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Unpacking the Exemptions to Canada’s Foreign Buyer Ban

The real estate landscape in Canada has seen a significant change with recent amendments to the regulations concerning foreign buyers. Initially designed to cool down an overheated housing market, the foreign buyer ban prevented non-resident individuals from purchasing residential properties in certain regions. However, the recent regulatory updates have brought about notable exemptions to this rule.

Understanding the Exemptions

The new amendments have introduced specific exemptions to the foreign buyer ban, aiming to balance the dynamics of local housing affordability with the necessity of foreign investment. Here are some of the key exemptions:

  • Foreign Nationals with Canadian Residency: Foreign nationals who are not Canadian citizens but are legally considered residents can be exempted from the foreign buyer ban. This means that if a foreign national has a permanent resident status or is staying in Canada for a significant portion of the year, they may qualify to buy property, even in the previously restricted areas.
  • Foreign Corporations with Canadian Operations: Foreign corporations that have a substantial business presence in Canada may also be exempted. This is designed to support companies that contribute to the local economy, allowing them to own properties for business purposes or for their employees.
  • Spouses of Canadian Citizens or Residents: If a foreign national is married to a Canadian citizen or a resident, they may be allowed to purchase residential property in Canada, despite the foreign buyer ban.
  • Foreign Students and Workers: The amendments also consider the case of foreign nationals who are in Canada for study or work. These individuals, given their contribution to the Canadian society and economy, may also be exempted from the ban under specific conditions.

Potential Implications of the Exemptions

The exemptions present new opportunities for foreign individuals and corporations to invest in the Canadian real estate market. They could lead to increased activity in the housing market, particularly in cities that are popular among foreign buyers.

However, these exemptions could also stoke competition in the already tight housing market, impacting local buyers. It will be crucial to observe how these changes affect home prices and housing affordability in the coming months and years.

As these amendments signal a significant shift in Canada’s real estate policies, individuals and businesses involved in the real estate sector should keep abreast of these changes. It’s recommended to consult with a real estate professional or legal advisor to understand how these changes may impact personal or business interests.

If you are a Filipino with a work visa or student visa in Canada and you are interested in buying a property, schedule your appointment with Northam Law


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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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