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a photo of a crystal blue lake in alberta surrounded by snow covered mountains and green trees

Why Are Canadians Flocking To Alberta?

Migration to Alberta is surging because Alberta's rents remain below the national average, but it may not last as it's rising faster than anywhere else.

Which do you want first, the good news or bad news?

The good news? 

OK, the good news is that rent in Alberta are still 22 percent below the national average last month. Compared to Ontario, the average rent in Alberta is a whopping 58 percent cheaper. 

The bad news is that Alberta is a provincial leader for annual rent growth. In May, rent for purpose-built and condominium apartments climbed to just over $1,500 a month. 

This data comes from the June 2023 National Rent Report by Rentals.ca, a source for news, data, and information on rental rates, trends and insights in Canada.

Since more and more Canadians are having trouble paying the bills, it’s no surprise then that Alberta attracted more “interprovincial migrants” in the first three months of 2023 than any other province in Canada. These are people who move from one province or territory to anywhere else in Canada. 

British Columbia and Ontario saw net losses of 712 and 14,732 residents, respectively. But their loss was our gain. Alberta gained just under 16,000 residents from elsewhere in Canada. 

a graphic of canada with the top 35 most expensive cities to rent in charted on the map
National Rent Ranking of 35 cities in Canada, with No. 1 being the most expensive | Rental.ca

It’s not all peaches and cream, though. Canadians may be moving to Alberta, but in May, the province still had a higher unemployment rate, 5.7 percent, half a percent higher than the national average.

According to Cristina Schultz, a recruiting manager with About Staffing in Calgary, there is a disconnect between new arrivals’ expectations and the reality of the Alberta job market.

Schultz points out that many interprovincial migrants from Ontario move to Alberta expecting remote or hybrid positions. 

A survey conducted by Cisco Canada in December found that almost half of employers in Western Canada, including in Alberta, want their employees in the office to some degree. 

Needless to say, remote and hybrid opportunities in Alberta aren’t as plentiful as some might think. 

“That’s just not plentiful here in Alberta…Employers are seeking those who are in office and are actually coming to the physical space,” Schultz told CBC News.

But Larissa Lisboa, who moved with her family to Edmonton from London, Ontario, has succeeded in getting a job. Due to intense job competition in Ontario, Lisboa decided to start job hunting in Alberta.

She received job offers in both Edmonton and Toronto but chose Edmonton for the lower cost of living.

While rental costs in Edmonton have increased by more than 11 percent between since last June, the city still offers the most affordable housing out of any major city.

For example, a two-bedroom apartment in Edmonton will cost you an average of $1,500 in rent. The same in Toronto will cost more than double that. 

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