Non Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) - What Does This Mean for You?

The Government of Ontario formally implemented the 15% Non Resident Speculation Tax (NRST), also known as the foreign buyers’ tax, on April 21, 2017.  

Who will be liable? 

The NRST will be imposed on all transfers of residential real estate where the purchasers are foreign entities or are taxable trustees.   

  • Foreign entities: could mean foreign nationals (individuals that are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada) or foreign corporations (not incorporated in Canada, controlled by foreign national or other foreign corporations, or controlled directly/indirectly by a foreign entity for purposes of the Income Tax Act).  

  • Taxable trustee: could mean a foreign entity holding title in trust for beneficiaries, or a Canadian Citizen/permanent resident/corporation holding title in trust for foreign entity beneficiaries.  

Eligible property

The land transferred must be located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, which includes: includes the following geographic areas: City of Barrie, County of Brant, City of Brantford, County of Dufferin, Regional Municipality of Durham, City of Guelph, Haldimand County, Regional Municipality of Halton,  City of Hamilton, City of Kawartha Lakes, Regional Municipality of Niagara, County of Northumberland, City of Orillia, Regional Municipality of Peel, City of Peterborough, County of Peterborough, County of Simcoe, City of Toronto, Regional Municipality of Waterloo, County of Wellington, and Regional Municipality of York. 

It must also contain at least one (1) but not more than six (6) single family residences. It is important to note that the NRST will apply also to properties acquired with a speculative investment intention.  


An exemption from the NRST may be available in each of the following situations: 

  • Nominee: foreign national who is nominated under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program at the time of the purchase/acquisition, and the foreign national has applied or certifies that they will apply to become a permanent resident of Canada 

  • Protected Persons (Refugees): A foreign national on whom refugee protection is conferred (protected person) under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act at the time of the purchase or acquisition 

  • Spouses: A foreign national who jointly purchases residential property with a spouse, who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, provincial nominee, or protected person. The term “spouse” includes either of two persons who are married to each other, or who are not married to each other but who have cohabited: (1) continuously for a period of not less than three years; or (2) in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child. To qualify for the spousal exemption, the couple must occupy the property as their principal residence.  


The NRST is designed with rebates available for eligible foreign nationals, where they may seek a rebate of the amount paid at a subsequent date. The rebates are available in each of the following situations: 

  • Gaining Permanent Residency: A foreign national who becomes a permanent resident of Canada within four years following the date of the purchase/acquisition may apply for a rebate. 

  • International Student: A foreign national may apply for a rebate if they are a student who has been enrolled full-time for a continuous period of at least two years from the date of purchase or acquisition in an “approved institution” at a campus located in Ontario. Full-time means enrolled in at least 60% (if the individual does not have a disability) or 40% (if the individual has a disability) of what the approved institution considers a full course load for the academic year. 

  • Foreign Nationals Working in Ontario: the foreign national has legally worked full-time under a valid work permit in Ontario for a continuous period of at least one year since the date of purchase or acquisition. Full-time means an employment position that requires no fewer than 30 hours of paid work per week over a 12 month period and no fewer than a total of 1,560 hours of paid work over that period.  

The NRST will apply to agreements of purchase and sale (APS) signed after April 20, 2017. For more information, please contact JDC Law! 

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