Federal Government’s Regulations on Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act

February 6, 2024

On Sunday, February 4, 2024, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the federal government’s intention to extend the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act (foreign buyer ban), which was first introduced in 2023, by two years to January 2027.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) believes the federal government’s intention to extend the foreign buyer ban is unnecessary, considering there is no analysis, evidence, or data from Statistics Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), or Finance Canada, to support the extension.

Previously, on December 21, 2023 the federal government released the supporting regulations on the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act (Foreign Buyers Ban) which includes definitions, exceptions, and enforcement elements to help individuals understand and comply with the law.

How can REALTORS® reduce risk?

The regulations clarify that an order requiring the Residential Property be sold may be sought provided certain conditions are met, namely the Non-Canadian is the owner at the time the order is made and notice requirements have been met. The Act provides any person knowingly assisting or attempting to assist a Non-Canadian in the purchase of a prohibited property may be subject to a summary conviction offence under the Criminal Code and a fine of up to $10,000.

CREA recognizes the regulatory analysis states “the regulations do not impose information collection, processing or reporting requirements on Canadian professionals, nor do they impose requirements with respect to the completion of forms or other types of documentation.”

Despite record keeping not being a mandatory obligation, CREA recommends REALTORS® perform due diligence. To better assist REALTORS® with risk mitigation, CREA has developed a certificate entitled Certification and Consent of Purchaser.

With limited information available on how this law and its regulations will be interpreted and enforced, please be aware the certificate is a risk mitigation tool to try and help REALTORS® comply with the law.

The certificate should be completed before assisting or advising a potential purchaser, and it should be used in combination with other due diligence practices. Other due diligence practices may include reviewing and keeping a record of the purchaser’s valid and current identification (such as a passport) to determine the purchaser’s citizenship, residency, or exempt status.

As you are aware, REALTORS® already have an obligation to Know Your Client pursuant to the FINTRAC Regime. This includes ID’ing clients and recording certain information. The key difference is that under the FINTRAC Regime you may ID your client at the time of the transaction, whereas pursuant to this law, REALTORS® should ID clients before assisting or advising them on the purchase of a property.

As real estate is provincially regulated, REALTORS® should ensure they comply with any guidance provided by their provincial regulator, board, and association.

What is the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act?

On June 23, 2022, Parliament passed the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act. Into force since January 1, 2023, this Act:

  • Does not apply to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Applies to non-Canadians directly or indirectly purchasing residential property in Canada for a period of two years.
  • Applies to residential property, including detached houses or similar buildings of one to three dwelling units, as well as parts of buildings such as semi-detached houses, condominium units, or other similar premises.
  • Applies to direct or indirect purchases of residential property, including purchases made through corporations, trusts or other legal entities.
  • Establishes penalties for non-compliance applicable to non-Canadians, as well as any person or entity knowingly assisting a non-Canadian in violating the prohibition.

What are some of the key elements covered in the regulations?


The regulations broadly define the term purchase to include the direct or indirect acquisition of a right or interest in Residential Property. The regulations then specifically exclude, among other things, acquisitions of interests resulting from transitional or life events such as death, divorce, separation, or a gift.

Application of Prohibition to Non-Canadian corporations and other entities The term Non-Canadian, as it relates to corporations and other entities, has been defined as:

  • an entity not formed pursuant to the laws of Canada or one of its provinces; and
  • an entity formed under Canada’s laws that has direct or indirect ownership by a Non-Canadian of 3% or more of the value of the entity’s equity or voting rights.

Excluded residential properties

Properties located outside of a Census Agglomeration (CA) or Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) are excluded from this prohibition. CMHC has also developed a tool to help REALTORS® determine if a property could be subject to the foreign buyer ban. By entering the exact address of a property, or manually clicking through the map, users will be able to determine if a property is in a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) or a Census Agglomeration (CA). If a property is outside of a CMA or CA, it’s excluded from the prohibition.


Exceptions to the prohibition are permitted for international students, temporary residents, foreign nationals, and refugee claimants, subject to varying conditions, such as tax filing and residency obligations. For further details, please consult the regulations and/or ensure the buyer who may fall into one of these exception groups seeks legal advice on their eligibility.

  1. Purchasing with a Spouse or Common-Law Partner
    A Non-Canadian can purchase property if they do so with their Spouse or Common-Law Partner.
  2. Temporary Residents
    This includes international students or individuals with a work permit. Temporary residents must meet certain criteria, which differ for students and workers.
  3. Acquisition by Death, Divorce, Separation, or Gift
    The legislation prohibits a Non-Canadian from “purchasing” property. However, acquiring property through inheritance, divorce, separation, or as a gift is not considered a purchase.
  4. Vacant Land
    The Ban applies to Residential Property. Initially, vacant land was also included in this definition. However, the regulations have been amended, and now vacant land can once again be purchased by Non-Canadians.
  5. A Property Not Located Within a “CA” or a “CMA
    If a property is not within a census agglomeration or a census metropolitan area (basically, not in or near a city or large town), it is excluded from the ban. This means Non-Canadians can buy residential properties in these rural areas. CMHC created a tool to identify these areas here.
  6. Foreign Nationals and Refugees                                                                                                                                                              Foreign nationals who hold a passport that contains a valid diplomatic, consular, official or special representative acceptance; persons that have made a claim for refugee protection.

Additional guidance

Further to the information that has been provided in the regulations, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has released additional information and FAQs with respect to the interpretation of the Act and regulations.

Some content courtesy of CREA, Canadian Real Estate Association