Canadians will increasingly leave Ontario and Quebec for BC and Alberta: TD Economics

For the next couple of years, Canadians will increasingly shift toward the higher paying jobs better employment rates in the West, said the report, continuing a trend which has been ongoing for years.

Whereas British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan have all come up the major recipients recently in this shift, there inevitably have to be some losers as well.  Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, have all lost net population to other provinces in the past four years combined.

Despite a strong international migration, Ontario has seen the seen the largest total of net outflow, peaking at 15,141 more people leaving for other provinces than coming in for 2008, according to TD Economics. The future doesn’t look much brighter, as the forecast for 2011 and 2012 also show net outflows for Ontario of 8,014 and 9,452 respectively.

Quebec had a net flow of 12,675 in 2007. The numbers have improved, but the TD report still predicts 3,597 to leave in 2011 for new provinces, and 5,011 in 2012. Although like Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal is still a major hub for immigrants from international destinations.

Most of those exiting Ontario and Quebec have headed out West. Some 300,000 Canadians per year, or 1% of the population, have participated in interprovincial migration, according the report.

In 2007 alone, British Columbia picked up 16,776 new residents from other provinces. Despite being the most expensive place to live in Canada, some 6,413 people will move to BC in 2001, followed by 7,410 in 2012, according to TD.

Pascal Gauthier, a senior economist with TD, said both employment and quality of life are key factors.

“The economy is quite diversified, and if I’m thinking about areas like the Lower Mainland, the employment rate is still better than the rest of the country,” he said.

Many Canadians have chosen to retire out West, as well.

“People who have left BC tend to come back,” said Gauthier. “It’s that whole quality of life aspect, and the weather certainly plays in its favor.”

Alberta will benefit even more in coming years than BC, according to the report. After 17,845 existing Canadians moved to Alberta in 2008, TD predicts 7,148 more will come in 2011, followed by 11,029 in 2012.

“We expect a slight widening in unemployment and income disparities to favour those that are already net recipients at the expense of other provinces in the next couple of years,” said the report.

The reasoning behind the shifts is jobs, according to TD. BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan have all seen stronger employment rates than the rest of the country, and all have attracted the most Canadian migrants.

An exception would be Manitoba, which has also had an unemployment rate consistently lower than the country. However, Canadians were lured to Manitoba’s neighboring provinces which offered higher salaries, according to TD.

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