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http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal/Number+Quebecers+leaving+province+rise/9360879/story.html BY MARIAN SCOTT, THE GAZETTE JANUARY 7, 2014 8:05 PM A total of 28,439 people moved from Quebec to another province from January to September 2013. In most cases, Quebec’s loss was Ontario’s gain, with two out of three ex-Quebecers moving to Ontario. Photograph by: Peter Redman , National Post MONTREAL - The number of Quebecers heading down the 401 is on the rise, partial statistics for 2013 suggest. Departures from Quebec to other provinces rose to their highest level this century in the first nine months of 2013, according to the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration. Statistics are not available yet for the final three months of the year. A total of 28,439 people moved from Quebec to another province from January to September 2013 — the highest number of departures for that period in any year since 2000. In most cases, Quebec’s loss was Ontario’s gain, with two out of three ex-Quebecers moving to Ontario, one in four to Alberta and just under one in ten to British Columbia, according to quarterly demographic estimates released by Statistics Canada in December. Quebec had a net loss of 11,887 residents due to interprovincial migration (departures minus arrivals) in the 12 months from October 2012 to September 2013, compared to a loss of 7,700 people in the corresponding period of 2011-12 and a loss of 4,394 in 2010-11. The rise in departures corresponds with the election of the Parti Québécois in September 2012 — but there is no evidence the political situation is a contributing factor, said Jack Jedwab, the institute’s executive vice-president.“It’s too early to say,” he said. “I would argue it’s more about our economy,” Jedwab said. “These numbers have a very recessionary look to them, at a time when we’re not in a recession.” Jedwab said the loss of residents sounds a warning signal. “Significant population losses have a negative effect on our economy,” he said. The rise in out-migration is not related to the divisive debate over the PQ government’s proposed charter of values, Jedwab said, since the departures occurred before the charter was unveiled. A National Assembly committee will commence hearings on the charter Jan. 14. But Jedwab said if the trend continues, the hypothesis that political angst is spurring departures would deserve a second look. “If it persists into the next quarter, we’ve got to start thinking non-economic considerations are at work here,” he said. The PQ government’s focus on identity issues has decreased the comfort level of some members of cultural minorities, particularly the values charter, which proposes to bar all public sector workers from wearing religious garb like the Muslim head scarf, Jewish skullcap or Sikh turban. In September, an Ontario hospital published recruitment ads aimed to capitalize on the controversy. A photo of a female health worker wearing a hijab (head scarf) bore the caption: “We don’t care what’s on your head. We care what’s in it.” Aaron Lazarus, director of communications at Lakeridge Health in Bowmanville, Ont., east of Toronto, said the hospital received several job applications from doctors, nurses and other health professionals from Quebec in response to the ads. But Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Montreal Board of Trade, warned against jumping to the conclusion that the current political climate could be causing people to leave Quebec. “What is worrisome is that we have a net loss of residents every year,” Leblanc said. “People have a tendency to migrate not only to places with better weather, but also to places where the economy is performing better,” he said. Leblanc said that while the recent increase in departures is cause for concern, it is much smaller than the massive exodus of anglophones from Quebec in the 1970s and ’80s. He called on the government to improve the integration of immigrants into the workforce and to lower taxation to retain residents. Statistics Canada’s quarterly demographic estimates showed Alberta — with a population of 4,060,700 in October 2013 — continues to lead the provinces in population growth, adding 137,703 new residents from October 2012 to September 2013, of whom 49,031 moved there from elsewhere in Canada. Ontario (population 13,585,900) had slower population growth, gaining 128,442 new residents from October 2012 to September 2013. Quebec, numbering 8,174,500 residents, added 67,385 new residents from October 2012 to September 2013, with immigration and the natural increase of the population compensating for out-migration. Previous studies have shown that about two-thirds of Quebec residents who move to other provinces are allophones — people whose first language is neither French nor English. [email protected]