Ontarians on the Move, 2021 Edition. The Short Version

Statcan’s migration series compare July 1 between years. For the purposes of this article, 2010–15 will refer to “July 1, 2010 — July 1, 2015” and 2015–20 will refer to “July 1, 2015-July 1, 2020”

Why did Ontario’s population grow faster than in the past?

There were two big sources:

It all begins in Toronto

In order to understand what’s happening to population growth and home prices in London or Peterborough, we have to start from Toronto.

Drive Until You Qualify and the Musical Chairs Effect

Next let’s consider Oshawa CMA, which is growing almost entirely due to an influx of residents from other parts of the province:

Summarizing the pre-COVID Ontarians on the Move story

This unanticipated population increase caused home price escalation in most of the province, as there were more families chasing housing than the number of available properties. People having to drive until they qualify and the musical chairs effect pushed families further away from where they work, increasing commute times and putting additional strain on our transportation infrastructure. It also caused some communities, that had stable or even declining populations to experience growth again, due to an influx of young families.

How has COVID changed things?

A lot of things have changed during the pandemic. There are six megatrends that I believe are relevant to the Ontarians on the Move story:

  1. A slowdown in the growth of international students and people on work visas in the province.
  2. A collapse of the tourism market.
  3. A huge increase in the savings-rate of white-collar professionals due to a collapse in spending.
  4. A big increase in work-from-home
  5. A big increase in shop-from-home
  6. Global interest rates falling to near zero (and in some cases, below zero).

What will things look like post-COVID

It depends on what happens to our six mega-trends:

  1. A slowdown in the growth of international students and people on work visas in the province.
  2. A collapse of the tourism market.
  3. A huge increase in the savings-rate of white-collar professionals due to a collapse in spending.
  4. A big increase in work-from-home
  5. A big increase in shop-from-home
  6. Global interest rates falling to near zero (and in some cases, below zero).

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Mike Moffatt

Mike Moffatt

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Senior Director, Smart Prosperity. Assistant Prof, Ivey Business School. Exhausted but happy Dad of 2 wonderful kids with autism. I used to do other stuff.