01/08/2014 13:56 EST | Updated 03/10/2014 05:59 EDT

'Recession-like' migration from Quebec highest in decade

The number of people leaving Quebec for other provinces hit “recession-like” numbers in 2013, says the head of Montreal’s Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration.

Numbers revealed by the CIIM show that two quarters of 2013 — April to June and July to September — saw record-high net losses in interprovincial migration relative to the same periods since 2000. Totals for the first nine months of 2013 saw Quebec lose 28,439 residents to other Canadian provinces compared to the 18,540 people it gained.

Jack Jedwab, executive vice-president of the CIIM, said the last time Quebec saw a similar number of departures for other provinces during those two quarters was during the 2008 recession.

Jedwab said a similar experience in Canada’s Maritime provinces might suggest economic causes like a lack of job opportunities behind the departures.

“We need to take a hard look at what’s going on the economy,” says Jedwab.

Jedwab cautioned against linking the out-migration to the politics of Quebec’s Parti Québecois government and said the data do not assess reasons for leaving. However, his statement on the CIIM’s website clearly notes that the record departures have occurred on the PQ’s watch.

“In effect, it is in the near 16 months (the equivalent of five quarters) that the Parti Quebecois has been in power that the two record losses have been attained,” it reads.

“Politics may be part of the explanation,” he told host Michael Finnerty from CBC Radio’s Daybreak.

“I’m not going to deny that a lot of people are anecdotally talking about leaving.”

Ellen Daley is no longer just talking about it — she and her family are leaving Montreal for Toronto.

She points to better job opportunities in the Ontario capital, but says the PQ’s politics were an important factor in her family’s decision.

“The politics is the icing on top, the cherry on top, it's just getting more and more frustrating — insulting even,” she told CBC News.

“It’s a heart-wrenching decision. I loved, past tense, the province, but it’s spiralling.”

Jeffrey Brooks is another who is seriously considering leaving. The retired Montreal native says issues like corruption and the PQ’s secular charter are big factors.

“I feel terrible. Quebec has so much to offer, Montreal has so much to offer, but it’s so rotten now,” he told CBC News.

He hasn’t decided if he’s leaving, but he says it is tempting.

“You don’t want to be the last guy standing when the music stops,” he says.