The Canadiens’ permanent departures were unusually high in the first quarter

Canada’s rapid population growth is masking a trend that policy makers should watch: emigration. Emigration, the act of leaving a country, saw an unusual increase in the first quarter of 2022. It was the largest first quarter of emigration in half a decade, shows Statistics Canada (Stat Canada). The recent surge marks the end of a trend of slowing exits that began in 2017.

Canada just had the biggest first quarter of emigration since 2017

Canada’s strong population growth masks a problem: the exodus of talent. About 13,100 people said goodbye to Canada in the first quarter of 2022, up 42% from the same quarter last year. The first quarter is usually a slow quarter, but it’s been the strongest first quarter since 2017 – a definite outlier.

Canada has seen the downward trend in outflows reversed over half a decade

Emigration from Canada has shown an unusually high annual growth – the largest since 2004. Yes, there is a base effect, but a global recession usually produces them. After all, recessions create new opportunities for those with skills and capital.

The most important lesson is the trend break. The latest quarter was not just a leap forward, but the only increase in half a decade. This is not a “break glass in case of emergency” level of emigration, but to dismiss it would be a mistake. Canada’s population was booming before 2020 and was able to reduce emigration.

Almost half of Canadians leaving the country were from Ontario

Almost all emigrants left from just three provinces. Ontario was the source of almost half of the departures (47.1%) — by far the largest source of departures. It was followed by British Columbia (20.4%) far behind and Alberta (13.5%). Three provinces known for their highly skilled workforce and expensive real estate.

Like yesterday’s interprovincial migration data, this does not mean that the population is declining. Canada’s population is actually growing at breakneck speed. However, the acceleration may be a sign that Canada’s attractiveness may be declining.

Earlier this year, the Nomad Capitalist Passport Index downgraded Canada for entrepreneurs. They didn’t attribute it to something that Canada did 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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