Canadians Permanently Leaving Was Unusually High For The First Quarter

Canada’s booming population growth is obfuscating a trend policymakers should be watching — emigration. Emigration, the act of moving from a country, saw an unusual surge in Q1 2022. It was the biggest Q1 for emigration in a half decade, shows Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data. The recent surge marks the end of a trend of slowing outflows that began in 2017.

Canada Just Saw The Biggest Q1 For Emigration Since 2017

Canada’s surging population growth is masking a problem — talent outflows. About 13,100 people said good-bye to Canada in Q1 2022, up 42% from the same quarter last year. Q1 is typically a slow quarter, but this was the biggest first quarter since 2017 — a definite outlier.

Canada Has Seen A Half Decade Trend of Falling Outflows Reverse

Emigration from Canada showed unusually high annual growth — the biggest since 2004. Yes, there’s a base effect but a global recession typically produces those. After all, recessions produce new opportunities for those with skill and capital.

The most important takeaway is the breaking of the trend. Last quarter wasn’t just a jump higher, but the only increase in a half decade. It’s not a “break the glass in case of an emergency” level of emigration, but dismissing it would be a mistake. Canada’s population was booming prior to 2020 and was able to shrink emigration. 

Nearly Half of Canadians Leaving The Country Were From Ontario

Almost all emigrants left from just three provinces. Ontario was the source of nearly half of outflows (47.1%) — the biggest source of people leaving, by far. It was followed by BC (20.4%) in a distant second, and Alberta (13.5%). Three provinces known for high skill labor and pricey real estate.

Like interprovincial migration data yesterday, this doesn’t mean the population is shrinking. Canada’s population is actually growing at a breakneck speed. However, the acceleration can be a sign that Canada’s attractiveness might be slipping. 

Earlier this year, the Nomad Capitalist Passport Index downgraded Canada for entrepreneurs. They attributed it not to anything Canada has done, per se. However, the rest of the world is doing so much more to compete for talent, while Canada rests on a reputation that arguably no longer reflects the environment.

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  • Ron Bruce 5 months ago

    WOW! supposedly, 2 million are waiting to immigrate to Canada while the talent pool is leaving. The question is, “will those coming be a better economic contributor than those leaving”?

    Somebody must be contributing to our National debt as it keeps on increasing. https://www.debt.ca/debt-clock We all can’t all work for the Government. Otherwise, Canada can’t operate.

    The Canadian Taxpayers Federation claims that the clock and Canada’s federal debt are growing by $878 per second, which is $52,701 per minute, $3.1 million per hour, or $75.9 million daily.

    • KG 5 months ago

      Yes, and 20 million people are waiting for a Lamborghini but the cost gets in the way, genius.

      Canada couldn’t even fill it’s old quota without dropping immigration scores.

  • Agent bob 5 months ago

    Many are leaving because it is no longer possible to buy a home and thus have a more secure future.

    • Imperil Donnington 5 months ago

      No they aren’t, it’s due to the immigration policies of Trump, which have been reversed. I have 4 people that I know in my neighborhood that were on H1Bs and were waiting for renewal and we’re scared so transferred up here. Their intentions were always to return to the US when Trump was gone and one already has. I’m guessing there is a ton of this if I personally know of four families in a single subdivision.

      • Tyler 5 months ago

        Ha. No it’s not. I moved to Austin from Toronto because there’s nothing left in Toronto but condos. All of the bars have been replaced with chains, the shops are now bland global chains, the clubs have shrunk to 2-3, even the movie theaters downtown are closing soon to make way for, you guessed it, more condos.

        In 10-20 years down the line, it might be a great place if it can retain talent. It’ll have to go through a depressing lull in that time while prices correct or things stagnate, so it just makes more sense to see you on the other side.

        • Imperil Donnington 5 months ago

          The reason I know you didn’t move to Austin is because you just described it in a nutshell, except you were trying to refer to Toronto. Especially considering Austin is one of the largest bubble cities in the US right now you must be hearing it enough to pretend that. Not only are those exact same things happening in Austin but affordability is dropping like crazy, which is why a few friends have or are moving out.

      • Warren 5 months ago

        Wow Imperil. President Biden is doing great… no country in history has collapsed so quickly in a few months other than for reasons of military invasion…

    • Anthony 5 months ago

      I love how this article doesn’t mention ANYTHING about how Canadians are leaving Canada because of Justin Trudeau and his woke/radical ideas and mandates. This is why I’m leaving this country.

      • David Chan 5 months ago

        It doesn’t dive into any of the reasons because it would be speculative without polling individuals that left.

        From my personal insights, friends were considering moving due to home costs. Once the health measures allowed restricted them they considered moving to the country or relocating to the US. Some just went to Florida and Arizona where they were free to move around.

        If you’re in your 20s or 30s, the past two years have been very different than it was for people in their 50s and 60s. The former were exploited to inflate the assets of the latter, and now they want to know why they’re fine with leaving.

        • Cordell 5 months ago

          I fully agree with you. Canada has to be better to retain people in. Cost of living is too high compare to country like Mexico where sun shine 365 a year. Less taxes and no Trudeau or jagmeet to tell you what is good for you…

      • Lindsay 5 months ago

        Amen, that’s why me and my family are leaving, don’t recognize this country anymore….sad that individual rights and Freedoms are only important if you want an abortion….

        • Brutal 5 months ago

          Good riddens! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

      • Trevor McKegney 5 months ago

        Bye!

      • Scott 5 months ago

        I think it’s implied if you read between the lines. Government policies have not and are not helping Canadians, but are transferring wealth upwards. Unlike our many layers of government, BD analyzes statistics to draw conclusions. Example: both the PC and NDP in Ontario promised to build annually, 2x the housing stock that’s ever been built in Ontario…

        • Fred 5 months ago

          It’s tough to say but I know many talented people that immigrate to Canada because it is easier to get in and then they can job hunt in the US.

  • Vince Porter 5 months ago

    Could it be related to the increasing tendency of protesters to stop industrial developments of all kinds using extralegal means while seemingly being immune to prosecution? When one woodpecker nest stops a pipeline, what does that tell the world’s investors? That we’re environmentally wise and sensitive, or, that we’ve lost all perspective and have gone completely crazy? Is a government that thrives on triggers and virtue signaling good for long term survival? The ruthless rationalists will employ their money ruthlessly, and, Canada may be losing its appeal.

    • RW 5 months ago

      Yes, the NIMBYs are the reason and not because even the worst paid American tech hub pays more than Canadian tech hubs. How did you crack this one? For me, no amount of money will get me to move, just permit times for you to build a deck.

      Reading your comment is a good argument against the value of Canada’s public education system.

    • SY 5 months ago

      I completely agree with you! There seem to be protests for everything. I work in tech and I don’t see a future in Canada. I’m leaving later this year. Although real estate is more expensive in the city that I’m moving into than here in Canada, there are more opportunities there. If you have skills and capital, you are better off elsewhere.

  • Bea 5 months ago

    With stagnant wages, while prices continue to skyrocket, as well dad the classics, racism, etc…It’s no wonder…

  • Shabba Ranks 5 months ago

    People were leaving up towards 2016 because that was when the housing market was red hot and peaking, then 2017 and after it took a downturn, then people couldn’t leave 2020-2021 due to covid, and then 2022 people could travel again and housing market opened up.

    • Ian Brown 5 months ago

      wow, you can read. The question is why was the trend declining from 2017 to 2020, before COVID, but has now been showing rapid growth out, genius.

  • John wang 5 months ago

    I work as a nurse and so many of my fellow nurses are leaving to the US for triple the wages! If you need hospital care do not go to Canadian hospitals the staffing is horrible and people are dying from staffing issues.

  • Stephen Marshall 5 months ago

    Canada is an Oligarchy consisting of a few large multinationals in each category. There is price fixing everywhere. It’s not organized but businesses will set prices at the same “highest price” as there competitor. There maybe some minor differences. Gouging and is widespread now because they need to make up for the pandemic. Once someone sees that the population will pay the price, everyone jumps on the bandwagon. An airbnb RV mediocre trailer on a side lot in “Ontario”wine country $120/night. Landlords trying to remove tenants because they can increase the rent by 20%. It’s basically what the market can bare.
    Needless to say I have started an immigration process and moving to another country. Canada is not the best option and the healthcare stinks. I can’t find a doctor and I can’t even pay for one. Every country has free walkin clinics. In my new home, I can pay $40/month for insurance and meet with my doctor on my timetable. His/her office is not packed with people. Free is not the answer.

    • Scott 5 months ago

      Excellent observation. In English Canada it’s also known as the “Family Compact.” MacKenzie was chased out of Upper Canada because he railed against exactly this. That was 1837. La plus ca change!

  • Jack Dillin 5 months ago

    Incredibly useless article with little actual journalism done.

    Which Canadians are emigrating? Where are they emigrating to?

    These are questions that need to be asked and answered to provide meaning to this topic and article.

    • Richard 5 months ago

      No, data journalism covers the data. If data doesn’t exist, and surveys are junk data, it doesn’t serve any useful purpose to sample a small number and project it for any reason other than your boomer mind can’t handle that problems are bigger than can be written in a 6 paragraph research note.

  • Marco 5 months ago

    My family and I will also flee from Trudeau’s Canada. The guy is destroying our beautiful country. My hearth is broken but we can’t stay

  • Imperil Donnington 5 months ago

    No they aren’t, it’s due to the immigration policies of Trump, which have been reversed. I have 4 people that I know in my neighborhood that were on H1Bs and were waiting for renewal and we’re scared so transferred up here. Their intentions were always to return to the US when Trump was gone and one already has. I’m guessing there is a ton of this if I personally know of four families in a single subdivision.

    • Omar 5 months ago

      I actually know quite a few people in Vancouver that relocated to Miami and Austin since the more affordable housing dramatically increases their quality of life. People think the absolute price is the issue but the size of home is also an issue. Spending $800k for a 1 bedroom or $500k in Miami for a 3-bedroom. Hm…

      • Imperil Donnington 5 months ago

        The fact you mentioned Austin, one of the largest bubbles in the US with affordability levels quickly dropping to that of Toronto is hilarious.

    • Heather 5 months ago

      This is a ridiculous statement. People are not leaving Canada because of Trump. They are leaving because Trudeau is spending our country into the poorhouse. House prices are staggering, wages are way below cost of living, healthcare is bleeding staff and is terminal.

  • Danica 5 months ago

    So many are leaving because it takes about 6-8 years for foreign credentials to get recognized in Canada.
    Too many doctors nurses, engineers lawyers etc are working at survival jobs.

    • Ethan Wu 5 months ago

      Not at all the reason. In order for Canada to keep immigration levels its had to reduce the average score for immigration. It’s not attracting doctors and lawyers, regardless of whether or not they’re pretending that’s the issue.

      • So Ki 5 months ago

        I know at least one doctor who lives all by herself in a tiny condo and survives by providing religious tutoring services. Another doctor that makes naans in a restaurant. What a waste of lives and potential.

        The reduction of immigration scores is causing low quality talent to come through, while high quality talent with Canadian experience (and language skills) is looking to leave along with their savings.

  • Vladimir 5 months ago

    We have been living in Toronto since 1995. I have been working since the 2nd day of my arrival in Canada. Now I am 61 years old, I spent all the time at a construction site. Pension 71 bucks and his wife 65. Welcome to reality.

  • Adam 5 months ago

    We have been living in Toronto since 1995. I started working on the 2nd day of my arrival in Canada. Now I am 61 years old, all the time I worked at a construction site. My Pension is $71 and my wife has $65 Welcome to Canada.

  • Andy 5 months ago

    Both my kids are graduating next year and moving to United States of America. they will have degrees from the top notch business school (canada). They will command much higher salaries, better weather and great living standards than Canada. We have started emptying our investment accounts and moving money offshore. Cannot wait to file our final tax return. Sorry Canada you lose.

  • So Ki 5 months ago

    Keep things simple. There is an economic imbalance that is incentivizing Canadians to leave. For a price of a single home in Canada, there are some countries where I can buy 3, 4 or even 5 houses. Immigrants find this attractive and return to their home countries. Others like to take advantage of second passport nations such as Turkey, Portugal, Spain etc. where you have great weather, cheap houses and smaller living costs and can also apply for citizenship when purchasing real estate.

    Unless Canada corrects this imbalance in real estate and real wages and restores hope, this trend will continue. Shortage of flight staff, flight delays and delays in issuing passports are short term measures and will not stop the overall trend. Nor will low quality immigrants fill the vacuum left by fleeing higher quality populace.

    First a trickle, then a flood. For a nation that depends on immigration and population retention, this is a national security issue and must be resolved. Kill real estate and bring it in line with incomes.

  • Ken M 5 months ago

    I’m wondering how long the people leaving were here before they left.

    • Jordan Wattau 5 months ago

      The articles unfortunately do not say which Canadians are leaving since statistics is not allowed to show what races and what groups are leaving and how long they stayed and what percentage are born Canadians. I have Caucasian acquantances whose Canadian born children, for example, have left Canada as they see opportunity elsewhere and also do not want to be victims of “white people are bad” agenda of the last couple of years. I am looking to leave Canada, if possible, when I retire and i have done portion of my post graduate studies in GTA. I am fed up with immigration trends, wokism, immigrant populations showcasing non Western lifestyle sentiment via their religious “rights” and so on. Add to this cost of living increases in the last 5 years and time to evaluate the situation. People need to understand that many new immigrants need a lot of help as they bring their elderly parents, children, two or three viwes if they are muslim and out of this group only one or two people will be working. So, system is getting overburdened and this aspect started to show due to covid pandemic.

  • Troy 5 months ago

    For me is that Canada don’t respect your telant. I was born in Jamaica came here at 10 year old now i am went to some of the best trade school here but the leader’s of this country walk all over them treats us like trash so some of us had all we can take so we look away out it not we do not love Canada Canada don’t love us so we find someone to love us if not you we will find some other countries that will.

  • Glenn Treml 5 months ago

    Canada is a good country to live in if one has the income to do so. But with the rising costs of the basics, of having a roof over one’s head, the cost of food and fuel and a whole slew of taxes it is very difficult to live comfortably on a modest wage. On the other hand if one moves south of the border, a modest wage can mean a very comfortable level of living depending upon the state. Canada also has very strict laws that limit choices found in other countries.

  • Eric Hughes 5 months ago

    People fleeing the country after travel mandates have lifted comes as no surprise. Nobody wants to live in a communist dictatorship.

    • Marco 5 months ago

      That is exactly it. The dictator Trudeau has made Canadian’s life miserable and turned our beautiful country to shit. I hope we, Canadian, will get rid of the dictator as soon as possible.

  • Tom 5 months ago

    My family is leaving next year. The housing crisis can’t be fixed at this point, and even if it could be, it would be political poison to do so. Even the government admits that the “Canadian Dream” is closed. Young people are constantly being told to taper their definitions of a “good life”. I’m simply not willing to do so.

    Its likely true that most Canadian Millennials will never own a home. I can’t change the “Millennial” part, but “Canadian” is flexible. I’d love to stay, but for my financial and mental well-being, we simply have to go.

    • Peter 5 months ago

      Excellent reply. Do what is best for you. I have moved here from abroad a long time ago and will stay as I am nearing retirement and the home is paid for. But, for my kids, I tell them same thing; Go where you can make the best living.

    • Brutal 5 months ago

      So which country are you moving to?

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