But the human resources costs – the ideas and skills you lose out on – are less tangible, Prof Charest says. “That’s always the question – the waste of human capital.”
Despite the new bill on French in the workplace, the PQ’s unsteady footing as a minority government has led it to tone down much of its election-season rhetoric. Even so, the opposition Liberal Party and Coalition Avenir Quebec have threatened to topple the government, which does little to inspire immigrant confidence.
“When the federalists or Liberals are in power, there’s less migration generally,” Mr. Jedwab says. “There’s more outmigration when there’s a perception of instability – economic and political.”
Political stability was not on the radar for Ms. Sinai and Mr. Rajabian. They do not follow politics and felt welcome in Quebec. Besides, the reasons they chose Montreal – good education system and a strong social safety net – proved to be sound. Mr. Rajabian completed his master’s degree in construction management at Concordia University; Ms. Sinai is finishing the final thesis of her master’s in geology at McGill University.
Both benefited from scholarships and other forms of provincial assistance. The speech and occupational-therapy programs their son, Farhan, received (after spending months on a waiting list) were “all awesome,” his mother says.
They planned to stay put, but last spring, economic reality hit home: They needed to start making money and soon concluded “that we have better chances out west,” Ms. Sinai says.
There are no regrets. “Me and my husband, we’re both very happy that we moved here.” They have an apartment within walking distance of downtown; they snagged Farhan not only a spot in a publicly funded therapy program, but a prized seat on its school bus.
As for the job hunt, Mr. Rajabian is waiting to hear back on a few interviews, and warming to the possibility of commuting to Fort McMurray. Once they can afford daycare, Ms. Sinai also will look for work.
Now they are encouraging others to follow.
“I have some friends [in Montreal] who are writing their theses,” she says. “They are almost at the end of their education. And they told us they plan to come to Calgary.”