you’re white, but it doesn’t for more than half of Toronto’s Millennials and Gen Z. We prefer to vote for progress.

      • Ethan Wu 2 months ago

        You’re joking, right? Calgary is the only major Canadian city to elect a non-white mayor.

        Toronto has never elected anyone that isn’t an old white guy from multi-generational wealth. We even have a killer option (shout out to Steve) and the media won’t pick up on it even with thousands of supporters.

        Toronto media is so self-indulgent a city columnist wrote an article on why he’s not running for mayor, then didn’t comment on the candidates. SO much more progressive than Calgary! HAHA

        • JT 2 months ago

          + Edmonton

        • Greg Mullan 2 months ago

          Currently Alberta is riding a crest of prosperity due to the sudden resurgence of the price of oil.
          Unfortunately,a change is already on the way. As oil prices fall so does Alberta’s economy.
          Those seeking work in the tech industry may fare better than those seeking their fortune in the oil and gas industry.
          The new eastern migrants will also experience a huge change in social dynamics because of the political atmosphere here. Even if one doesn’t have much interest in such matters,it is hard to ignore.
          The people here are friendly and intelligent but one has to realize that the so called hands off government here is anything but.
          Health and education occupations are particularly vulnerable to political interference,so choose your career wisely.

      • Average Man 2 months ago

        Forty percent of Calgarians aren’t white, and that number is increasing all the time. They’ve elected two South Asian mayors. This just doesn’t hold up.

        • Fierce 2 months ago

          How dare you bring facts into a virtue signaling diatribe.

        • JOE 2 months ago

          As a Millennial myself am quite shocked alot of us are not very bright or have any clues whatsoever, this is not setting a fine example for the next generation blow us in Heiarchy Gen Zs, they will truly be the lost generation, with our current line of thoughts devoid of any critical thinking.

        • Smity 1 month ago

          I’m in a group of 9 families heading West Like minded conservative libertarians and it’s not because of housing or jobs, it’s to make the freedom capital with or without the rest of Canada 🤷🏻‍♂️

      • Gen Z 2 months ago

        Progress?

        Many of my Gen Z friends are becoming acquainted with Pierre Poilievre’s promises for change; something that happened before fascism in Europe during Weimar Germany.

        Why would they vote to live in a tent or pay $800 a month for a mattress inside a room with six other people while working in a factory in Toronto?

      • Charles 2 months ago

        I’m outa here once I get some more money saved up. New Brunswick or Northern Ontario even… other then family there’s nothing here thats affordable, crime is rising, and pay is just average compared to expenses which are rapidly increasing.

      • JOE 2 months ago

        Progress without economic growth and more opportunities is pointless.

      • Ben 2 months ago

        Do not believe dated stereotypes.

        Calgary is the third diverse city in Canada. The city that elected the first Muslim Mayor in North America and recently elected a Woman from South Asia as the city mayor.

      • B 2 months ago

        Calgary is the 3rd diverse city in Canada.
        Dated stereotypes about Calgary is the matter of long time ago.
        The city is very progressive. The current mayor is a woman from South Asia and the previous one was a Muslim from Africa

  • Estevam 2 months ago

    Ontario open for business and investors NOT for families.

    • Trader Jim 2 months ago

      It’s open for families that will pay your rent. I don’t even care if my house craters 50% at this point, it’s just not sustainable with these clowns.

  • Ethan Wu 2 months ago

    If you’re struggling and not prepared to change things, you’ll be better off moving to a place like Calgary or Edmonton. Had you done so in 2018 when they re-elected Tory, you would be way ahead of the curve. It’s still an option but Toronto’s just a subsidiary of Rogers. It doesn’t want people to succeed, it wants people to bring in MRR.

    Four years of losing your money and waiting for things to change and deep pockets doubled down.

  • richard stanbridge 2 months ago

    ontario is known as the business province as far back as allan fotheringham. and since financial matters tend to run on greed and fear, greed being in charge for many years. now they are going to see what fear looks like.

  • Ron Bruce 2 months ago

    70% of Canadian Manufacturing is located in a corridor along the 401 Hwy between Montreal and the US Border and along the QE. High-tech machinery and a talent pool that has been developed for generations. So who is moving to other Provinces where this infrastructure doesn’t exist? You might move people, but you can’t move infrastructure. For Canadians to compete on the global stage, you can’t work in warehouses moving boxes, let alone buy a house.

    Moving to Vancouver, the money-laundering capital of Canada, isn’t a good choice when it comes to affordable housing or even finding employment.

    • Larry 2 months ago

      Yes there’s manufacturing along those corridors but those jobs are all taken up. There’s nothing for new comers and if a job is posted you get 500 people applying. I really don’t know what’s in Alberta either that’s attracting people besides cheaper housing. If there’s no work what’s the point.

    • Ben 2 months ago

      I do not think that crumbling, under spended over utilized infrastructure in Ontario has any advantages over freshly built infrastructure in Alberta over the last 15 years.
      Calgary and Edmonton are more business friendly places with less taxes, less costs, less red tapes, younger and highly educated population.

    • Jake During 2 months ago

      Manufacturing is dying in Ontario. We are now just assembling stuff. We hardly produce anything. So your argument does not make sense.

    • Scott 2 months ago

      It’s 70% of a declining industry. Most of the new industrial construction along these corridors are warehouses. We couldn’t even make face masks in a crisis until individual Canadians stepped up. Read Vaclav Smil’s recent article. Canada will be disbanded within the next 20 years at this rate…

      • Ben 2 months ago

        Worn out, crumbling, under spent, over utilized infrastructures in Ontario & Quebec have no advantages over freshly built infrastructure in Alberta in the last decade.
        Alberta is more business friendly with less red tapes, less taxes, less business expenses. Plus Calgary and Edmonton have one of the youngest and most educated people in Canada.

  • TJT 2 months ago

    I recently saw ad for a 1 bedroom condo for rent in central TO, asking for $3200/month. That’s roughly the average net income in Canada. How much longer can this possibly go on? Yet it seems like the masses are still running around splurging money (or likely credit) left right and center. Malls are packed, restaurants are full, everyone is travelling. I just don’t get it anymore.

  • Gen Z 2 months ago

    It’s almost $2,000 a month to rent a one bedroom in Scarborough, yet the only jobs there are $15/hr minimum wage factory jobs.
    Students might like doing that and sharing a bed with ten other people in a room, but if you’re a father or mother and have kids, Toronto apartments are too expensive. It’s a dystopian hell. Tent cities are increasing in Toronto.

  • Inflation 2 months ago

    If you’re a newcomer planning to live in Toronto, good luck.

    Minimum wage jobs are plentiful. Rent starts from $1,700 for a bachelor apartment. Ironically, a three bedroom apartment in Toronto starts from $2,500 a month. If you want to move to Toronto with your family to live in homeless shelters then be my guest.

    You have to stop comparing yourself to the property-owning class who bought those properties for generations ago, were wealthy in the first place or came from a position of power and privilege in Canadian society.

    Good luck sharing the mattress with your wife and children and pay $850 a month for the privilege.

    I don’t see how Toronto is any better than major cities in emerging economies. It’s in fact worse than emerging economies.

    At least in emerging economies, as long as you are employed you aren’t treated like an animal or trash.

    In Toronto, once you are homeless, the powers that be don’t care if Toronto Police murder homeless people in cold blood.

  • Thurston Nuggs 2 months ago

    Alberta will definitely draw for its considerably lower cost of living, but it’s the birthplace of the white Nationalist-friendly, anti-immigrant CPC (Reform), fundamentalist Christian, anti-vaxx/Convoy communities. They all converge in the province. Outer GTA residents may be biting, as they tend to skew Conservative, but the highly-prized tech talent they want has a tendency to be very Liberal.

  • Westcoast 2 months ago

    I can understand why people want to live in BC, but Ontario? That place sucks, Toronto has a few good things about it but I certainly wouldn’t want to live there year round. And the much vaunted tech jobs pay way lower than American counterparts and only a bit higher than Vancouver. And a lot of those companies are fine with remote.

    I’m surprised people weren’t inter-provincing sooner. The best option is leaving Canada obviously, but failing that almost any province is better long term than Ontario.

  • Woolsock 2 months ago

    The purpose of life shouldn’t be maintaining the southern Ontario real-estate industry, or crushing your gonads to afford a garage with some attached human storage for when you’re not at work or school.

    If you look at lifestyle, there’s kind of a triangle of desirable aspects: money to do what you like doing; space or environment to do what you like doing; time to do what you like doing.

    It’s almost impossible to satisfy any one aspect of that triangle in Ontario. You can never make enough money here; there’s no space here (even if we’re less than half as dense as some areas of Europe) to do anything; and you spend so much time hustling or sitting in traffic there’s no time to do anything enjoyable except maybe spend some of the money you just hustled for on take-out because you don’t have time to cook. Nevermind extracurriculars, I mean, you can’t even get your kids into swimming lessons.

    Meanwhile, visiting family in another province they make almost as much, but have more than double the time and space to slow down and enjoy life.

    If you build it they actually will come. Ontario really needs to work on livability – that includes decent transit and setting aside new park/recreation areas – and suppressing the cost of housing, not necessarily a “biz first” approach. But Doug, Debt, Banks, Real-estate and blah blah blah.

  • Les Robertson 2 months ago

    Alberta may not have as many transportation facilities as Ontario, but it generally has better roads and more modern infrastructure> Calgary is one of the better cities for driving and transit. The Stoney Trail is nearly complete. Edmonton.s ring road is done. The Calgary-Edmonton will soon pass Montreal,s population. It will then be the second most populated area in Canada. It has passed the Lower Mainland of BC 15 years ago. Calgary is second only to Toronto for head offices. The Nisku Industrial area near Edmonton is a major player in world technology. Ontario is a great province but many do not realize what is going on and has happened in Alberta. Both Calgary and Edmonton have surpassed Ottawa and Hamilton’s GDP and population latest 2022 estimates.

  • Stanley Walker 2 months ago

    Don’t even think about it, we already have way too many liberals in Alberta, we don’t need anymore to ruin the last little bit of quality of life that we still have.

  • george 2 months ago

    19.3% moving to BC!!! To move from the 2nd unaffordable city with better jobs to No 1 unaffordable where there is no industry is just a bad move, unless those moving have already tons of $$$

  • Klein Madchen 2 months ago

    Ontario has bedbugs infestation, can’t beat that!

  • Andre Masse 2 months ago

    I thought Trudeau was the one who fired all the professionals and all the experts in Canada and now we live with the Trudeau’s good enough club. If people want to believe a lying traitor to all Canadians. Ford has proven he is just a yes man for Trudeau the greed starts at the top.
    Trudeau foundation had just over a million dollars when he was elected the first time. Now it’s at almost a billion and he did this in five years. How?

  • Malcolm Leitao 1 month ago

    Dear Sir:

    The RMHT is the worst Organization in the world! People Should move to Calgary, Alberta or Edmonton, Alberta or Toronto, Ontario or Halifax, Nova Scotia where it is Cheaper! Be assured PGT is Communism! The Sickle and the Hammer!

    Yours Sincerely,

    Malcolm Leitao

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