Daily Brew

New study underlines the end of Canada’s ‘brain drain’ to U.S.

Daily Brew

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Canadian border guards are silhouetted at the Douglas border crossing on the Canada-USA border in Surrey, B.C.

Here's some news that likely didn't make headlines on the Fourth of July: Immigration numbers suggest the flow of citizens moving across the Canada/U.S. border is gradually leaning in our favour.

A study by the Association for Canadian Studies, provided to QMI Agency, suggests fewer Canadians are moving to the U.S., while an influx of Americans is coming north of the border.

Last year, a total of 20,138 people traded their maple leaves for stars and stripes – a drop from the peak of 29,138 in 2005.

Meantime, 11,216 people left Uncle Sam for Queen Elizabeth in 2008, more than double the 5,828 who came to Canada in 2000.

It is not clear how the Association for Canadian Studies compiled its numbers, nor why the years used in the comparison varied – although one suspects they used the most recent available information. A request for clarification has been put in to the Association for Canadian Studies.

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"The economy isn't as robust in the States and they may see opportunity here in Canada," ACS director Jack Jedwab told QMI Agency. "The dynamics have changed a bit in terms of that movement back and forth."

The study also suggests that 27 per cent of Canadians moving to the U.S. are of retirement age, with common retirement cities such as Miami and Phoenix among our top destinations.

The study does underline one key point, which has been increasingly evident for a number of years: The brain drain from Canada to the U.S. appears to be a thing of the past.

In the 1990s when things were rosy in the U.S., Canada wrung its hands about losing their best and brightest to jobs south of the border.

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A report released last year, however, suggested America's economic woes had slowed that trend.

In 2011, Ottawa approved 34,185 visas for U.S. residents - either with pre-arranged jobs or students – just shy of the record 35,060 approved the year before.

In comparison, fewer than 20,000 visas were approved for Canadians over the same two-year time span.

However the numbers are calculated, it seems Canada is losing fewer of its skilled workers and attracting more of theirs.

Photo courtesy the Canadian Press

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