Section 22 of the Expropriations Act imposes a critical limitation period – Claimants who have suffered losses as a result of a partial taking of their property or whom have suffered injurious affection to their property or business where no land has been taken, must provide the statutory authority with written notice of injurious affection (“IA”) within one year after the damage was sustained or after it became known. If not, compensation claims for injurious affection are “forever barred.”
A plain reading of s. 22 outlines three key points: (1) notice must be given in writing; (2) notice must be given one year after the damage was sustained; and (3) if notice was not given within one year after the damage was sustained, notice may also be provided after damages became “known” to the person.
On what date does a Claimant know, or ought to have known, they have a claim for IA? The case law has been generous to Claimants who have
valid and unvexatious compensation claims for IA, and this is appropriate. In Willies Car & Van Wash Ltd. v. Simcoe (County) 2015, L.C.R. 39, OMB (upheld on appeal), the OMB noted that it is not reasonable to delay giving notice until after the full amount of the loss is calculated. Instead,
the Board found that s. 22 notice was due one year after the Claimant knew that a road closure was the alleged cause of its income losses – the Board held that notice was due, at the latest, 12 months after a road closure was
finalized and losses began to mount. The Board also noted that “the Claimant is also required to act diligently to inform itself of any loss giving rise to a claim.”
Where construction works are ongoing (i.e., with the Eglinton Crosstown) or other large scale infrastructure projects, injurious affection can theoretically be happening on a daily basis to the business or property; accordingly, a rolling limitation period applies, whereby damages can be claimed for one-year prior to the date the notice was issued. Where the injurious affection ceases, the section 22 notice has to be issued no more than one-year following that date.
If your property has been expropriated in Ontario or you have suffered an unreasonable interference from government construction works, it is important to protect all of your interest (i.e., the market value of the property expropriated, any damages for injurious affection, personal and business losses, and disturbance damages). These categories of damages are expressly stipulated in the Expropriations Act and have specific interpretations that have been applied by the Courts in Ontario. A qualified expropriation lawyer will assist the claimant in understanding the totality of their claims for damages under the Act.
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.
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.