Served With a Notice of Expropriation. What Now?

If you have been served with a Notice of Expropriation (Form 7) under the Expropriations Act, R. R.O. 1990, Reg. 636 (the “Act”) in Ontario, this suggests that the authorities will be undertaking the process of taking all or a portion of your land for a public purpose.

Under the Act, the expropriating authority will notify the property owner of the amount of compensation it is willing to pay for the interest in your land. If you are not satisfied with the offer, you are entitled to have compensation negotiated by the Board of Negotiation established under the Act or to have compensation determined by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal if an agreement with respect to compensation cannot be reached by negotiation.

It is imperative that the property owner understands that they are entitled to compensation for the fair market value of their land taken, and the diminution in value of the remaining lands in which they retain ownership (also referred to as injurious affection).  Injurious affection may occur where, for example, a large retaining wall has been built at the end of their property, or aerial transmission lines, which impact the view of the property and result in a general decline in appraised value. Though these instances do not represent a direct taking of property, the property owner has the right to claim for compensation as a result of the value destruction.

The property owner and expropriating authority may agree to dispense with the negotiation procedures and refer the matter directly to the LPAT to have compensation determined by arbitration.

With respect to legal and professional fees, Section 32(1) of the Act provides that the Board shall make an order directing the statutory authority to pay the reasonable legal, appraisal and other costs actually incurred by the owner for the purposes of determining the compensation payable, and may fix the costs in a lump sum or may order that the determination of the amount of such costs be referred to an assessment officer.

Contact an Expropriation Lawyer in Toronto today for a free consultation on your rights if your property is subject to an expropriation in Ontario.

Offers of Compensation – Approving Expropriations

An expropriating authority is required to obtain the approval of the local council or “approving authority” in order to carry out an expropriation. An example of such approval is contained here

In the link, attached, permission is sought from the City of Toronto to expropriate and acquire temporary construction easements to facilitate the construction of the Toronto Spadina Subway Extension Project. As we have discussed here, temporary easements are strips of land contained in a property owners parcel, which is required by the authorities for an indicated period of time to carry out construction work. The authorities do not seek to acquire permanent interests in such property; as when the construction work is completed, access will no longer be required to such land, and full ownership reverts back to the property owner, with no easement or otherwise attached thereto.

The expropriating authority will always require that the property owner signs a Full and Final Release in exchange for the payment of compensation for the expropriation. It is imperative that the property owner carefully reviews the terms of the Release to ensure that future claims are not barred should they arise. For instance, in the above-referenced case related to a temporary construction easement, if the works take longer than initially anticipated, the authorities may need to extend the duration of the easement, which will result in additional compensation for the property owner. However, if the Release is drafted in a way that precludes the property owner from obtaining additional compensation for an easement extension, then substantial funds could be lost.

Accordingly, and given that expropriating authorities are required to reimburse reasonable legal and professional fees under the Expropriations Act, it is advisable to consult with an expropriation lawyer before signing any agreement for compensation.