1-in-3 BCers 'seriously' considering leaving province: Poll

'We’ve got 10,000 people coming every 37 days to British Columbia. It’s putting pressure on our communities.'

1-in-3 BCers 'seriously' considering leaving province: Poll
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A recent survey by Angus Reid suggests that two-thirds of British Columbians say that inflation is the biggest issue right now, followed closely by health care and housing.

The survey also showed that an alarming amount of people want to leave the province altogether.

“Housing affordability challenges are nothing new to many British Columbians. Vancouver, Burnaby, Victoria, and Kelowna all rank among the 12 most expensive cities to rent in across the country, while purchase prices follow a similar trend. Home prices have been rising precipitously since the turn of the century,” Angus Reid wrote.

“While the BC NDP has announced a series of actions on home affordability, and Metro Vancouver now leads the nations in new housing starts, residents continue to grapple with the reality of costs. Half (53%) say the government needs to focus more on taking steps to address their housing needs. One-quarter (24%) are satisfied, and seven per cent say the focus has been too heavy.”

BC had a net-negative interprovincial migration for the first time in more than a decade last year.

The province's population still managed to grow, but the exodus of BCers to other provinces "is perhaps emblematic of the affordability challenges the province faces," they write.

A November 2023 study showed that the province had the highest cost of living in Canada.

“Half of 18- to 34-year-olds and more than two-in-five 35- to 54-year-olds say they are seriously thinking of leaving the province because of the cost of housing. For older British Columbians, who are more likely to be more established perhaps with a home that they’ve paid off, leaving is less of a consideration," they explain.

Political leadership seems aware of the problems plaguing the Pacific province, but efforts to curb these issues have been fruitless thus far.

“We have a shortage of housing across British Columbia, we’re decades behind when it comes to investment,” said Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon to CityNews.

“If you look back at when government stopped investing in affordable housing, just over 20 years ago, and you calculate how many could have been built, we would be at the number we need.”

Kahlon also pointed to the influx of immigrants to BC as a potential cause for problems.

“We’ve got 10,000 people coming every 37 days to British Columbia,” he said. “It’s putting pressure on our communities, but on the positive side, we have two-and-a-half times more per capita housing under construction right now than Ontario. We need to continue to invest and unlock housing.”

A 2023 report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation indicates that if current trends continue, the province could face a shortfall of around 650,000 affordable housing units by 2030.

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