CBC News – British Columbia has experienced its largest interprovincial migration loss in two decades. Since July 2022, over 12,800 people have relocated from BC to other parts of Canada, marking a significant demographic shift. This period represents the first time in a decade that BC has seen 15 consecutive months where the number of people leaving the province exceeds the influx, with the majority moving to Alberta.
Between July and September 2023, BC saw a net loss of 4,634 people to other provinces, the second-largest quarterly decrease since 2004. This loss nearly equals the 4,700-person deficit experienced over the previous five quarters ending in 2013.
Despite these losses, BC achieved a record number of migrations in the previous quarter and witnessed an addition of 151,437 people to its population of 5.6 million as of 2023. This increase is largely attributed to international immigration, which significantly outweighs the natural and interprovincial migration losses or the number of deaths exceeding births. Overall, BC’s population grew by approximately 4.2% in the past year.
Alberta’s Gains from Interprovincial Migration
In contrast to BC, Alberta is the only province with a significant population increase due to interprovincial migration in the previous quarter, adding 17,094 people to its population of 4.7 million. Alberta has now recorded an increase of over 10,000 people for five consecutive quarters.
Most of Alberta’s population growth through interprovincial migration is due to exchanges with Ontario and British Columbia, as per StatsCan.
The Alberta government ended its “Alberta is Calling” campaign in 2022, which boasted higher wages and lower rent checks to attract Canadians. However, rental prices in Alberta, especially in Calgary, have risen due to the increasing population.
BC’s Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon acknowledged the migration losses but viewed StatsCan’s Tuesday report as positive for the province. He emphasized the historical significance of population growth driven by people from outside Canada. However, concerns remain about the increasing cost of living and record-high rent prices in BC, potentially driving talent to other jurisdictions.
The interprovincial migration trends between British Columbia and Alberta reflect a complex socio-economic landscape. While BC faces migration losses, it continues to grow due to international immigration. Alberta benefits from interprovincial migration, but faces challenges like rising rental costs. These dynamics highlight the need for comprehensive policies addressing housing, infrastructure, and economic opportunities to manage and support population growth and migration within Canada.