The federal government has enacted legislation which will put in place restrictions regarding the purchase of Residential Property by non-Canadians.
The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act (“PPRNC Act”) will come into force on January 1, 2023. The PPRNC Act prohibits a non-Canadian from purchasing, directly or indirectly, any residential property. It further makes it an offence to counsel, aid, abet or attempt to counsel, aid or abet any non-Canadians in the purchase of residential property, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.
A non-Canadian is defined as an individual who is:
Not a citizen or registered as an Indian under the Indian Act,
Not a permanent resident under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,
A corporation that is not incorporated 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 and is controlled by a non-Canadian individual, and
Any other person prescribed by the regulations.
Exceptions are available for non-Canadians who are protected persons or temporary residents under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and for non-Canadians who are purchasing with their spouse or common-law partner who is a Canadian citizen, registered as an Indian under the Indian Act, a permanent resident, or a protected refugee.
Residential Property includes houses with not more than three dwelling units, semi-detached houses, townhouses and condominium units intended to be separately titled and any other properties later prescribed in the regulations.
The new legislation will have accompanying regulations which should help clarify the new rules, but they are not yet available for review.
This new rule will impact any agreements entered into after January 1, 2023 and prior to December 31, 2024. Contravention will not impact the validity of the sale agreement and therefore the Seller should not expect to use the non-Canadian status of the Buyer in an effort to avoid closing a transaction, however, the regulations are expected to include a mechanism for a Court ordered sale of the property should the purchaser be in breach of the PPRNC Act.
Impact of the New Rules
These new rules have significant Impact on lawyers, brokers, realtors, lenders, and custom home builders in 2023. As currently written, the activities that could fall under “counsel, aid and abet” is very broad and could cover most if not all of the usual steps in assisting a new home purchaser. Further, it is not just a corporation who can be guilty of an offence, but also directors, officers, senior officials, managers and supervisors. This is a very broad category of real estate and lending professionals who risk personal liability under these rules for failing to comply with the new rules.
We anticipate that real estate and lending professionals at all stages of the purchase process will be putting new processes and procedures in place to properly identify purchasers and determine whether they fall under the definition of non-Canadian.
It is not yet clear as to whether these new rules will impact lender’s rights in the foreclosure process where lenders fall under the definition of non-Canadian and are seeking an order of foreclosure.
If you have any questions or require further information regarding the impact of these new restrictions, please contact Kimberly Howe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-770-2420 or Heather Trapp at email@example.com or 403-705-1262 or any other member of our Real Estate Team.