Ontario exodus to the Maritimes, for finances and quality of life

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Ontarian exodus to the Maritimes, for finances and quality of life

Downtown Sackville, New Brunswick

The 2021 census data shows that Ontarians have chosen en masse to settle in the Maritime provinces. A trend that continues despite the end of health restrictions.

Monica Resendes and Nick Chase left Toronto over a year ago. For her, it was a departure from the province where she grew up. For him, the move to Sackville, New Brunswick was more of a homecoming.

The mother of two says buying a property had become out of the question. their reach and that she feared that the owners of the house they were renting might decide to sell it to take advantage of soaring prices.

“With that kind of uncertainty and two kids, we really wanted to go somewhere where we were sure we could settle down for a while. »

— Monica Resendes

The latest data from Statistics Canada shows that during the pandemic, they are far from alone in making this decision.

Of the 88,720 Ontarians who chose to leave the province, 21,595 moved to the Maritimes.

Nova Scotia was the most popular choice with 12,330 interprovincial migrants from Ontario. New Brunswick comes second with 7,275. Then, 1,990 people chose to settle in Prince Edward Island.

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More than 35,000 Ontarians moved to the Maritimes and Alberta.

Alberta also experienced an increase in popularity with the relocation of 14,165 Ontarians.

Considering all the interprovincial movements recorded by Statistics Canada, Ontario welcomed 35,000 residents less than those who decided to leave for other provinces.

Real estate agent Jennifer Jones, who has worked in the industry in Sackville for more than 15 years, says many of her clients decided to take advantage of Ontario's soaring real estate prices to sell their property and get away with it. get one, cheaply, in the Maritimes.

“A completely new phenomenon, nothing like this has ever happened before. It was amazing.

— Jennifer Jones, Real Estate Agent, Royal LePage Maritimes

Data from Ontario's Quarterly Demographic Report shows the province recorded a net loss of over of 21,000 people in interprovincial migration.

According to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average price of a home in Ontario is almost three times higher than that of a home in New Brunswick, for example . Houses there are also almost four times cheaper than in the Toronto area.

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Real estate prices influenced the decision of Ontarians who decided to leave the province

She says the low number of homes for sale, coupled with travel bans and pandemic restrictions, has forced buyers to make offers without ever having visited a property.

The truck rental giant U-Haul also noted, in its annual report, issues with the availability of moving trucks in certain regions.

The president of the company for Atlantic Region Jake Spelic says he's seen an exodus from Ontario to other provinces, particularly the Maritimes.

Due to demand, Nick Chase was unable to rent a truck in Toronto to drive to Sackville. He therefore rented in Moncton, then drove the empty truck 1,500 kilometers to Toronto, before beginning his move.

Monica Resendes and Nick Chase moved from Toronto to Sackville.

Even after the transaction was completed, new residents had to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival in the Maritimes when the strictest restrictions to counter the COVID-19 pandemic were in place.

The real estate agent Alexandre Girouard had set up a special service for his clients We put provisions in the houses, such as meat, eggs, propane [.. .] you can't drive from Ontario with two weeks of food, he says.

It was not until the isolation ended that new New Brunswickers were able to discover their home. After just over a year, the Resendes-Chase family says it's still an adaptation.

“It's good, different, it's a different way of life, but we knew that.

—Nick Chase

From the outset, the couple admits that they miss certain aspects of life in a metropolis: the diversity of food choices, for example, and the relatively easy access to health services. But both are quick to add that other aspects of their new life in Sackville are closer to their values, such as access to local produce and being close to nature.

According to York University accounting and sustainability professor Charles Cho, these lifestyle issues should be considered before even financial arguments when someone is considering a move.

“Are we ready for this, to have more green spaces, but to give up aspects of everyone's life? days. ”

— Charles Cho, Professor of Accounting and Sustainability, York University

If interprovincial migrants have to adapt to their new way of life, the cities where they choose to settle down also change.

Sackville Mayor Shawn Mesheau points out that between the 2016 and 2021 censuses, the population of his municipality, a suburb of Moncton, increased from 5,300 to 6,099.

“I've always been proud to say that I know everyone, now I see a lot of new faces, it's a good thing for our community.

— Shawn Mesheau, Mayor of Sackville

He says growth also comes with its own set of challenges, such as providing essential services to new residents and providing affordable access to housing.

Sackville Mayor Shawn Mesheau

In the city of Dieppe, near Moncton, Mayor Yvon Lapierre points out that the growth of his municipality in recent years has also brought challenges that were previously unknown to him such as homelessness or addiction problems, for example.

“We want to keep growing, we want to profit from it for all kinds of economic and social reasons. »

—Yvon Lapierre, Mayor of Dieppe

He stresses, however, that the growth of his community is necessary for its development and would like to see it continue in a more modest way: 5 or 6% [of growth] would be viable and we could manage that well, he says. /p>

The massive influx of buyers from major cities also caused prices to rise significantly.

Jennifer Jones says he was become very difficult for people in the community to compete for the purchase of a house.

In recent months, she has noticed that the market, although still in favor of sellers, has stabilized somewhat. There are more properties for sale, houses stay on the market a little longer.

The real estate market in Ontario has also experienced some turmoil in recent months and real estate agent Thomas Delespierre believes that those wishing to benefit from interprovincial migration may have missed the ideal window to do so.

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“The quote-unquote perfect time to timer the market is a bit behind us. »

— Thomas Delespierre, real estate agent

For Monica Resendes and Nick Chase, the permanence of the move is always a questioning.

She thought she could keep her job at a Toronto company working from home, but her employer changed its internal policies to exclude hiring staff who live outside of Ontario.

She managed to get another job that doesn't have the same demands with the same organization.

If a return to Ontario is not out of the question for the family , the financial aspect of the decision inevitably comes to the fore.

Even when renting their house in Sackville, they fear that an apartment similar to the one they they left in Toronto just over a year ago is now beyond their reach.

The rental market in the Canadian metropolis is more competitive than before the pandemic according to Thomas Delespierre, who estimates that the price of rents has increased by nearly 20% over the past year.

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