Chapter 6 – Interprovincial Migration
Interprovincial migration is a factor that significantly influences the evolution of language groups in Canada, especially in relation to official language minority communities. Since 1971, we have been able to identify the province or territory of residence five years beforehand for residents of Canada aged five years and older. Interprovincial mobility during each intercensal period can therefore be studied.
In 2006, as in 2001, Quebec was the province with the lowest proportion of its population that had migrated from another province in the five years preceding the census: 1% of Quebec residents in 2006 lived in another province at the time of the 2001 Census. Ontario follows with a proportion of 1.5% of its population having migrated from another province, which makes it the only other province below the national average (which is 2.7%). In the other provinces, this proportion varies between 3.2% (in Manitoba) and 7.0% (in Alberta). The proportion of interprovincial migrants is distinctly higher in the territories, where it is 12.1% in Yukon, 15.5% in the Northwest Territories and 8.3% in Nunavut.
However, a significant proportion of interprovincial migrants does not necessarily mean a positive net migration. For example, in spite of having the highest proportions of interprovincial migrants in Canada, all three territories had a slightly negative net migration between 2001 and 2006. Only three provinces have a positive net migration, having received more people from other provinces than having lost people to other provinces: Alberta heads the list with a net gain of 88,200 individuals in its migratory exchanges with the other provinces, compared to a net gain of 22,100 for British Columbia and 600 for Prince Edward Island. Conversely, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba show the most significant net migratory losses with 27,000, 25,400 and 20,700 respectively.
Language is an important factor to take into consideration when studying Canadians’ tendency to migrate from one province to another, but it is not necessarily an issue in all migrations. This factor is especially important in the case of Quebec:55 migration to this province is frequently associated with moving to a more Francophone environment and, conversely, migration out of this province often corresponds to moving to a more Anglophone environment.
Between 2001 and 2006, 73,600 individuals moved to Quebec from other provinces, while 85,200 left Quebec to move to another province or territory, for a negative net migration of almost 11,600. However, during this period, language groups had different migratory behaviour: while Francophones tended to migrate to Quebec, Anglophones and allophones56 migrated more from Quebec to other provinces.
In fact, the net interprovincial migration of Francophones between 2001 and 2006 favours Quebec, with a net gain of 5,000 people, but not enough to offset the migratory losses recorded by Anglophones (net loss of 8,000 people) and allophones (net loss of 8,700 people).
The number of Anglophones who left Quebec to move to another province or territory has continuously declined since 1981. The migration of Anglophones out of Quebec reached a peak during the 1976-1981 period: approximately 130,000 Anglophones left Quebec for other provinces, while only 25,000 entered the province from another part of the country, for a net loss of over 100,000 people in the Anglophone population. Since then, the number of departures has declined in every intercensal period, except for a slight increase between 1996 and 2001, to 34,000 departures between 2001 and 2006. Since 1976, the number of Anglophones who moved to Quebec from other provinces and territories has fluctuated between 24,000 and 32,000 individuals. The net migration of Anglophones to Quebec is negative for each of the five-year periods observed. However, the migratory loss recorded between 2001 and 2006 is distinctly lower than the losses of the preceding five-year periods.
Chart 6.3 Interprovincial migration of persons whose mother tongue is English between Quebec and the other provinces and territories, 1971-1976, 1976-1981, 1981-1986, 1986-1991, 1991-1996, 1996-2001 and 2001-2006
The preferred destination of Anglophones who left Quebec between 2001 and 2006 is by far Ontario, where 62% of them moved. This was also the case between 1996 and 2001, when 68% of Anglophones who left Quebec chose this destination. British Columbia and Alberta follow, receiving 13% and 10% respectively of Anglophone migrants from Quebec. This was a reversal compared to 1996-2001, when Alberta (11%) was in second place ahead of British Columbia (10%). Between 2001 and 2006, Nova Scotia (4.4%) and New Brunswick (3.6%) were destinations favoured by a slightly higher proportion of Anglophone migrants than between 1996 and 2001 (3.9% and 2.4% respectively). While the proportions did not change much, the number of Anglophone migrants from Quebec decreased for each of these provinces, particularly in Ontario and Alberta (42% reduction in both cases).
However, most of the Anglophone migrants who left Quebec between 2001 and 2006 were not born in Quebec. Over half of them were born in another province, while 13% were foreign-born. In fact, of all the Anglophones who left Quebec, barely one-third were born there.57 Taking the destination province into account, we note that more than a third (35%) of Anglophone migrants leaving Quebec in fact returned to their birth province58.
Most Anglophones who migrated to Quebec between 2001 and 2006 came from Ontario (63%), followed in order by British Columbia (12%), Alberta (8%), Nova Scotia (6%) and New Brunswick (4%). In addition, 22% of them were born in Quebec, which means that they returned to their birth province after living somewhere else in Canada.
Anglophone migrants who leave Quebec to move elsewhere in the country are younger and more educated than Anglophones who stay in Quebec. Respondents aged 20 to 39 represent 45% of migrants, but only 26% of non-migrants. Conversely, those aged 40 and older represent 52% of Quebec’s non-migrants, compared to 35% of migrants. Migrants are particularly over-represented in the 25-29 and 30-34 age groups. Similarly, 52% of migrants aged 25 to 34 and older have a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree, compared to 30% of non-migrants in Quebec.
Anglophones who migrate to Quebec from other provinces or territories are also younger and more educated than non-migrant Anglophones in Quebec. Fifty-seven percent of them are between 20 and 39 years old.59 Conversely, only 26% are aged 40 or older. In addition, 54% of those aged 25 to 34 have a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree, which is more than double that of non migrants outside Quebec in the same age group (25%).
Almost all Anglophones who migrated between Quebec and the other provinces or territories between 2001 and 2006, both those who left Quebec and those who moved there, use English, at least on a regular basis, at home and at work. However, in many cases, English is not used exclusively. Anglophones who moved to Quebec use French at home, at least on a regular basis, in 24% of cases, and at work, in one out of two cases. However, in the other half of cases, English is the only language of work. French is used less frequently by Anglophones who left Quebec,60 but 13% of them still speak French at home, at least on a regular basis, and 23% at work. These proportions are distinctly higher than those observed among Anglophones outside Quebec (see Chapters 3 and 4). This shows a certain persistence in using French after spending time in Quebec. The use of French is more widespread in Quebec both among Anglophones born in Quebec and those who moved there before 2001: 31% of them speak French at home, at least on a regular basis, and 71% use French at work.
Based on this data alone, it is impossible to know if language skills and practices influence migration or if migration affects language behaviours. Do Anglophones leave Quebec because they do not have the language skills to work there or, on the other hand, are they asked to take bilingual jobs outside Quebec because of the language skills acquired in this province? Do they move to Quebec because of language skills that allow them to have a bilingual job or do they move there precisely to acquire a better knowledge of the French language? Although it does not answer these questions specifically, data from the 2006 Census shows us, at least, that the presence of French in social and professional environments fosters its use both at home and at work by people whose mother tongue is English.
It is not possible, using data from recent censuses, to identify clear trends with regard to the migration of people with a French mother tongue between Quebec and the other provinces and territories. Nonetheless, there are always fewer Francophones than Anglophones who migrate out of Quebec to other provinces or territories. Taking into account the relative proportion of Anglophones and Francophones in Quebec, it is obvious that Francophones are much less inclined than Anglophones to leave Quebec to move elsewhere in Canada.
There has been a general downtrend in the number of Francophones leaving Quebec since 1976, despite a brief increase between 1996 and 2001. Francophone departures reached a peak between 1976 and 1981 (approximately 50,000 individuals), only to decline during the next three intercensal periods (1981 to 1996) to 33,600 departures between 1991 and 1996. After an increase between 1996 and 2001 (almost 40,000 respondents), the number of departures reached its lowest level of the period observed (1971 to 2006), with 31,000 Francophones leaving Quebec between 2001 and 2006.
Since 1986, the number of Francophones moving to Quebec from other provinces and territories has compensated for the number of departures. During this period, the net migration favoured Quebec in all the intercensal periods, except between 1996 and 2001. The number of Francophone arrivals in Quebec varied from one five-year period to the next, following no particular trend, and reached a peak of 43,000 people between 1986 and 1991. Ten years later, between 1996 and 2001, arrivals dropped to their lowest level in the period observed, to 30,800 respondents, before climbing back up to 36,000 between 2001 and 2006.
Chart 6.9 Interprovincial migration of persons whose mother tongue is French between Quebec and the other provinces and territories, 1971-1976, 1976-1981, 1981-1986, 1986-1991, 1991-1996, 1996-2001 and 2001-2006
Like Anglophone migrants, Francophones who leave Quebec for another province mostly move to Ontario (55%). The other favourite destinations are Alberta (13%), New Brunswick (13%) and British Columbia (11%).
Seventy-one percent of Francophones who left Quebec between 2001 and 2006 were born in Quebec, compared to 11% who were born in Ontario and 8% in New Brunswick.
The provinces that most Francophones left to move to Quebec between 2001 and 2006 are the same provinces to which those who left Quebec moved during the same period. In 55% of cases this was Ontario, 15% New Brunswick, and 9% British Columbia and Alberta. However, more than two out of three individuals who moved to Quebec were returning to their birth province. In fact, 68% of these Francophone migrants were born in Quebec.
Similarly to what we observed among Anglophones, Francophone migrants are younger and more educated than non-migrants.61Forty-five percent of Francophones who move to Quebec from another province or territory are 20 to 39 years old, while 38% of them are aged 40 or older. Francophones who left Quebec are even younger: 53% of them are 20 to 39 years old and 29% are aged 40 or older. These proportions are reversed among non-migrant Francophones: 26% are 20 to 39 years old and 56% are aged 40 or older.
A much larger proportion of migrants than non-migrants have a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree. Forty-three percent of Francophones aged 25 to 34 who left Quebec have attained this level of education, compared to 37% of those who moved to Quebec from another province or a territory, and 24% of non migrants.
French is used more often at home and work by Francophones in Quebec and, conversely, English is used more often by Francophones outside Quebec, but it seems that the length of stay is a factor to consider. Thus, Francophones who moved to Quebec between 2001 and 2006 speak French more at home (97%) than those who left (92%), but less than non-migrant Francophones in Quebec (99.5%). The same applies to French at work, used by 96% of migrants entering Quebec, by 75% of departing migrants and by 99% of non-migrants in Quebec. Outside Quebec, the proportion of Francophones who use French as their main language at work, whether exclusively (14%), mainly (19%) or equally with another language (7%), is almost identical among migrants and non-migrants. However, a higher proportion (35%) of migrants who leave Quebec use French on a regular basis at work compared to non-migrants (29%).
Using the same logic, the proportion of Francophones who moved to Quebec who speak English at home is smaller (34%) compared to those who left Quebec to move to another province or territory (51%) and compared to non migrants from outside Quebec (64%). The same applies to English at work: 66% of migrants to Quebec use it, at least on a regular basis, compared to 75% of migrants leaving Quebec and 86% of non-migrants outside Quebec. For comparison purposes, 6% of non-migrant Francophones in Quebec speak English at home and 30% use English at work.
Spending time in a province where English is a majority language therefore fosters its use by Francophones at home and at work. However, it is no more possible than it is for Anglophones to know whether pre-existing language skills and practices favour migration or whether, on the contrary, migration favours the acquisition of new skills and new behaviours in the other official language.
The migration of allophones between Quebec and the other provinces and territories involves language issues insofar as it is related to their language skills and practices. From 1971 to 2006, the net migration of allophones was always negative for Quebec. The number of those who migrated from Quebec to other provinces or territories has varied from one intercensal period to the next, in a generally upward trend until 2001, before dropping between 2001 and 2006. Conversely, the number of allophones who moved to Quebec from other provinces and territories has been fairly stable since 1986, but increased in the past five-year period.
Chart 6.15 Interprovincial migration of persons with an "other" mother tongue between Quebec and the other provinces and territories, 1971-1976, 1976-1981, 1981-1986, 1986-1991, 1991-1996, 1996-2001 and 2001-2006
Here, mother tongue does not provide any information on the knowledge or use of official languages. By using the derived variable first official language spoken, we see that allophones who tend to adopt French have a greater tendency to live and stay in Quebec. Allophones who move to Quebec from another province or territory (arriving migrants) and those who leave Quebec to move elsewhere in Canada (departing migrants) both mostly tend to adopt English (62% and 71% respectively), but to a lesser extent than non-migrants outside Quebec (91%).
As is the case for Anglophones and Francophones living in Quebec, moving there or having spent time there is associated with a higher use of French at home and at work by people with a mother tongue other than English or French. Similarly, living outside Quebec results in a higher use of English at work and at home.
The number of Anglophones who left Quebec to move to another province or territory between 2001 and 2006 was 34,000 individuals, the lowest number since 1971. The net migration of Anglophones between Quebec and the rest of Canada is negative for each period observed, but migratory losses are increasingly less significant. Conversely, the net migration of Francophones between Quebec and Canada varies considerably. Since 1986, the net migration of Francophones has favoured Quebec.
We note that migrants are generally younger and more educated than non migrants. For both Francophones and Anglophones, the presence of the other official language in social and professional environments fosters its use both at work and at home.
With regard to the interprovincial migration of people with a mother tongue other than English or French, we note that those whose first official language spoken is French tend more to live in Quebec, and stay there. Arriving and departing migrants tend more to adopt English. Living in Quebec or having spent time there, however, fosters the use of French at work and at home.
- 55The analyses presented in this chapter focus on migratory movements between Quebec and the other provinces and territories of Canada. More detailed data on arriving and departing migrants according to mother tongue can be found in the Appendix (Table A.5).
- 56Very few people with an Aboriginal mother tongue migrated from Quebec to other provinces (200 persons) and very few migrated to Quebec from other provinces and territories (300 persons). This is why they are not differentiated from those with another mother tongue (and are included in that category).
- 57This proportion was higher and stable in the preceding intercensal periods: 46% between 1986 and 1991, 47% between 1991 and 1996, 46% between 1996 and 2001. This allows us to estimate the substantial decrease in the number of Anglophones born in Quebec who migrated outside of their birth province: from 24,800 migrants between 1986 and 1991, 23,800 migrants between 1991 and 1996 and 24,400 migrants between 1996 and 2001, only 11,600 left Quebec between 2001 and 2006.
- 58This proportion was one out of four in the preceding five-year periods: 25% between 1986 and 1991, 24% between 1991 and 1996, and 27% between 1996 and 2001.
- 59It is possible that a considerable number of them come to Quebec to complete their university education.
- 60They undoubtedly have fewer opportunities to use it.
- 61The term “non-migrant” refers here to Francophones who have not migrated between Quebec and another province or territory. Non-migrants from outside Quebec, however, may have migrated between two provinces other than Quebec. Non-migrant Francophones living in Quebec have characteristics similar to Francophones from other provinces and territories with regard to age and education. There are slight differences—for example, Francophones from outside Quebec especially are slightly older than those in Quebec—but these are much less significant than the differences between migrants and non migrants. Therefore, in this section, non-migrants are not differentiated by place of residence, and the statistics shown concern both residents of Quebec and those of other provinces and territories.
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