Record number of Ontarians moved to Quebec in the second quarter of 2022

Some 7,085 Ontarians moved to Quebec in the second quarter of 2022, the highest number seen in a single quarter for 32 years. This population movement is part of a national trend of interprovincial mobility and, more broadly, of a wave of migration of Ontarians.

Ontario, the most populous of Canadian provinces, lost more than 21,000 residents to the rest of Canada in the second quarter of 2022, according to data released by Statistics Canada. This loss is mainly due to movements to Alberta and the Maritimes, but during this period, Ontario also showed a negative net migration with Quebec.

Net migration from Quebec for this quarter was positive and reached 528, the highest number observed since 2003.

In 2021-2022, net migration between Ontario and Quebec was 172 for Ontario, the lowest number for a period from 1er July to June 30 since the early 1970s, since Statistics Canada has been collecting these data.

The destinations of these Ontarians who moved to Quebec are not yet known. But according to Patrick Charbonneau, demographer at Statistics Canada, the regional distribution of these migrants remains similar over the years: a little more than half of them move to the metropolitan region of Montreal; 28%, in the Quebec part of the Ottawa-Gatineau region; and the rest, all over the province.

The pandemic has changed migratory movements between Ontario and Quebec in several ways. On the one hand, the health crisis has delayed moves already planned. The recent data may thus reflect a certain catch-up, indicates Patrick Charbonneau. On the other hand, telework has gained followers since the winter of 2020, and it allows Ontarians to keep their jobs while living in a province where it is possible to find more affordable housing.

« House and housing prices are excessively high in Ontario, » said Sébastien Labrecque, chief economist at the StrategyCorp Institute for Public Policy. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, a house cost an average of $829,739 in Ontario last August, compared to $484,070 in Quebec. According to the economist, Ontario interprovincial migrants, already accustomed to real estate one-upmanship, have also taken their way of doing things in their suitcases: in Nova Scotia, in particular, the price of houses increased significantly between 2019 and 2022.

The motivations of Ontarians who have left the province since the start of the pandemic contrast with those of interprovincial migrants of the past, also notes Mr. Labrecque. They then moved to high-producing provinces in search of job opportunities, and to urban rather than rural locations; the opposite phenomenon has been observed since 2019.

This story is supported by the Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the Government of Canada.

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