As a groggy U.S. woke up this morning to the news that businessman and former reality T.V. star Donald Trump would be their next president, a lot of them started examining their options elsewhere, according to Austin, Texas-based job search engine Indeed.com.
In fact, between the hours of 9 PM, when it was already being reported that Trump was ahead of rival Hillary Clinton by six points in the popular vote, and 1 AM, when Nevada’s six electoral college votes had been registered in Clinton’s favour but the number of swing states she could win was rapidly dwindling, the percentage of Indeed users seeking Canadian jobs from the U.S. rose from less than one per cent to almost six.
“For many Americans, the election result was such a shock that many are imagining a way out,” Jed Kolko, the site’s chief economist, said in a statement. “In the hours just after Trump’s victory was called, Americans were searching for jobs in Canada at ten times the rate of previous nights.”
“Of course, it’s far too soon to guess how many of these searchers will make a move after the shock wears off,” he continued. “But the jump in searches shows how many Americans were surprised by Trump’s victory and are thinking about their options elsewhere.”
Indeed.com wasn’t the only online barometer illustrating American fears that a demagogue was about to become president: Multiple outlets reported that Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website crashed on election night, though the government agency itself never issued a statement, and the site itself was functional again as of this writing.
While threatening to “move north” has long been a popular rallying cry for American progressives fed up with conservative policies, the odds are stacked against them: Though Canada has a history of welcoming former slaves and Vietnam draft dodgers, Trump’s win hardly represents a similar immediate threat, and of late our immigration laws have been designed to give priority to foreigners with Canadian job offers and Syrian refugees.
(It should also be mentioned, however, that U.S. immigration to Canada spiked after former U.S. president George W. Bush won a second term in 2004.)
If anything, Trump’s victory represents an opportunity for Canadian firms such as Kitchener, Ont.-based ad optimization startup Sortable, which announced back in March that it was happy to offer “a safe place for smart, nice people in the technology industry who are already starting to look for alternative living arrangements in anticipation of a Donald Trump presidency.”