More Canadians Leaving Big Cities As Affordability Crisis Continues

While the population of Canada’s major cities is still increasing due to immigration, many Canadians are finding the cost of living untenable and are moving elsewhere.

The cost of living crisis continues to impact Canadians, and many people are having to move out of our major cities as a result.

According to Stats Canada data, roughly 100,000 people left Toronto between July 1st 2021 and July 1st 2022.

That’s the highest exodus seen in some time.

35,000 people left Montreal, while 14,000 left Vancouver.

However, urban centers in Alberta, and B.C. outside of Vancouver, saw increases.

Alberta has been quite successful in attracting new residents, due to low taxes and a pro-business environment. Perhaps this is why Justin Trudeau is seeking to campaign against Alberta, because he doesn’t like how people are “voting with their feet” against his policies.

Overall, all major cities still saw a net increase in population due to higher immigration levels.

But as the Bloomberg chart below demonstrates, there is a stark and widening divergence as many cities become unaffordable for those already living there:

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Source: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/people-are-leaving-canada-s-biggest-cities-amid-a-housing-crunch-1.1868764

And, BNN Bloomberg notes that Trudeau’s policies come with consequences:

“The data highlight the consequences of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ambitious immigration policies that aim to bring in about half a million permanent residents each year — an amount larger than the size of Halifax, the biggest city in Atlantic Canada. Population growth in the major cities coincided with a period of peak housing prices in most regions.

The benchmark price of a home in Canada was $789,300 (US$587,360) in July of last year, up 43 per cent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. House prices have since started to fall as the central bank increased borrowing costs, but affordability has also deteriorated alongside rising mortgage costs.”

Covering up all of our problems with immigration?

Stagnating GDP growth, wages that can’t keep up with rising prices, crumbling social programs.

Canada is facing difficult times, and that’s putting it mildly.

But rather than address the root cause of these issues, the Liberal government appears determined to try and cover them up by dramatically increasing our population.

Population increases through higher levels of immigration can give the appearance of economic activity, and can indeed generate bigger raw GDP numbers.

But on a person-by-person basis, Canada is not getting any further ahead.

Our money doesn’t go as far, our economy isn’t becoming more productive, and the services we pay for are not being delivered to the level we’ve come to expect.

Massive increases in population won’t fix those problems, and in some cases will in fact exacerbate them.

It’s a point Darshan Maharja made quite effectively in his recent column, which I encourage you to read here.

Now, a Canada that was economically open, was supportive of the Alberta energy sector, and had low taxes could likely handle large immigration increases. And, when the economy is strong, there is little political division when it comes to immigration, since everyone feels like they are getting ahead.

However, by trying to cover up a declining economy with large population increases, the Liberal government is actually making immigration into a much more potentially divisive issue.

Obviously, the Liberals think they can benefit from that as well on a political level, and will accuse any critic of higher immigration levels of being a ‘racist’ or ant-immigration.

But with so many Canadians struggling, and with Canadians across the political spectrum beginning to share their increasing concerns regarding surging immigration levels, the Liberals cynical political games may not work as they once did.

Spencer Fernando

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