Canadians Continue To Flee Real Estate Bubbles To More Affordable Provinces

Canadians are still dumping expensive provinces for, well, less expensive ones. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) released its latest interprovincial migration estimates for Q3 2022. The biggest losers of residents to other provinces were BC and Ontario, the former printing its first net outflows in nearly a decade. The biggest winners were Alberta and Nova Scotia, which managed to attract a significant inflow from other provinces. 

Net Interprovincial Migration 

Net interprovincial migration is the balance of people that arrive and leave for other provinces. Positive numbers mean more people have arrived from other provinces than left. That’s good news—not only is a province able to attract people, but it’s retaining them as well. 

Negative growth means the opposite—more people are leaving a province than arriving. This is a negative, since that implies Canadians see less opportunity in a province.  

Interprovincial migration is an important sentiment indicator. These are people with experience in Canada, and a more granular read on what’s real and what’s a mirage. When they start leaving, it means they see more opportunity elsewhere. Opportunity can be economic or quality of life related. 

Total population might not reflect this due to immigration, which tends to cluster in hubs. However, immigrants tend to move to a region for better opportunities. They’ll inevitably notice locals see better opportunities elsewhere, and will begin to follow. Eventually the new hubs will attract immigrants directly if regions hemorrhaging their talent don’t correct course. 

Canadians Are Dumping Ontario & BC For Other Provinces

Ontario residents continue to leave for other provinces at a breakneck speed. The province had a net outflow of 11,600 people in Q3 2022, meaning the outflow increased by 61.5% from last year. It was the 11th consecutive quarter Ontario failed to attract more residents than it lost to other provinces. 

British Columbia (BC) surprised with an outflow for the first time in nearly a decade. The province saw an interprovincial net outflow of 4,800 people in Q3, compared to a net increase a year ago. The province hadn’t seen an outflow since 2013 prior to this, so it’s kind of big news.  

Canadian Net Interprovincial Migration

The net flow of migration between provinces. Positive numbers mean more people arrived from other provinces than left, while negative numbers mean outflows.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling

More affordable provinces have seen outflows, but these regions typically have weaker employment. Interprovincial outflows were also seen in Manitoba (-3,200 people), Quebec (-1,552), Saskatchewan (-1,500), and Newfoundland (-12). Though the last one is virtually flat, so not entirely an issue. 

Alberta Is Calling Canadians— and So Are The Maritimes

Alberta and the Maritimes continue to be the big winners. Alberta’s interprovincial migration showed a net inflow of 19,300 people in Q3, up 400% from a year before. It was the fifth consecutive quarter that more residents arrived than left for other provinces. 

Canadians are also fleeing to the three provinces that make up the Maritimes. Positive inflows were seen in Nova Scotia (+2,300 people), New Brunswick (+1,500), and PEI (+2).  

Once again, provincial populations can grow while maintaining net outflows. However, structural issues might be forming—especially if those fleeing are a specific demographic. At the same time, provinces that manage to attract more Canadians are likely doing something right… or at least better than Ontario.



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  • Rick 1 year ago

    I just found out they removed the borrowing of down-payments from relatives or elsewhere for home purchases. You now have to show you’ve actually had the money in your account for a while.

    • Itchy Bear 1 year ago

      Pretty sure this has been a thing for a good decade. If the money wasn’t in your account for at least 6 months or so, they want to know where it was from, and you need gift letters (cover the bank, but courts don’t give them much credence) from any family members who contributed.

      If they stopped accepting the gift letters, first time home buyers will likely become far more scarce.

    • Ash 1 year ago

      Friend of mine is going through this right now with the new rules changes. Will close on Thursday. Very stressful time for them…

  • Mark Bayly 1 year ago

    Immigration will replace the people leaving and they will be collecting welfare cheques and any new subsidized housing that is available Ontario is a welfare state with the highest non federal debt in the world But they vote Liberal and that’s all that matters

    • Dorim 1 year ago

      You got it Mark. This is as truthful as it gets. It’s called the purge.

  • NIGEL REYNOLDS 1 year ago

    Two quick points on inter-provincial migration:
    1. It’s no surprise that there is an outflow from Ontario as the Province is the recipient of many of Canada’s new immigrants, many of whom move out of Province to find work and/or reunite family units.
    2. It would be interesting to know who’s moving – Is it really in search of work or perhaps large numbers of boomers looking for somewhere more affordable to live as major centers in Ontario for example become too pricey for those moving on to a fixed income.

  • zen billings 1 year ago

    toronto has become a nightmare in the making at all levels dispite all the media attempts to put a positive spin on how great a city it is. the only redeeming feature is that its were the great jobs are. the rest is most definitely nightmarish.

  • Dorim 1 year ago

    Well this stands to reason. Our Canadian families are opting out of having children, and spending their entire working lives paying down their bills.

    Now the younger generation who don’t have an inheritance are nothing but slaves in an over expensive province.

    I did this at the turn of the century , being in Ontario for 23 years took the good out of me. Spent my money on overpriced automobiles to get to an under paid job that provides just enough to pay off the mortgage and bills.

    I can relate to what’s happening, and it’s time we address housing as a place to live and raise a family and not something to be speculated . This is the twisted truth, a bunch of investors purchasing houses , setting on them and waiting for the next influx of people, then selling the, at an outrageous price.
    As a Canadian citizen I think it’s time to rethink who we are re assist where priorities lie.

  • Dorim 1 year ago

    So Zen you’ve called an ace an ace. But most of the Torontoiansn are from somewhere else. They have made their loot and moved on to places where they can at least have a sensible retirement.
    We love it when they come our way, they bring new money and breath new life into other les wealthy provinces.

  • MJ Observer 1 year ago

    Moving to Nova Scotia may look good on paper but there are serious issues that can’t be overlooked and won’t be addressed overnight.
    “N.S. doctor wait list continues to grow. There are now more than 116,000 Nova Scotians on the province’s waitlist for a family doctor.” As of Oct’22

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