On February 2, 2023, the following letter was sent to:
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, MP Thunder Bay-Superior North
Marcus Powlowski, MP Thunder Bay-Rainy River
Dear Minister Freeland & Minister Fraser:
I am writing to express our concerns regarding the recently enacted regulations on the Federal Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians, which is applied quite broadly to new arrivals that have not yet received their permanent resident status. We acknowledge that this regulation has been set up to discourage foreign speculation, however, we are concerned about the unintended consequences that this ban may have on efforts by Thunder Bay employers to attract skilled foreign workers.
Our concerns arise because the exemptions to the ban on the purchase of residential property are very narrow and do not apply to participants in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) that are awaiting permanent resident status. As per the Ministerial Instructions, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a community-driven program. It’s designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in one of the participating communities. RNIP is delivered in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins, allowing eligible employers to make full-time permanent job offers to skilled foreign workers who can help fill identified labour shortages in the community. Upon arrival in the community, RNIP participants work under a temporary work permit while they wait up to 12 months for their permanent resident status. As such, under the current ban on residential property purchases, these individuals and their families will be prohibited from purchasing a home during their initial integration period in the community.
This ban on the purchase of residential property by non-Canadians is counterintuitive to the goal of removing obstacles for PR settlement for those who are in the process of settling in the Rural and Northern areas of Canada, where IRCC has already determined that targeted immigration recruitment and retention efforts are needed and should be prioritized. To date, Thunder Bay has successfully recruited more than 400 skilled workers plus their family members through the RNIP program. We want to continue this success by ensuring that new arrivals have the opportunity to put down roots in the community.
To address these concerns, we urge the Government of Canada to ensure that the exemptions to the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians are immediately expanded to include participants in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
Charla Robinson, President