Rising Cost of Living and Housing Crisis Driving Immigrants to Leave Canada in Growing Numbers

In today’s world, many Western countries are grappling with the effects of large-scale migration and the impact it has on their societies. However, in Canada, a different kind of scenario is unfolding—one that poses its own set of challenges.

For numerous Canadian immigrants, the struggle for survival has become increasingly difficult due to soaring living costs and a shortage of rental properties. Consequently, the number of individuals leaving the country is on the rise at an alarming rate.

Immigration has long been regarded as a driving force behind economic growth, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has utilized it as a strategy to combat the significant challenge of an aging population and slowing population growth in Canada.

As a result, Canada’s population has experienced its fastest growth rate in over sixty years this year.

Reuters reported: “But now a reversal of that trend is gradually taking hold. In the first six months of 2023 some 42,000 individuals departed Canada, adding to 93,818 people who left in 2022 and 85,927 exits in 2021, official data show.”

“The rate of immigrants leaving Canada hit a two-decade high in 2019, according to a recent report from the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), an immigration advocacy group. While the numbers went down during pandemic lockdowns, Statistics Canada data shows it is once again rising.”

While the number of people leaving is still only a fraction of the 263,000 who came to the country over the same period, the steady rise in emigration is causing concern among some observers.

“For a nation built on immigrants, a rising trend of people leaving Canada risks undermining one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau government’s signature policies, which granted permanent residency to a record 2.5 million people in just eight years.”

One immigrant from Hong Kong, who chose to remain anonymous, now pays C$650 ($474) in monthly rent for a single-room basement apartment in north Toronto, amounting to about 30% of her monthly take-home salary.

“I never realized that living in a Western country, you can only afford renting a room in the basement,” she said. “I almost use every single penny, while in Hong Kong I was able to save about a third of my monthly salary.”

Although emigration currently accounts for about 0.09% of the population, it is impacting Canada’s reputation as a favored destination for newcomers.

“Immigrants point to the skyrocketing housing costs as the biggest factor influencing their decision to consider moving to a different country. On average in Canada, about 60% of household income would be needed to cover home ownership costs, a figure that rises to about 98% for Vancouver and 80% for Toronto, RBC said in a September report.”

Just last month, Trudeau’s government capped its target for new residents at a half million per year from 2025 onwards in an attempt to alleviate pressure on the housing market.


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