International retirement migration is the transnational movement of retirees who relocate from their home countries to elsewhere either short-term or permanently. Many older Canadians participate in this practice seasonally, and the United States (US) is their most popular wintertime destination. This seasonal movement was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically by protocols that included land-border closures between Canada and the US and social distancing measures. In this thesis, I present two qualitative analyses that explore how Canadian retirees navigated the shifting landscape of international retirement migration in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first examines how Canadian international retirement migrants were portrayed in mainstream media during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second analyses uses the findings of 31 interviews to uncover the motivations behind Canadian international retirement migrants' decisions to travel abroad, or not, during the 2020-21 winter season.
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Thesis advisor: Crooks, Valorie A.
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