Over 1 In 5 New Canadians Are Considering Leaving, Cost of Living A Major Factor

Canada bills itself as an immigration hub, but more immigrants are unhappy after arriving. A new Leger survey conducted on behalf of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), shows the cost of living is becoming a big deterrent. That’s the number one challenge new Canadians see weighing on future immigration. It’s become so bad, over 1 in 5 new Canadians are considering moving to a new country within the next 2 years.

Canadians Think They Get Immigration. Recent Immigrants Disagree

Canadians are generally detached from reality when it comes to immigration. The survey found 54% of people don’t understand the challenges immigrants face. When new Canadians were asked the same question, 72% felt Canadians don’t understand their challenges. If Canadians don’t understand what immigrants need, they risk ignoring their needs. It becomes hard to attract people if you’re going to ignore the challenges they face. It’s even more difficult to keep those with the highest level of mobility.

Canadians Don’t See Cost of Living As A Problem For Immigrants, But Recent Immigrants Do

Canada’s general population underestimates the impact high living costs have on immigration. Less than a third (31%) feel a high cost of living would prevent immigrants from staying in Canada. New Canadians feel very different, with the majority (64%) feeling a high cost of living is an issue. A bit at odds with the investment thesis on immigration maintaining high levels, despite the cost of living.

Canada’s Rising Cost of Living Will Deter Immigration By Age

The share of Canada’s general population (“general”) and New Canadians (“recent immigrants”) that feel a higher cost of living will deter future immigration.

Source: Leger; ICC; Better Dwelling.

The response by age shows younger immigrants are the ones that see cost of living as a problem. About 75% of new Canadians between 18 and 34 years old, felt cost of living would slow future immigration. Middle-aged Canadians in the 34 to 44 age bracket (67%) and 45 to 54 (62%) felt relatively similar. Only those 55 and older had a minority (49%) which felt the cost of living would present an immigration hurdle. Immigrants above the age of 55 typically have very different reasons for the move. Younger households tend to move for economic opportunity, which can explain the difference.

Over 1 in 5 New Canadians Are Considering Leaving

A lot of new Canadians are considering leaving the country within two years. The survey found 22% of new Canadians are considering leaving within two years. Another 21% were neutral, and undecided on how they currently feel. The remaining 57% said it was unlikely they’ll move. A majority is unlikely to move, but this is still a significant outflow. If those immigrating to Canada face similar issues driving people to leave, eventually immigrants just move to wherever those leaving head. 

“Canada is a nation of immigrants — and one of the stories we tell ourselves is that we are welcoming to new immigrants, wherever they may be from,” says ICC CEO Daniel Bernhard. “But while this may be generally true, new survey data points to the fact that many new Canadians are having a crisis of confidence in Canada — and that should be ringing alarm bells all over Ottawa.”

The survey comes after an unusual surge of Canadians leaving the country permanently. Emigration, severing your residency ties, reported the biggest Q4 since 1974. With the OECD forecasting Canada will see the slowest growth of any advanced economy for the next 40 years, there’s quite a few weights on immigration. Canada’s global reputation as an attractive immigration hub with opportunity is built largely on its past results. The current wave of immigrants are starting to find the place that earned the reputation is very different from the current environment. 



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  • Boris 2 years ago

    Not a surprise any more.

  • Ike 2 years ago

    Canadian life is not for everyone. It’s cold. It’s expensive. Mariajua shops everywhere.

  • Mark Bayly 2 years ago

    Many people would like to leave Canada especially the working class Working 50 hours a week to pay for room and board with no future in sight Not many countries are pro immigrant anymore unless you have a skill that is in huge demand you probably won’t be leaving.

  • Jappan Sing 2 years ago

    I was expecting higher than 1 in 5. Are they returning to their home country or are they going to a third country. I expect most of them are leaving to USA.

    • Ronald 2 years ago

      Lots chatter among friends and associates regarding the move to the U.S.A. Mainly red states with lower taxes, cheaper housing, and less far left craziness.

  • Alan 2 years ago

    Maybe those young newcomers need to be told by a Canadian Boomer that they need to cut on Tim Hortons, avocado toast and work harder to pay the C$1,000 a month it is to rent a room inside a basement.

    There are newcomers who work two jobs and they can’t afford to pay the rent, food and tuition costs.

    • Mark Bayly 2 years ago

      Real problem is business should be Importing immigrants not the government Vote Importing immigration is causing the majority of problems on the country Way too many people coming in the country most of them unskilled for a job in the Canadian labour market Like inflation government keeps lying about immigration

  • Kate 2 years ago

    I’ve been waiting to see a write up about this for quite some time. Thanks for popping the cork on it.

  • Tim 2 years ago

    Meanwhile 4 out of 5 people born in Canada would leave if they could get an EU or USA passport.

  • Charlie 2 years ago

    This is so true, I was an immigrant and been here for over 20-years. I own a business with 6 employees, however it is no fun doing business in Canada any more. I am seriously considering wrapping-up and moving out of this country.

  • R T 2 years ago

    Good luck with the ” equity ” in your house 🙂

  • FlipG 2 years ago

    I’m 65 and still working. Born in Canada and my wife immigrated here 35 years ago. When we retire we plan on hitting the road for more afordable pastures. QE… BOC… overall bad management by all levels of Government… have insured the rickety old hamster wheel is guaranteed to spin faster and faster every day…. Unless it doesn’t… which will trigger another disaster.

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