We live now in times when most Western developed countries are dealing with the consequences of unchecked mass migration, and the impact in their societies.
But now, in Canada, the opposite situation is starting to unfold – and it’s also a problem scenario.
The battle for survival for many Canadian immigrants is becoming so hard, due to the high cost of living and rental shortages, that emigration numbers are rising at an alarming pace.
Immigration is widely credited with helping to fuel economic growth, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used it as a strategy to face Canada’s big challenge of an aging population with slowing population growth numbers.
As a result, Canada’s population grew at the fastest rate in more than six decades, this year.
“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.”
Indeed, the number of people leaving is still only a fraction of the 263,000 who came to the country over the same period, but the steady rise in emigration is making some observers wary.
“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.”
An immigrant from Hong Kong named Cara, now pays C$650 ($474) in monthly rent for a single-room basement apartment in north Toronto, which is 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’, [Cara] said. She declined to give her real name because she fled Hong Kong after participating in the 2019 protests triggered by a now-abandoned extradition bill. ‘I almost use every single penny’, she said, while in Hong Kong she was able to save about a third of her monthly salary.”
Emigration currently stands at about 0.09% of the population. While the numbers are small, it hurts Canada’s appeal as the one of the favored destinations for newcomers.
“Immigrants blame the sky-rocketing housing costs as the biggest reason for their decision to consider a new 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 ease the pressure on the housing market.