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Canadians are leaving the country’s most expensive cities for affordable homes in cheaper regions, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.

Vancouver saw its highest net loss to interprovincial migration in over two decades, losing almost 5,000 people after gaining nearly 11,000 the prior year.

Statistics Canada’s data showcased Canada’s 41 census metropolitan areas and their populations as of July 1, 2023. Nearly 75% of Canadians live in a census metropolitan area.

Between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023, Alberta recorded the biggest gains from interprovincial migration, surpassing British Columbia, which Canadians have historically migrated to for its pleasant weather, short winters, mountains, and overall natural beauty.

All four of Alberta’s census metropolitan areas saw net gains from interprovincial migration. Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge saw their biggest net gains since 2001/2002, at 26,662, 16,082, and 1,651 respectively. Red Deer saw its highest net interprovincial gain since 2005/2006, at 1,277.

On the flip side of the coin, every single census metropolitan area in Ontario saw a net loss from interprovincial migration between July 1, 2022, and 2023. This is the second consecutive year that every CMA in Ontario saw net losses. Twelve out of fifteen of Ontario’s CMA’s saw their biggest net losses since 2001/2002.

In 2022, a net 22,921 Ontarians left the province for Alberta, followed by 10,464 net Ontarians moving to Nova Scotia. 

Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver lost 93,024, 20,624, and 18,399 residents who migrated to other cities within their respective provinces. 

While Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver saw outflows driven by people under 40 years old, Edmonton and Calgary saw inflows of those in that age group.

Housing affordability reached an all-time low in Canada in April. 

Vancouver was among the worst cities, where households had to spend 106.3% of their income to cover home ownership costs. Households in Toronto had to spend 84.8% of their incomes to cover homeownership costs. Meanwhile, Montreal reached a record-high income requirement for housing costs, at 53.3%.

While homeownership costs in Alberta have risen, only 36.8% of income is required to cover homeownership costs in Edmonton. Calgary is notably higher, at 48.3%. In Regina, homeowners need only 30.4% of their income to cover homeownership costs, bested by only St. John’s at 28.7%.

The recent data from Statistics Canada pointed towards the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s 2024 Housing Market Outlook.

“This report indicates that more affordable home prices and a stronger economic outlook in the Prairies make them particularly attractive to homebuyers and job seekers at the expense of Ontario and British Columbia,” reads the Statistics Canada report.

While some large cities saw losses to interprovincial migration from people moving West or even to other cities within the same province, they still experienced net gains from immigrants. 

Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver’s populations increased by 221,588,  129,264, and 119,650 between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023, respectively.

“For the first time since at least 2001/2002, the population growth resulting from the net increase in the number of non-permanent residents (NPRs) was higher than that from immigrants in most CMAS (31 of 41) from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023,” reads the report.

In April, Canada’s population saw its most rapid growth in over six decades, largely driven by temporary immigration.

All CMAs in British Columbia, except for one, saw fewer immigrants than the previous year. The CMAs that experienced the largest immigration increases were St. John’s (+81.2%), Saskatoon (+69.4%), and Regina (+68.6%).