The oil price crash that froze tar sands projects and put thousands out of work was expected by some to bring job-seekers to the Northwest Territories, but so far it has had the opposite effect.
The Northwest Territories was the only jurisdiction outside the Maritimes to lose population, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada, and most of the deserters made straight for Alberta.
As of April 1, the NWT population was 43,234 – down 498 persons or 1.1 percent from a year previous – due mostly to inter-provincial migration, continuing a trend that began with the global recession of 2008.
In the 12 months preceding April 1, 2,258 persons moved to the NWT, 139 from Alberta, and 3,281 left, 474 of them Alberta-bound. We weren’t alone. Except for British Columbia, all provinces lost population to Alberta.
The territory’s population loss would have been even greater if births hadn’t outpaced deaths, 691 to 203.