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.

Stephen Punwasi

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