ontario residents leaving province

A shocking amount of people are still ditching Ontario for cheaper digs

Nobody needs a reminder that Ontario housing prices are through the roof, grocery bills are higher than ever before, or any of the other issues hindering the liveability of Canada's most populous province.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, Ontario registered its single-largest outflow of population since the early 1980s, and a year later, the sky-high cost of living is still a factor in residents leaving the economic heart of the country for locations with cheaper housing prices and rents.

A mid-2022 survey from LowestRates.ca found that seven per cent of Ontario residents are planning to ditch Ontario for greener pastures within the next year, a sizable jump from the four per cent of respondents who planned to leave the province just two years earlier.

Among the seven per cent looking to escape the clutches of Ontario, the majority at 32 per cent state that housing affordability is the reason for their planned move, while 17 per cent are looking to up-size into a larger home without the associated cost of buying in Ontario.

Other factors cited include lifestyle decisions, at 22 per cent, and the desire to downsize at eight per cent.

Destinations in Atlantic Canada have proven to be major draws for Ontario residents seeking housing affordability, with the region registering record numbers in inter-provincial migration during the second quarter of 2021.

Ontario was still losing residents at record rates entering the new year, part of an urban exodus largely attributed to lockdown working conditions at the time, as buyers were no longer bound to live near their place of work.

Statistics Canada data from the first quarter of 2022 shows that Ontario registered the highest loss of residents of any province during the first three months of the year, with 11,566 people moving out.

A return to relative normal in 2022 has pushed remote working out of the discussion, but overblown housing prices remain a major concern among Ontario residents.

In 2022, moving to Alberta has been the big story, as the province continues its controversial “Alberta is Calling” ad campaign attempting to lure broke and weary Ontario residents to the fossil fuel-addicted but comparatively affordable west.

There may be some relief in sight, as the Toronto Star predicts that the housing bubble in the province's largest city may finally be bursting, forecasting a 30 per cent correction in Toronto housing prices by spring 2023.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau


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