Canada has recently announced changes to the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act, allowing more foreign nationals to purchase homes in the country.  The Act originally restricted non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents from owning residential property, with limited exceptions.

Previously, temporary residents were required to have filed their income tax returns and worked in Canada for a minimum of three years within a four-year period prior to the year of purchase to qualify for this exemption, but this requirement will no longer apply.  The Canadian government had put this Prohibition into place to protect Canadians from rapidly rising home prices.

Amendments to the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act will make it easier for temporary residents who hold a work permit or are authorized to work in Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to purchase residential property.

These individuals will be eligible if:

  • They have 183 days or more of validity remaining on their work permit at the time of purchase,
  • The purchase price of residential property does not exceed C$500,000 and
  • They have not purchased more than one residential property.

Additionally, foreign nationals can now purchase vacant land zoned for residential and mixed-use development.

The Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion explained, “To provide greater flexibility to newcomers and businesses seeking to contribute to Canada, the Government of Canada is making important amendments to the Act’s Regulations. These amendments will allow newcomers to put down roots in Canada through home ownership and businesses to create jobs and build homes by adding to the housing supply in Canadian cities. These amendments strike the right balance in ensuring that housing is used to house those living in Canada, rather than a speculative investment by foreign investors.”

These changes address the challenges faced by companies in relocating staff to Canada for business operations due to the housing stability preferences of foreign workers.  Employers should find these changes beneficial in hiring foreign workers in response to critical labor shortages.

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