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Canada's Ban On 'Non-Canadian' Homebuyers Is Officially In Effect With Fines For Violators

Non-citizen residents, don't panic yet.

Staff Writer
A row of luxury homes in Montreal in the summer.

A row of luxury homes in Montreal in the summer.

Buying property in Canada just got harder for people who don't live here. New legislation that took effect on January 1, 2023, bans "non-Canadian" buyers from purchasing any residential property anywhere in the country. There are some reasons behind these choices, but first, let's get into what the ban actually means.

Who is no longer allowed to buy housing in Canada?

The legislation, in effect since January 1, 2023, prohibits "non-Canadian[s]" from purchasing any residential property. In this case, "non-Canadian" refers to someone who is "neither a Canadian citizen" nor registered under the Indian Act (yes, it's still being cited in current legislation). It also rules out corporations that aren't Canadian.

The ban doesn't apply to temporary or permanent residents with proper documents or non-Canadian spouses of Canadians. It'll be in place for the next two years, with the possibility of extending the legislation further down the line.

What types of buildings are included in the ban?

In the context of the ban, "residential property" includes any Canadian property (or "immovable," which basically just means a building) that is used for housing people. This means houses, apartments, condos and any other building whose purpose is habitation. If you're a "non-Canadian" and the property you're thinking of is somewhere you'd like to live, that's exactly what you're not allowed to do.

What happens if you violate the ban?

Non-Canadians that purchase residential property, and anyone who helps them in any way (while knowing they shouldn't be), are eligible for a fine of up to $10,000. The ban doesn't affect the actual sale of the property in question, so you'll be out up to $10,000 plus the cost of your illegal home if you find yourself in this undesirable position.

A court can also order you to sell the property if it finds that you've violated the ban.

Why is this legislation in place?

The point of this ban, according to the government, is "to make sure that housing is owned by Canadians instead of foreign investors."

In Chrystia Freeland's 2022 federal budget address, she added that the idea is to create a "fairer" market for Canadians. Through this legislation, she argued, "we will prevent foreign investors from parking their money in Canada by buying up homes. We will make sure that houses are being used as homes for Canadian families, rather than as a speculative financial asset class."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Willa Holt
    Staff Writer
    Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog focused on apartments for rent and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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