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Canadian Housing Crisis Drives Residents to Leave Expensive Cities, Poll Shows

Nearly 12% of Canadians are contemplating leaving the country amid a severe housing affordability crisis that is prompting residents to consider relocating from pricier urban centers and even contemplating emigration, particularly among recent immigrants.

A recent survey highlighted that 28% of respondents are seriously considering leaving their current province, with a notable 39% among recent immigrants who have been in Canada for ten years or less. The desire to move is largely driven by the steep costs of housing, which are pushing many to seek more affordable options.

In urban areas like the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Metro Vancouver, a significant portion of those looking to relocate within Canada are eyeing provinces like Alberta, known for comparatively lower housing costs. However, a surprising 42% of those considering a move are contemplating leaving Canada altogether, looking beyond the United States for potential destinations.

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The survey underscores the impact of housing expenses on migration decisions, with about three-in-ten Canadians citing shelter costs as a primary factor influencing their desire to relocate. This trend is particularly pronounced among recent immigrants, who are significantly more likely to express dissatisfaction with housing affordability compared to other groups.

The consequences of these housing challenges extend beyond personal decisions to societal implications, as evidenced by declining rates of permanent residents obtaining Canadian citizenship in recent years. This decline, from 75% in 2001 to 45% in 2021, reflects a growing disillusionment among newcomers regarding Canada's affordability and livability.

The situation is compounded by demographic trends, with Indians comprising the largest group of new permanent residents. Despite Canada's reputation as an attractive destination for immigrants, the high cost of living, particularly housing, poses a significant barrier to newcomers settling and integrating successfully.

The findings have raised concerns among advocacy groups like the Association for Canadian Studies (ARI), warning that Canada's image as a welcoming nation for immigrants may be tarnished if the affordability crisis persists unchecked. As immigration levels continue to rise, addressing housing affordability has become increasingly urgent to maintain Canada's appeal as a desirable destination for newcomers seeking economic opportunities and a better quality of life.

July 4, 2024 3:46 p.m. 416

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