Despite Ottawa’s intended two-year prohibition on foreign nationals owning properties, permanent residents and international students will allegedly be permitted to do so.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined Ottawa’s plan to limit housing prices in Canada from skyrocketing to the point where working-class and young Canadians are priced out of the market.
“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.”
Foreign nationals studying in Canadian colleges and universities, as well as those from other countries who have already secured permanent status, are not included among those foreign investors. Ottawa also proposes in its most recent budget to treble the number of new houses developed in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, municipalities, as well as the commercial 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 declared objective of expanding the number of homes produced, the plan also includes a two-year restriction on foreigners investing in real estate. This speculative investment, according to Ottawa, is supporting home market inflation.
“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.”
Neither Freeland’s speech nor the finance department’s backgrounder makes any mention of temporary foreign employees. Foreign employees will also be protected from the restriction on owning real estate in Canada, according to the Financial Post, citing an anonymous source who is “familiar with the situation.”
Canada is still optimistic about immigration. Despite the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, Canada accepted 405,330 new immigrants last year, and Ottawa aims to increase that number to over 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.”
According to the immigration minister’s proposal, Canada will welcome 431,645 permanent residents this year, 447,055 the next year, and 451,000 in 2024. Freeland repeated those concerns in her speech on Thursday.
“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.”
“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 improved Canada Worker’s Benefit will make working more appealing to individuals and make living more reasonable for our lowest-paid, and often most critical, workers.”
Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.