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More people left B.C. for other provinces in 2023 — mostly Alberta

It is another sign that the cost of living in B.C. is getting to be too much for many people as a new report from Statistics Canada says almost 70,000 people left the province last year.

More than half of those people went to Alberta.

B.C. resident Paula Spurr is soon to be an Alberta resident.

“It’s partly a family thing for my partner, but we wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t also a financial thing,” she said.

“We can’t afford to live the life that we love here in Vancouver, so it’s time to up sticks.”

Spurr said they have had some issues with housing insecurities over the past couple of years.

“We were sort of illegally evicted from the place we were living, (and) had to take the first place we could find,” she said.

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“It was right when the rent started to skyrocket, and we ended up in a place that was 60 per cent more than we had been paying. And it was 60 per cent worse. Like, the building has rats and mold and an angry landlord.”

B.C.’s neighbouring province launched its Alberta is Calling campaign in 2022 to entice people to move to that province, promising bigger paycheques and a lower cost of living.

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The report found that for the first time in more than 10 years, more people moved out of B.C. to other provinces than moved to B.C. from other provinces.

“What kind of life can people build in British Columbia, and it’s not only now, but it’s always been a challenge to ensure that British Columbia can offer people not only the ability to have a home, but to also build their lives,” Andy Yan, city program director with Simon Fraser University, told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Transplantable organs being sent out of B.C. due to transplant surgeon shortage'

Transplantable organs being sent out of B.C. due to transplant surgeon shortage

B.C.’s premier said it is also important to note that the province’s population grew in 2023 by more than 178,000 people to reach a total of 5.6 million. This includes 70,000 immigrants from other countries.

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“The concern that I have around interprovincial migration numbers, in general, is making sure we’re supporting in particular young people in British Columbia,” Premier David Eby said.

“We want them to see a future here, where they can raise a family, where they can build their lives, have access to affordable child care, affordable housing, that they’re able to manage costs and continue to build a life here.”

Spurr said while they were sad to make the decision to leave B.C. initially, they are looking forward to positive experiences.

“We found a lovely place to rent for the same that we’re paying now, and it’s a way better place and a lovely neighbourhood,” she said.

But Spurr said it was clear that when two grown adults who both work can’t afford to buy meat because they need to afford rent, something is wrong.

“We went from middle class to way below the poverty line in the drop of a hat.”

Click to play video: 'Phase 2 of the ‘Alberta is Calling’ campaign launches in Vancouver, Toronto'

Phase 2 of the ‘Alberta is Calling’ campaign launches in Vancouver, Toronto

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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