For the first time in five years, more people left Saskatchewan for other provinces than came here from the rest of Canada, according to Statistics Canada's latest figures.
The net number of emigrants isn't huge. But the trend reverses 17 consecutive quarters during which people from across the country were drawn to the province by a brisk business in potash, uranium and oil and gas, fuelling a hot real estate market and chasing rising wages.
For the first quarter of this year, Saskatchewan saw a net loss of 593 residents to other provinces, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. That compares with a net gain of 209 people from other provinces in the prior period, and a net gain of 1,297 in the year-ago quarter.
Saskatchewan last had a net interprovincial outflow in the third quarter of 2006, when net 1,098 people left for elsewhere in Canada.
The province's overall population was up 0.2 per cent from the final quarter of 2010 to 1,053,960, the federal statistical agency said. About half that gain was from natural increase, or births minus deaths. The rest comes from net immigration to the province: More than 1,500 people arrived from abroad, offsetting the hundreds who left for other provinces.
In a news release, the Saskatchewan government hailed the latest population number as a "new all-time record," saying it shows "Saskatchewan continues to be a province of opportunity."
Other provinces, on average, experienced population increases in line with Saskatchewan's. Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and Canada as a whole saw their populations rise two-10ths of a per cent. The quickest growth was in Alberta at 0.4 per cent, while Nova Scotia, the Northwest Territories, and Newfoundland and Labrador all saw most population decreases of 0.1 per cent.