Canada Census data shows Quebec has seen a net population loss of nearly 37,000 residents to other provinces over the last five years.
The French-speaking province lost nearly double the number of residents to elsewhere in Canada between 2011 and 2016, compared to the previous five-year period.
Between 2011 and 2016, 92,320 people left Quebec for other parts of the country, while 55,365 arrived in the other direction. The net loss of 36,955 people compares to 20,245 people lost between 2006 and 2011. Between 2001 and 2006, Quebec’s net loss figure to other provinces was 11,650.
Despite the loss to other provinces, Quebec still managed to increase its population by 200,000 between 2011 and 2016, from 7.9 million to 8.1 million, resulting from immigration,
Source: Statistics Canada Census
The analysis of Census data was done by the Association for Canadian Studies, who’s president, Jack Jedwab, says people simply believe there are better opportunities elsewhere.
“The general explanation for such things is economics,” he said. “As much as our economy has improved, some of these other economies have boomed.”
The figures show Quebec has lost 7,000 people per year to interprovincial migration over the last five years.
“It’s not just that more people are leaving, it’s that fewer people are coming here,” Jedwab said.
Somewhat surprisingly, the figures are on the increase among francophones as well as anglophones. The figures for 2001 to 2006 show Quebec gained 5,000 francophones from interprovincial migration.
However, between 2011 and 2016, the figures have flipped to a net loss of more than 9,200 French-speakers.
The is less than a thousand fewer than the net loss of anglophones for 2011 to 2016, which stood at 10,175. At the same time, a net loss of nearly 15,500 residents was seen among those with a first language of neither English or French.
The age of those leaving was also revealing, with by far the smallest out-migration seen among people aged 20 to 24, when the figure was just 440 people. However, the numbers in the next age bracket were significantly higher. Jedwab puts this down to students coming to the province to study, but then choosing not to stay.
Ontario is overwhelmingly the most popular province for those choosing to leave Quebec, accounting for over half of francophones who leave and two-thirds of anglophones. Other popular destinations include Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick, the figures show.
Despite receiving so many Quebecers, Ontario also saw a net loss of people to other provinces over the last five years, of more than 37,500.
Alberta saw the largest gain, of more than 67,250 people, despite a net loss for 2015 and 2016, likely due to the oil-related economic downturn. B.C., meanwhile, attracted a net gain of more than 36,600 people for the 2011 to 2016 period.