More people are moving to BC than ever before and the influx just broke a decades-old record, according to Statistics Canada.
New data released Wednesday shows the province’s net migration reached 100,797 people in 2021. That’s the highest annual total since 1961, the province says.
Net migration includes the number of people who moved to the province from another province, territory or country, minus the number of people who left.
Year-end data for 2021 finds that 33,656 people came from other provinces or territories—the highest number seen since 1994 and the highest in Canada, states a press release.
“We welcome these newcomers with open arms, and we are determined to deliver the services and housing people in BC need to support this record growth,” said Premier John Horgan.
BC officials echo Horgan, noting the record number of new residents is “an important first step” in expanding the province’s workforce and combating the ongoing labour shortage.
Starting Monday, BC Transit cut back on services in the Greater Victoria area and blamed the reductions on a lack of drivers.
“As a result of these ongoing labour challenges, this service change includes temporary service reductions on some transit routes across the region,” reads a statement.
BC Ferries announced last month that crew shortages were also plaguing its organization, as it warned customers to brace for delays and altered sailing schedules into the peak summer season.
And it’s a similar story for BC’s restaurant industry.
“A lot of people have exited the industry,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of BC Restaurant and Food Services Association.
Tostenson’s comments came as a worker shortage last summer temporarily halted operations at a popular Victoria eatery.
Meanwhile, those working in BC’s healthcare sector, including veterinarians, are feeling the strain—prompting the number of subsidized seats at Western College of Veterinary Medicine to be doubled.
The move, announced Monday, aims to lure in more students to receive the training needed to support farmers, ranchers and families throughout the province.
“Building a BC that’s attracting record numbers of newcomers is an important part of our work to help tackle the labour shortage, as these new British Columbians will help us fill the jobs of tomorrow, drive innovation and support our care economy,” added Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon.