Title: Rising Rental Costs and Housing Shortages Drive Immigrants to Consider Leaving Canada
As the high cost of living and rental shortages continue to plague Canada, many immigrants are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, leading them to consider leaving the country. This trend poses a challenge to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s strategy of fostering a diverse and growing population through immigration.
According to official data, a staggering 42,000 individuals departed Canada in the first six months of 2023 alone, marking a significant reversal of the country’s immigration trend. In fact, the rate of immigrants leaving Canada reached a two-decade high in 2019, and it is once again on the rise, raising concerns among critics who argue that this could undermine Trudeau’s government’s efforts to attract newcomers.
The primary reason cited by immigrants considering leaving Canada is the high cost of living, particularly exorbitant housing costs. On average, it would require about 60% of household income to cover the expenses of owning a home in Canada. In cities like Vancouver and Toronto, this percentage increases to a staggering 98% and 80% respectively. These soaring costs have made it nearly impossible for some immigrants to maintain their desired standard of living, especially during retirement.
For instance, Myo Maung from Myanmar, a hopeful retiree in Canada, is now contemplating retiring in a different country due to the inability to sustain his quality of life on a retirement income. Maung’s situation is not unique, as rapid immigration exacerbates the housing shortage, pushing some individuals to consider other countries or even returning home.
In an attempt to mitigate the mounting pressure on the housing market, Prime Minister Trudeau’s government recently decided to cap the target for new residents at half a million per year starting in 2025. However, for some immigrants, these measures are perceived as too little, too late.
Justinas Stankus from Lithuania, who came to Canada to pursue a doctorate, is considering relocating to Southeast Asia due to the lower cost of living and the opportunity to continue his research. The high living expenses in Canada have made it financially unsustainable for those on a limited budget, including graduate students.
Many immigrants, like Cara from Hong Kong, express a feeling of being trapped and a desire to leave when given the chance. The rising rental costs and housing shortages have left them feeling disillusioned and yearning for a more affordable and stable life.
Addressing the issue of rising rental costs and housing shortages has become imperative for Canada to retain and attract immigrants. Without proper measures in place, the exodus of immigrants could continue to grow, jeopardizing Trudeau’s ambitious plan to counteract the country’s aging and slowing population through immigration.
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