On March 27, 2023, the Government of Canada quietly relaxed the rules barring non-Canadians from owning Canadian property by modifying some of the exceptions to the law. The amended Regulations now make it easier for foreign workers with valid Canadian work permits to buy and own property in Canada. The amendments are driven by the need to ensure that skilled foreign workers (and students who will likely become workers) put roots down in Canada on a long-term basis.

The amendments are as follows (excerpted from CMCH’s website):

The Act and Regulations provide exceptions, including for the following persons:

Temporary residents studying in Canada, if they:

  • are enrolled in a program of authorized study at a designated learning institution as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, and
  • have filed income tax returns for each of the 5 taxation years preceding the year in which the purchase was made, and
  • have been physically present in Canada for a minimum of 244 days in each of the 5 calendar years preceding the year in which the purchase was made, and
  • have not previously purchased a residential property in Canada while the prohibition is in effect, and
  • purchase a property for a price not exceeding $500,000

Temporary residents working in Canada, if they:

  • hold a valid work permit or are authorized to work in Canada, and
  • have 183 days or more of validity remaining on their work permit or work authorization at time of purchase, and
  • have not previously purchased a residential property in Canada while the prohibition is in effect

Refugees, if they:

  • have been given refugee protection or are a protected person under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Refugee claimants and individuals fleeing international crises, if they:

  • have made a claim for refugee protection in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, if that claim has been found eligible and referred to the Refugee Protection Division; or
  • have received temporary resident status in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act based on humanitarian public policy considerations to provide a safe haven to those fleeing conflict

Accredited members of foreign missions in Canada, if they:

  • hold a passport that has a valid diplomatic, consular, official, or special representative acceptance issued by the Chief of Protocol of Canada

Non-Canadians spouses and common-law partners, if they:

  • purchase residential property in Canada with their spouse or common-law partner who is a Canadian citizen, a person registered under the Indian Act, a permanent resident or a non-Canadian for whom the prohibition does not apply.

Previously, foreign workers in Canada had to have worked in Canada for a minimum of three years within the last four years and filed income taxes.

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