The latest census data shows that both Eastern and Western provinces continue to grow rapidly in terms of population, at what seems to be the expense of Canada’s central region.
New data released this month from Statistics Canada shows that all four provinces from Manitoba to B.C. are gaining in population. Alberta continues to lead the pack, but Saskatchewan and Manitoba have also reported impressive numbers for 2011.
Gains are also being reported in the Eastern provinces, with a reported 2.7 percent of new immigrants choosing to settle in the region last year. Just a few years back the Maritimes attracted less than one percent of new arrivals. Prince Edward Island has seen the most significant jump – a sixfold increase since 2006.
However, the news is not as good for Canada’s most populous province. For the first time in 25 years, population growth in Ontario was below the national average. The province not only is losing its share of immigrants, but is also seeing migration out of the province to such places as Alberta.
The shifts in population are reflecting other changes to Canadian society – particularly the decline in manufacturing as the natural resource-based economies of the West continue to boom, creating thousands of new jobs. On the other hand, immigrants are flocking to the East due to the aging population (on average, the oldest in Canada) whose retirement is leaving many vacancies in the labour market.
These shifts in population also mean that Ontario is losing political power as more and more voters move away.
Ontario is not the only once-powerful province watching its influence decline. Quebec has also experienced a steady decline in percentage of the population. Now only approximately 23.6 percent of the population resides in the once extremely powerful province.
Source: Globe and Mail