VICTORIA – More people continue to move from B.C. to other provinces than migrate west, according to the latest Statistics Canada estimates.
Quarterly Statistics Canada figures show a net loss of 1,611 people from B.C. to other provinces from January to March this year. That is the seventh straight quarter of net out-migration from B.C., with the last net increase of 73 people recorded in the April-June quarter of 2011.
In 2012, while B.C. was a net loser of about 7,000 in interprovincial movements, Alberta gained about 43,000 and Saskatchewan gained about 2,500 people.
NDP leader Adrian Dix said Wednesday the latest totals mean B.C. has lost a net 12,000 people to other provinces since Premier Christy Clark took over. Dix said the number of private sector jobs has declined since Clark launched her jobs plan, and her government continues to cut the budget for job skill training.
Dix said the NDP government of the 1990s saw an increase of 129,000 people in interprovincial migration, and during Gordon Campbell's term, there was a net increase of 64,000.
Clark shrugged off the numbers Wednesday, saying B.C.'s overall population continues to grow.
"More people are coming here than are leaving, and we need to continue to work to make sure that more people are staying," Clark said. "We're competing hard with Alberta and the oil sands to keep people here."
B.C.'s rising total population is a result of international immigration, offset by the losses to other provinces by people moving within Canada.
Ontario has also steadily lost people inter-provincially in recent years, including a national high of 6,823 in the first three months of this year.