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High Housing Costs Force Immigrants to Leave Canada

July 09, 2024
  • High Housing Costs Drive Immigrants from Canada

The number of immigrants to Canada has increased to all-time highs in recent years. However, due to soaring housing costs, many recent immigrants are discovering that the Canadian dream can actually be more of a nightmare.

The high cost of living, particularly housing, is hitting recent immigrants the hardest. "Many recent immigrants are leaving the country because of the high cost of living, which could harm Canada’s reputation as a welcoming place for newcomers," latest data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute highlighted.

The report is concerning, with the number of Indians moving to Canada increasing dramatically, from 32,828 in 2013 to 139,715 in 2023. As of November 2023, 62,410 international students or graduates from India became permanent residents, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In fact, they represent the largest group seeking permanent residency in the country.
Key numbers to look at:
28%: Canadians considering moving to another province due to housing costs.
39%: Recent immigrants (less than 10 years in Canada) considering moving to another province.
44%: Downtown Toronto residents thinking about leaving the city.
22%: Downtown Toronto residents strongly considering leaving.
33%: Metro Vancouver residents uncertain about their long-term plans in the region.
326%: Increase in the number of Indians moving to Canada from 2013 (32,828) to 2023 (139,715).
62,410: International students or graduates from India who became permanent residents in November 2023.
75% to 45%: Decrease in the percentage of permanent residents becoming citizens from 2001 to 2021.
Rising trend of relocation
According to Angus Reid Institute, a growing trend of Canadians moving to Alberta, heading south, or even leaving North America altogether. Recent arrivals to Canada are particularly inclined to consider further relocation. While 28 per cent of Canadians are seriously considering moving to another province due to housing affordability, this number jumps to 39 per cent for those who have lived in the country for less than a decade.
Urban challenges
Newcomers, who often settle in urban areas with the skills to quickly integrate into the economy, are facing significant housing affordability issues. In cities like Toronto and Vancouver, there's a looming risk of losing the essential workforce needed to keep city centres vibrant. In Downtown Toronto, 44 per cent of residents are thinking about leaving, with 22 per cent considering it strongly. Similar sentiments are echoed in the Greater Toronto Area and Metro Vancouver, where 33 per cent of residents are uncertain about their long-term plans in the region.
Key takeaways
Relocation considerations
Three-in-ten Canadians are contemplating moving away from their current province due to high housing costs. This feeling is most pronounced in British Columbia and Ontario, where housing prices have been high for an extended period.
Newcomers at risk
Among those born in Canada, 27 per cent are considering relocating to another province. This figure rises to 39 per cent for immigrants who have arrived in the last 10 years.
Urban exodus
The proportion of Canadians considering a move is particularly high in the Greater Toronto Area compared to other urban centres.
More than 15% of immigrants left Canada within 20 years of landing
Statistics Canada data indicate that more than 15 per cent of immigrants are deciding to leave Canada within 20 years of immigrating. Meanwhile, less than half of permanent residents are choosing to become citizens. There is also a similar trend among international students. More and more international students are contemplating leaving Canada amid declining affordability and diminishing job prospects.
Social media reaction
The report has garnered attention on social media, with many agreeing with the findings. Twitter user @lulex stated, "Housing costs in Canada are out of control, no wonder people are considering leaving." Another user, @LifechoiceN, commented, "As a recent immigrant, I can confirm this struggle. It's tough to make ends meet." @Rex66992401 added, "Canada needs to address this issue, or we’ll lose a vital part of our workforce."
Decline in citizenship
The Angus Reid survey aligns with a report by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship published in October 2023. Co-authored with the Conference Board of Canada, it noted a steady increase in newcomers choosing not to stay. The percentage of permanent residents becoming citizens has dropped from 75 per cent in 2001 to 45 per cent in 2021. ICC CEO Daniel Bernhard remarked, "If Canada cannot deliver for newcomers and help them become Canadian in their passports and in their hearts, we may soon be discussing our prosperity in the past tense.”
Permanent residency vs citizenship
Permanent residency in Canada allows individuals to live and work indefinitely but does not grant voting rights or a Canadian passport. Citizenship, on the other hand, includes these rights and is generally permanent.