The federal government’s ban on new foreign ownership of residential property became law on January 1, 2023. It prohibits any non-Canadian citizen or permanent resident from buying residential real estate for two years. The federal government plans to work with provinces and municipalities during the two-year ban. Their aim is to develop a framework to better regulate the role of foreign buyers in the housing market. The goal is to ensure housing is available for and used by Canadians.
The government wants to make the market fairer for Canadians. The rationale is that it will prevent foreign buyers from parking their money in Canada by buying up homes. Houses being used as homes, rather than as commodities to be traded is how they described the changes.
Who can’t buy Comox residential property under the Foreign Buyer ban?
The act defines a non-Canadian as:
- an individual who is neither a Canadian citizen nor a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act nor a permanent resident;
- a corporation that is incorporated otherwise than under the laws of Canada or a province;
- a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province whose shares are not listed on a stock exchange in Canada for which a designation under section 262 of the Income Tax Act is in effect and is controlled by a person referred to in paragraph (a) or (b); and
- a prescribed person or entity.
Exceptions for buying Comox residential property under the Foreign Buyer ban
- A temporary resident within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; or
- A non-Canadian who buys residential property with a Canadian spouse. A common-law partner if the spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. A person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act.
Includes any real property or immovable that is:
- a detached house or similar building, containing not more than three dwelling units;
- a semi-detached house, rowhouse unit, residential condominium unit or other similar premises, vacant land, where the land has been zoned for residential use or mixed-use and is within a Census Metropolitan Area (having a population of at least 100,000) or Census Agglomeration (having a population of at least 10,000);
- any prescribed real property or immovable.
Non-Canadians found guilty of contravening the act are subject to a fine of not more than $10,000. If the federal government orders the sale of the property, the non-Canadian buyer won’t receive more than the amount paid for the property.
Property Purchased by a Non-Canadian Before January 1, 2023
The ban doesn’t apply if the agreement of purchase and sale of the residential property involving a non-Canadian is dated before January 1, 2023.
Regulations for Comox residential property under the Foreign Buyer ban
There will be future regulations on transactions deemed prohibited purchases.