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

Ken Rigel

Ken Rigel comes from true pioneer stock and was born and raised on a small farm in southern Alberta, where he learned the value of honest hard work.Te...

Ken Rigel comes from true pioneer stock and was born and raised on a small farm in southern Alberta, where he learned the value of honest hard work.Te...

Sep 30 6 minutes read

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.


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.

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.

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. 

*Article by Better Dwelling

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