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Unraveling Canada’s Foreign Buyer Ban: Understanding Your Rights

The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property Act, commonly known as the Foreign Buyer Ban, came into effect on January 1, 2023, to address Canada’s housing crisis. Originally set to expire in 2025, it has since been extended to January 1, 2027.

Understanding the Ban

Non-Canadians are prohibited from buying residential properties with three dwelling units or less, including semi-detached houses and condominium units, within Canada. However, they may purchase properties outside of Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) and Census Agglomerations (CA). To determine if a property falls within the CMA or CA, you can utilize the tool provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Census Metropolitan Area and Census Agglomeration Guidance Tool.

Exceptions to the Ban

The Foreign Buyer Ban also extends to corporations and entities not listed on a stock exchange in Canada and controlled by non-Canadians.

However, the Act details several exceptions:

  • Temporary residents (Students and Workers) – who satisfy prescribed conditions
  • Protected Person under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Non-Canadian spouses and common-law partners – who purchase residential property with their Canadian or Permanent Resident (or those who are not prohibited by the Act) spouses and common-law partners.

In March 2023, the exceptions were expanded to include:

  • Non-Canadians with a valid work permit can purchase mixed-use and commercial land if they have at least 183 days left on their permit, and they do not purchase more than one residential property in Canada.
  • Non-Canadians can purchase vacant land zoned for residential and mixed-use purposes for any purpose, including residential development.
  • Non-Canadians can purchase residential property for development purposes.

Moreover, the following are not considered a purchase for the purposes of the Act:

  • Acquisition of interest to the property due to divorce, separation, gift, or death.
  • Non-Canadians who rent and occupy a dwelling unit
  • The transfer under the terms of a trust that was created prior to January 1, 2023
  • When a creditor exercises a security interest or secured right, such as seizure and foreclosure of residential property.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with the act may result in penalties, including fines of up to $10,000 CAD and court-ordered sale of the property at no more than the purchase price.

If you require legal guidance on navigating the Foreign Buyer Ban and understanding your rights, the Northam Law team is here to assist you every step of the way. Contact us HERE.


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Melissa has 8+ years of combined Commercial, Business and Contract Law experience as In-House Counsel in manufacturing, health, real estate development, and broadcast communication industries. She is instrumental in developing strategies to minimize legal risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

She has 6+ years of Human Resources Management experience and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Her practice includes Family Law, Civil Litigation, Wills & Estates and Real Estate & Conveyancing.

For fun, she visits ancient sites and ruins and belts out popular Broadway tunes.

northam law corporation

Northam Law is a boutique law firm offering advisory services in Real Estate Law and Conveyancing, Business Law, and Human Resources. Our practice areas also include Wills & Estates and Family Law. Notarization services are also available.

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