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. 

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.

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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  • Ahmed 3 years ago

    Genuinely surprised more people aren’t moving to Alberta from Ontario. Ideal business environment, and you don’t have to work in real estate.

    • Ron Tickleman 3 years ago

      Except that it’s a religious fundamentalist racist antivaxxer hellhole?

      • Flipg 3 years ago

        Dear Ron

        Bigotry, intolerance and stupidity are alive and well on both sides of the political spectrum.

        • Paul 3 years ago


          He didn’t say anything about political party but seems like you saved everyone the trouble.

        • SH 3 years ago

          I wonder if Rob also dislikes Alberta’s equalization cheques?

      • Neo 3 years ago

        Yet the most people are fleeing “Woke” Ontario. Go figure.

        • Chris 3 years ago

          Neo – Yet even more people seem are flocking to the “wokest” province of all, British Columbia. Go figure.

          SH – Only half of Canadian provinces get equalization cheques this year, but Ontario isn’t one of them.

      • SH 3 years ago

        Actually Albertans are some of the least religious people in Canada. If you want religious people, New Brunswick is a better bet. But then your comment was founded on delusion rather than fact. No evidence that racism is any worse in AB is any worse than anywhere else in Canada.

        Btw you kid yourself if you think Toronto woke culture isn’t a replacement religion for dim-witted leftists and every bit as toxic as the older religious outlets that you dislike.

    • alberta 3 years ago

      Very cold place.

  • Alex 3 years ago

    Toronto is nice, but there are only so many jobs for these prices. Some restaurants are coming back to life, but I’m still seeing a lot of vacant spots. This started in 2019, it’s not due to the pandemic.

    My household makes well into the 6-figures, and we’d struggle to buy the place we bought 10 years ago at today’s prices. Looking at selling and moving, and embracing life in another region..

    • What about trades going back to Europe? 3 years ago

      Was talking to some colleagues and general contractor clients. Rumours abound that trades (mostly European) are fleeing Canada to go back to their motherlands. Selling their businesses and cashing out. Same smart group who left parts of Europe during their RE binge….lol

      Everyone around me is talking the same, only issue with most is they have kids, are scared and not willing to take risks at this juncture, or job isn’t transferable.

      My GF and I who pre covid would gross north of $400k are looking at golden visas in Europe. Happy to take a pay cut and have better quality of life.

      After travelling throughout the GLOBE, Ontario has nothing to offer except over crowded everything and really pretty glass towers, that sometimes fall depending on how windy. OH and you cant go anywhere with out a RE ad on bus stop, magazine, stop light and opening the mailbox or dinner for that matter =)

      • Chang Xiu 3 years ago

        Do you honestly think anyone believes this comment? You’re the guy constantly posting angry junk because you couldn’t put together a downpayment.

      • SH 3 years ago

        I left Toronto years ago and now live in Western Europe. I had no familial ties or access to passports through ancestry, had to do it all from scratch. Totally worth it. How do 8 weeks annual paid vacation sound? Rich culture and informed, interesting citizens (very much unlike Canadians)? What are you waiting for?

    • neo 3 years ago

      They aren’t coming back to life at 50% capacity. No business in Ontario can. If you are going to introduce a vax passport then it should coincide with full capacity or what’s the point. You offload additional responsibilities and resources and labour to managing these passports but are still stuck with the same capacity limit and less customers.

  • Eli 3 years ago

    I get going to BC and Nova Scotia. Much nicer places to live, even though one is very expensive and the other is only getting there now. I don’t understand people still moving to Ontario, considering you can get great remote jobs.

    • neo 3 years ago

      Nova Scotia winters are brutal. Summers are nice though. Cost of living is much lower except for the propane cartel there that jack prices in those brutal winters.

  • Jamush 3 years ago

    All Canadians are replaceable by immigrants. What the peasants want or need doesn’t matter. Cogs in a hyper capitalist machine. The kids of immigrants also won’t matter. Everyone is replaceable here. Can’t afford kids, no problem, replaceable. Newcomers are willing to live a much lower quality of life, so our establishment is their best friend. Those who complain are bigoted. 1984.

    • BCGuy 3 years ago

      You nailed it.
      I can’t believe what’s happened to Canada in the last 10 years. People put it all on Trudeua because he’s the most glaring culprit but Harper did a lot of the same things. “Pay to play” immigration etc.

  • Steven Murray 3 years ago

    And BC, which is arguably even more “woke” than Ontario, is seeing the largest influx of people from other provinces. Go figure.

    • BCGuy 3 years ago

      Surrey and everything south is “woke”.
      Langley and everything north is not.

    • BC 3 years ago

      BC has much better climate.

  • BCGuy 3 years ago

    Oh I follow this writer on twitter and never realized he wrote here. Very cool.
    Great article.
    I’m guessing the migration is mostly jobs(like it always is). BC is “booming”(although its a debt fueled house of cards) with massive amounts of jobs in real estate, construction, and healthcare. Alberta is having major issues.
    BC is freaking gorgeous though. The real estate costs are insane though. As is the competition to obtain a rental.

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