Alberta lost 8,500 people to other provinces since UCP elected

Since the UCP were elected in the spring of 2019, Alberta has seen 166,472 people move here from other provinces. However, 174,962 people left here for other provinces during the same period.

Earlier this week, Alberta’s minister of jobs, economy, and innovation, Doug Schweitzer, tweeted out an article from the Calgary Herald that reported Alberta saw a gain in net interprovincial migration for the first time in over a year.

In his tweet, Schweitzer claimed that “Alberta is back” and that the economy is growing and people are moving here once again.

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Given that most of the economic growth in Alberta in recent months has been primarily recovering from the pandemic, I think it might be a bit premature to say “Alberta is back”. I mean, even if we do completely recover from the pandemic, we still have the Great Recession to recover from, as well as the 2015–2016 recession.

Anyhow, the point of this news story was to provide some context to Schweitzer’s claim that people are moving here once again.

First, consider these two quotes from the article Schweitzer linked to:

“A report on the numbers from ATB Treasury warned that there could be a drop in people coming to Alberta when future numbers are released.”

“Holden said that while the third-quarter numbers are a good-news story, he warned against reading too much into a single data point.”

Just based on those two statements alone, we see that maybe Schweiter could turn down his excitement just a notch or two.

But let’s look at the data.

According to Statistics Canada, Alberta had 22,013 people move in from other provinces between July and September and saw 17,524 move away to other provinces. In other words, Alberta saw a net gain of 4,489 people.

Those 22,013 people who moved here from other provinces? That’s not even the highest the province has seen. It doesn’t make the top 10. Heck, it’s not even in the top 20. It’s the 26th highest number of people moving here from other provinces.

Not really that exciting.

Even so, this marks the first time in 6 quarters that Alberta saw more people move to the province than leave it.

Q2 202016,87220,923-4,051
Q3 202012,59213,454-862
Q4 20208,65910,449-1,790
Q1 202115,24118,973-3,732
Q2 202123,63929,086-5,447
Q3 202122,01317,5244,489

Even with this gain in the third quarter, however, Alberta still has a net loss of 4,690 for 2021 to date. This is the 2nd year in a row that Alberta saw a net interprovincial migration loss.

Not only that, but if you add up all the net gains and losses Alberta has experienced since the 2nd quarter of 2019, when the UCP were elected, we’ve still had 8,490 more people leave for other provinces than we’ve had come here from other provinces.

And that’s including the roughly 4,500 people moving here last summer, who Schweitzer is getting all giddy about.

Oh, and let’s not forget that during the second quarter of 2021, Alberta saw the largest migration out of the province since 1987.

And in case you were wondering where everyone has been going, the majority of them (63%) have been going to Ontario or BC.

Schweitzer might want to hold onto the party hats, sparklers, and noise makers for just a while longer.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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