April 13, 2023

Expanding Access to Halal Financing to Help Muslims Buy Homes in Alberta

Alberta’s government is working with the Alberta Council of Imams and the Al Rashid Mosque to explore opportunities for Islamic-compliant, or halal, financing.

In 2022, Alberta’s government introduced a regulatory sandbox to offer businesses temporary relief from certain legislative and regulatory requirements, making it simpler for them to research and adapt their new products and services for the market.

Currently, many Muslims are unable to access traditional mortgage financing through regulated financial institutions, as paying or charging interest is prohibited under Islamic law. Halal financing provides mortgages to qualified homebuyers using fees and charges that resemble regular mortgage payments.

Alberta has the mechanisms in place to support the introduction of halal financing. Alberta’s regulatory sandbox could help introduce halal financing in an expedited way. It also creates the opportunity to ensure that required legislative changes would be compliant with Islamic law.

“As Premier, I’m truly blessed to be able to advocate on behalf of all communities. With Alberta’s innovative approach to enable halal mortgages, more people may be able to access mortgage lending services in this province. Making Alberta an easier place to practise and live by one’s faith is an important part of building a secure and inclusive Alberta for those from all around the world who dream of a better life.” - Danielle Smith, Premier

Applicants to the sandbox must meet rigorous entry requirements to ensure consumer protection. After being researched in the regulatory sandbox, the government would work towards introducing legislative amendments that would enable Alberta financial institutions to offer halal financing. This would make Alberta the first province to offer halal financing by a provincially regulated financial institution.

“We are pleased to have the mechanisms in place to support Albertans with new financial solutions such as the development of halal financing through exemptions available under the regulatory sandbox. By creating a flexible regulatory environment, we can attract new and innovative financial services into the province while also ensuring Alberta consumers are protected.” - Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

"We are laying the foundation for Halal mortgages in Alberta so the Muslim community can easily own affordable housing in similar terms as regular mortgages. This initiative will allow our community greater opportunity for financing while respecting our Muslim faith." - Omar Mahmoud, president, Edmonton Council of Imams (ECI)

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