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Did You Know the new Foreign Buyer Ban Does Not Apply to Commercial Properties?

From January 2023 foreign buyers will be prohibited from purchasing homes in Canada subject to exemptions detailed in BCREA's article below. This ban will not apply to commercial property transactions.

From BCREA*:

"Starting in January 2023, non-Canadians will be banned from buying homes across Canada, through the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act. This Act prohibits non-citizens and non-permanent residents from purchasing residential property in Canada for two years.

The federal government has still not released the supporting regulations for the foreign buyer ban. The regulations are expected to include definitions, exceptions, and enforcement elements to help REALTORS® and their clients understand and comply with the law. Below is a description of what we do know:

The Act restricts non-Canadians from avoiding the ban by using corporations or other entities to purchase residential property. Both the non-Canadian purchaser of prohibited property and any person or entity that knowingly assists in the purchase can be fined up to $10,000 and the property may be forced to be sold.

“Residential property” includes detached houses or similar buildings of one to three dwelling units, as well as parts of buildings such as semi-detached houses, strata units or other similar premises.


At this point, there is still lots that we do not know about the Act, because details have not been announced through regulation. There may be exemptions for certain groups of people, types of residential property and special circumstances, but these have not yet been established. Also, it is still unclear what is meant by “control” and what is considered “purchase” within the Act. The final regulations are intended to be published later this fall.

Although it is uncertain, we anticipate exemptions will be put in place for:

  • recreational properties,

  • residential property located outside of a large urban centre,

  • vacant land where the land has been zoned for residential use or mixed use by municipal authorities within large urban centres,

  • Indigenous peoples,

  • international students on the path to permanent residency,

  • individuals with work permits residing in Canada,

  • individuals fleeing international crises and other vulnerable populations, and

  • accredited members of foreign missions in Canada.

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