74% of Atlantic out-migrants within Canada head to Ontario, Alberta

Between 2000/2001 and 2019/2020, a total of 66,396 residents left the four easternmost provinces.

74% of Atlantic out-migrants within Canada head to Ontario, Alberta
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A new study from the Fraser Institute reveals that 74.3% of Atlantic Canadians leaving to move elsewhere in Canada moved to Alberta and Ontario, over a recent period of twenty years.

The study, Voting with their feet: Migration in Atlantic Canada, was released earlier this week and found that the region also struggles to retain immigrants.

Between 2000/2001 and 2019/2020, a total of 66,396 residents left the four easternmost provinces, disproportionately comprised of young and working-aged people.

While Atlantic Canada experienced in-migration during four of the last five years studied, the quantity was unable to offset the total outmigration. Further, the migration appears to be composed of people leaving Alberta and Ontario during the provinces' lean years, rather than people moving to the Atlantic to embrace opportunities.

During the time studied:

  • New Brunswick experienced a net loss of 21,974 residents
  • Nova Scotia experienced a net loss of 20,805 residents
  • Newfoundland and Labrador experienced a net loss of 19,927 residents
  • Prince Edward Island experienced a net loss of 3,690 residents

Attracting immigrants has been an explicit goal of the four provinces, but the region experiences a low retention rate.

Statistics Canada data from 2018 on 2008 immigration admission showed that only 11.2% of immigrants from this cohort remained in PEI, 38.9% remained in NB, 41.8% remained in NFLD and 55.4% stayed in NS.

Atlantic Canada has the lowest immigrant retention rates in the country, while Alberta retained 86.8% of their cohort and Ontario retained 90.3%.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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