Editor's Note: The title of this article been updated to clarify that Ontario's population loss was specific only to interprovincial migration and did not result in a net population loss for the province.
The Canadian population grew at a near-record pace in the third quarter of 2022, however, the story was a little different for Ontario, which, while still managing to grow overall, saw the most population loss of any other province when it came to interprovincial migration.
This is according to the latest population estimates from Statistics Canada (StatCan). The data revealed that Canada’s population climbed 0.9% to 39,292,355 between October and July -- the highest quarterly population growth rate since 1957 -- and this is almost entirely attributed to the country’s international population.
“Canada's total population growth for the first nine months of 2022 (+776,217 people) has already surpassed the total growth for any full-year period since Confederation in 1867. This high level of growth was mostly (94.0%) due to international migration (+340,666 people), which pushed Canada's population over 39 million for the first time,” says the national statistical agency. “In the third quarter of 2022, Canada welcomed 122,145 immigrants, about the same number as in the third quarter of 2021 (122,911) and the second-highest number of immigrants in any third quarter since 1946, the year quarterly data became available.”
StatCan also points to an influx of 225,198 non-permanent residents (NRPs), including work permit holders and those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as a key driver of Canada’s expanding population. Although all provinces and territories saw this uptick in NPRs, Ontario welcomed the vast majority, adding 106,459 NPRs to its population in the third quarter. Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec jointly accounted for 80% of the country’s total NPRs.
Even so, Ontario experienced a sizeable population loss in the third quarter due to interprovincial migration -- a trend hatched in the first quarter of 2020. Ontario’s Q3 net loss in interprovincial migration, accounting for around 11,581 people, was the largest third quarter loss on record since 1980, at which time the province lost around 18,244 of its population.
Alberta seemingly absorbed the population losses from other provinces, including Ontario, observing the highest net gain of any other province from interprovincial migration. This is undoubtedly a reflection of Alberta’s enduring affordability, as unflinching inflation and the high interest rate environment continue to put cost of living through the roof.