The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shift in where people want to live.
According to a report from Statistics Canada, in most large urban regions in the country, population growth slowed from July 1, 2019, to July 1, 2020 at 1.3% compared with the same period a year earlier at 1.7%.
However, the long-term trend of urbanization continued over that period, as other regions in the country grew at a lower rate, with people leaving cities like Toronto or Montreal for surrounding, smaller metropolitan areas.
Cities like Oshawa, followed by Halifax and Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo, Kelowna, Calgary and Saskatoon.
The communities with the highest population growth rates are as follows:
- Oshawa: 2.1%
- Halifax: 2%
- Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge: 2%
- Kelowna: 1.9%
- Calgary: 1.9%
- Saskatoon: 1.9%
- Moncton: 1.8%
- Edmonton: 1.8%
- Barrie: 1.8%
- Belleville: 1.6%
- Ottawa-Gatineau: 1.6%
- London: 1.6%
- Lethbridge: 1.5%
- Trois-Rivières: 1.5%
- Guelph: 1.5%
- Sherbrooke: 1.5%
Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver continued to see more people moving out to other regions of their province rather than moving in.
During this one-year period, Toronto saw 50,375 people leave, while Montreal saw 24,880 people leave — a record loss for both cities.
However, despite lower international migration due to travel restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, international migration accounted for the vast majority — 90.3% — of the growth in cities.
“For first-time buyers who may have previously purchased a condo or were priced out of major urban centres altogether, historically low interest rates coupled with the flexibility to work remotely opened up new opportunities in smaller towns and suburban communities.”