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Old 03/17/04, 05:48 AM
Posts: n/a
Can a U.S. Citizen Buy Land In Canada?

We are retiring in a few years and are thinking of settling in Canada (Cleaner, kinder, cheaper etc...) Can we, as US citizens, buy/finance property there? Can anyone point us in the right direction?

By the way, we will be receiving retirement pay from a federal job so changing citizenship is not an option.
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Old 03/17/04, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 376
American citizens can buy canadian property. You can only visit for a certain amount of time before you have to back to U.S. I know for imigration they look at whether you can support yourself and if you have major medical problems. I don't know how they are for permanent resident alien status.
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Old 03/17/04, 06:11 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 7,154
Have you spent your vacations in Canada? It's good to try on a region before buying there. There are people near me who own a house on a few acres along a river in southern Ontario. Its is really beautiful in the summer. The days are a couple hours longer. The weather can sometimes be down right chilly, but it might be up in the nintys also. I didn't notice the cheaper part you mentioned. I wonder how medicare would work while living there? Cathy N on melissa's forum would be well versed on your questions as she has done this.
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Old 03/17/04, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Maine
Posts: 3,622
Watch out for taxes. Your property taxes will pay for a national health care system that you won't be able to use. In high school, I was with a friend who broke his leg skiing in northern Quebec, and the hospital wouldn't set his leg, let alone cast it, until his parents drove 4 hours to hand deliver their credit card.

My cousins just bought a condo in Quebec City and paid 14% tax on the property. Some of it depends on the province, but everything is taxed much higher in Canada.
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Old 03/17/04, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 33
Yes, taxes are generally higher here. Land can be cheaper, but it isn't always. Of course, if you're retired with a reasonable income, you don't need to be close to urban centres. This gives you access to lots of cheaper places, especially if you don't mind cold winters or wouldn't be here anyway.

Most of your property taxes won't support the health care system, but rather the school system which you also won't use.

fin29, sorry to hear about your friend's experience, but what was he doing in a foreign country without travel health insurance or some means of payment? I'd sure hate to require medical treatment in the US, which is why if I go for more than a couple of hours across the border, I get health insurance for the required days. Cheap and effective.

I believe land transfer taxes (paid only at the time of sale by the purchaser) are higher for non-citizens, but not sure how much. A simple internet search should find out.

Any ideas where in Canada? I'm sure some of us Canucks can provide lots of advice.

Jeff Hathaway
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Old 03/17/04, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: MI
Posts: 31
I would definetly check out the health care aspect also. We vacationed in Canada and had terrible trouble getting our son treated. They won't even look at what type of insurance you have, you must pay for treatment before it is rendered.
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Old 03/17/04, 09:34 AM
wr wr is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 16,055
Some provinces have foreign ownership laws that prevent people from purchasing land without commiting to residing in them. If you have something in mind, take the time and find out from either the province or the federal government what the laws are, before you lay down you hard earned money. Do not take the word of a realtor, they're in the business of selling land and houses, not studying the fine points of Canadian law.
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Old 03/17/04, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Maine
Posts: 3,622
Like I said, we were in high school-training in remote northern Quebec for downhill ski racing. We were from northern Maine, and up there, Canada is not a foreign country so much as a cheaper place to buy stuff. You can throw a rock on Canada from my parents' house. Foreign travel insurance would have been the last thing on our radars.
No one there, not even the doctors, spoke a speck of english, so that added another element to the difficulties. Between cigarettes in the emergency room, they checked in on him occasionally, but refused to give him even an aspirin for the pain. He did have a blanket, though. :haha: We laugh about it now, but it sure blew at the time.

Now here's a question: when I travel to Canada, I submit paperwork to have some taxes refunded on things like hotel rooms. Then I use the PST balance from purchases to buy junk at the duty-free store on my way out of the country. Do the same rules apply for someone who is "visiting" property they own in Canada? After all, they aren't reaping any of the benefits of paying into that system.
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Old 03/17/04, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 33
Yeah, Buffalo and Detroit aren't really thought of as 'foreign countries' either (though Detroit is a bit like another planet ) Northern Quebec is pretty far from the border, though, so they may not be used to the situation.

We have had a lot of problems with health care fraud, hence the reluctance of some places to treat anything without payment. Also, consider that almost every patient they see would have a health card and payment wouldn't be an issue, so they're not really geared for sending out bills, chasing after payments, etc.

My parents have worldwide health insurance as they are retired, spend the winters in the US, and intend to travel. They've had some procedures done up here that weren't covered by the provincial health plan (OHIP), and there were no problems using their insurance.

Not sure how the PST situation would apply to long term 'visitors'. Different for every province (hence the P). GST being federal would be the same, but I still don't know how it would apply. Presumably, long term visitors would be using things like roads, so it would be unreasonable to offer them a 100% refund on the sales taxes, especially since they wouldn't be paying any income taxes.

Jeff Hathaway
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Old 03/17/04, 11:46 AM
Alex's Avatar  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
Posts: 833
USA citizens can be CDN citzens

Since about 1984 or 5 (as stated below) the US Congress passed a bill that allows USA citizens to be a citizen of another country, including Canada. As long as not disloyalty to USA, etc.

You can be both USA and CDN citizen. You do not have to be a CDN citizen to own land in CDN. You do not have to be a citizen of CDN to get the Provincial (like a State) medical care-insurance.

However, you must at least be a "Permanent Resident" to get that care-insurance. We pay $92CDN/$70 USD a month for two of us for 100% medical insurance.

You can get both a USA and a CDN pension (CPP/OAS from CDN, plus SS from USA), you can receive both, none, or one, depending on when and where you worked.

You must meet certain requirements to gain citizenship to Canada, coming from the USA, or anywhere else - you don't "just drive on up and stay" - as I said below. This procedure is similar to USA, and almost as stringent or tough as USA.

From another post on the same question,

You don't just drive across the border, set up camp, and your in. It is difficult to be accepted to live in Canada as a “Permanent Resident” or Citizen. First your must pass a points test - so many points for education, so many for age (25 to 44), so many for a wife/spouse/husband, etc, etc,. There is a minimum number of points to get an interview, and a limit on the number of people from each country allowed. Just ‘cuz you’re a “merican” doesn’t mean Canada is dying for your wonderful presence.

If you do get accepted, like we did thirty-one years ago, then you must pass another written test and interview to become a Canadian Citizen ( after about June 1984 or 5, the USA Congress passed a bill/rule that will allow you to be both American and other Citizen - as long as you are loyal to USA, etc, etc - once you pass that test of USA requirements, and are not in danger of losing your USA Citizenship, then it is no problem being both). Canada always allowed one to be a Citizen of more than one country.

You can remain only a USA Citizen and Permanent Resident of Canada, and you can then pay for the medical insurance. For instance, if you make over about $24,000 CDN per year (I think that is for two) then we pay about $194 for two of us for two months. If you make less then you can even get the insurance for free. The doctors and care are excellent. We do not think about what will happen if we, get diabetes, heart attack, MS, a cold, old, etc., etc.. It is far superior to the USA system, that we lived with for 28 years - no complaints about the USA medical system either - we left before it started having things that need fixing. Canada is better as far as that part goes.

I will get a USA pension for SS when I get to 66, and I will get a Canadian SI pension when 65, if not working - which I will most likely work- ‘cuz I sort of like it sometimes - not always.

You need to pay Canadian taxes if you are a Canadian Permanent Resident or Citizen - you need to check this out - different for each situation.

Good luck.
btw Someone mentioned about property taxes in Canada. We are in British Columbia, on the west coast. Our property tax for our condo in Vancouver is about $1500CDN (about $1,145 USA) per year - a good deal we figure. Our property tax for our 160 acre property and log cabin in the north is low enough to be fully paid by the "Homeowner Grant" each resident of BC gets each year. So we don't pay any property tax for the cabin property.

Best of Luck,

Thou art That

Last edited by Alex; 04/29/05 at 10:49 AM.
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