Canada immigration news: Despite Ottawa’s planned two-year ban on home-buying by foreign nationals, permanent residents and international students will reportedly still be able to purchase homes in Canada.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland unveiled Ottawa’s strategy on Thursday to keep house prices in Canada from rising so high as to push working-class and young Canadians out of the real estate market.
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“We will make the market fairer for Canadians,” said Freeland. “We will prevent foreign investors from parking their money in Canada by buying up homes. We will make sure that houses are being used as homes for Canadian families rather than as a speculative financial asset class.”
Ottawa Hoping to Double the Number of Homes Being Built Over Coming Decade
Those foreign investors, though, do not include foreign nationals who are studying at Canadian colleges and universities or those from other countries who have already obtained their permanent residency.
In its latest budget, Ottawa is also proposing to double the number of new homes being built in cooperation with the provincial and territorial governments, municipalities, and the private and non-profit sectors.
“Canada does not have enough homes. We need more of them, fast,” said Freeland. “This budget represents the most ambitious plan that Canada has ever had to solve that fundamental challenge.
“We will invest in building more homes and in bringing down the barriers that keep them from being built. We will invest in the rental housing that so many count on. We will make it easier for our young people to get those first keys of their own.”
Despite Canada’s stated goal of increasing the number of homes built in the country, the plan also calls for a two-year ban on investment in real estate by foreigners. Ottawa sees this speculative investment as fueling inflation in the housing market.
“For years, foreign money has been coming into Canada to buy residential real estate, fuelling concerns about the impact on costs in cities like Vancouver and Toronto and worries about Canadians being priced out of the housing market in cities and towns across the country,” states a backgrounder on the housing market published online by the federal government’s finance department.
“To make sure that housing is owned by Canadians instead of foreign investors, Budget 2022 announces the government’s intention to propose restrictions that would prohibit foreign commercial enterprises and people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from acquiring non-recreational, residential property in Canada for a period of two years.”
Temporary Residents May Also Be Exempt From Two-Year Homebuying Ban
Neither Freeland’s speech nor the backgrounder by the finance department mention anything about temporary foreign workers. The Financial Post, though, has quoted an anonymous person, described as being “familiar with the matter”, as saying foreign workers will also be exempt from the ban on buying real estate in Canada.
Canada remains bullish on immigration. Last year, Canada welcomed 405,330 new immigrants despite the COVID-19 global pandemic and Ottawa plans to raise that level of immigration and welcome more than 1.3 million newcomers between 2022 and 2024.
“Immigration has helped shape Canada into the country it is today. From farming and fishing to manufacturing, healthcare and the transportation sector, Canada relies on immigrants,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser earlier this year.
“We are focused on economic recovery, and immigration is the key to getting there. Setting bold new immigration targets, as outlined in the 2022-2024 Levels Plan, will further help bring the immeasurable contribution of immigrants to our communities and across all sectors of the economy.”
Finance Minister Wants More Foreign Workers to Come to Canada
Under the levels plan presented by the immigration minister this year, Canada plans to welcome 431,645 permanent residents this year, 447,055 next year, and 451,000 in 2024.
In her remarks Thursday, Freeland echoed those sentiments.
“A growing country and a growing economy also demand a growing workforce. A lack of workers—and of workers with the right skills—is constraining the industrialized economies around the world. But there is good news.”
The finance minister vowed her latest budget will make it easier for skilled immigrants to make Canada their home and to do the jobs for which they are trained.
“We will also invest in the determined and talented workers who are already here,” promised Freeland. “We will make it more affordable for people working in the skilled trades to travel to where the jobs are.
“Programs like the enhanced Canada Worker’s Benefit will make it more worthwhile for people to work and will make life more affordable for our lowest paid, and very often most essential, workers.”