The number of Quebecers leaving the province is growing, and they're being joined by a mass exodus from many provinces.
The latest estimates on interprovincial migration show Alberta and Saskatchewan are the only provinces gaining in population, with all other provinces showing a net loss.
Quebec lost roughly 28,000 people in the first nine months of 2013, which is the highest outgo of people from Quebec since the 1990s, with fewer people arriving – a total net loss of 12,000.
Demographer Jack Jedwab said the continual shift in the population is something to be concerned with.
"The government in particular should be paying close attention to these numbers because they say something in particular about the economic situation," said Jedwab, adding that the sluggish economy is the likely culprit.
“When people perceive that this isn't the best province to second or third place to migrate to, then it suggests that there may be some problems in terms of job opportunities or meeting expectations that people have."
The Conseil du patronat says Quebec usually has more people leaving than entering.
“It is worrying,” said president Norma Kozhaya. “It's something that worries us every year. Of course now that is it is increasing we have to ask ourselves what are the reasons.”
She says high taxes and regulations are two of those reasons, because they hurt the economy. Quebec also receives many immigrants who don't stay.
Michel Leblanc of Montreal's board of trade thinks it's too early to say if language policies or the controversial Charter of Values is playing a factor in the exodus.
“We have to take into account these are numbers that happened over the first semesters of 2013. There were not that many recent political decisions or major changes that would explain those numbers,” he said.
Statistics show Quebec is not alone in losing its people to other provinces. Ontario lost 12,661 people, while Nova Scotia lost more than 4,000 residents. BC and Manitoba each lost more than 3,000 people.
Alberta and Saskatchewan are the only provinces showing a net gain, with Alberta getting roughly 37,000 more people than left the province during the first nine months of the year.