A small province tackles big problems

Canada’s smallest province is getting bigger. Prince Edward Island (PEI) will be home to 200,000 people by 2030, according to projections released by its provincial government. 

Why it matters: The experience of Canada’s smallest province is a perfect case study of the growing pains that come with a rapidly increasing population.

  • PEI is the fastest-growing province in the country, with a population that has jumped by just over 20% since 2015—nearly twice as much as the nationwide rate. 

  • That rapid growth has driven surging demand for housing, pushing home prices up faster than anywhere else in Canada since 2015.

Yes, but: With the highest job vacancy rate of any province and Canada’s lowest immigrant retention rate (a measure of how many people who move to the province stick around), PEI still needs more people.

  • The lack of workers makes solving the province’s housing shortage harder. Industry groups say there are too few construction workers to build enough homes.

Zoom out: If all this sounds familiar, it’s because a similar scenario is unfolding across much of the country. The population is growing quickly, contributing to a housing shortage and pushing people to leave their communities in search of more affordable pastures.—TS