Goldstein Law Firm

Goldstein Law logo

Toronto Expropriation Lawyers Representing Property & Business Owners

What is Expropriation?

As the government implements various infrastructure projects across Ontario, there is a growing need for the government to purchase private property from land and business owners in order to accommodate public construction work. The government has the statutory authority under the Expropriations Act in Ontario to take land without the consent of the owner. When an expropriating authority purchases property from private owners without their consent, an intention to purchase the property amicable will ensue; and if this process is unsuccessful, the authority will ultimately proceed with an expropriation.

Property owners, residential tenants, and commercial tenants (i.e., business owners) are considered “owners” under the Expropriations Act in Ontario; and accordingly, we assist these parties in obtaining fair compensation for lands or businesses they are deprived of as a result of expropriation.

There are few specialized legal experts in the area of expropriation law in Ontario, and it is imperative that you retained specialized counsel to assist you, as there are many unique aspects of expropriation law, including timing and notice requirements, the types of compensation you are entitled to, and the arbitration process at the Ontario Lands Tribunal.

In addition to our expertise in expropriated properties, our Toronto Expropriation lawyers work with a group of specialists (i.e., land appraisers, and business loss valuators) that have expertise in the area of expropriation.

What is the Expropriation Act?

The Expropriations Act R.S.O 1990, Chapter E. 26 (the “Act”), is the legislation that governs expropriations in the province of Ontario. It applies in situations where land is taken by an expropriating authority (e.g. school board, city council) that is in line with its statutory powers, and/or when such taking of land causes injurious affection to adjacent property.

In addition, the Act also outlines the expropriation process in Ontario, how an affected land owner is to be compensated, how they can challenge the expropriation of their land, the kinds of claims that may be asserted, etc. Considering the complexity of this legislation, hiring an expropriation expert is a necessity to receive the compensation you deserve.

What is the Expropriation Process?

Generally speaking, assuming no amicable purchase and transfer has been made between the parties, the expropriation process follows the below timeline: 

  1.  Expropriating authority seeks approval from the relevant parties (e.g. applicable Minister, city council, or board). 
  2. Once approved, the expropriating party sends a Notice of Application for Approval to Expropriate to the registered owners of the property and publishes it in the local paper for three weeks. 
  3. Within 30 days, the property owner may elect to challenge the reasonableness of the expropriation through a Hearing of Necessity. If a hearing is not requested, the approving party may approve the land takeover–with little or no modifications. 
  4. Upon approval, the expropriating authority will register a Plan of Expropriation within three months of receiving approval to go ahead with their annexation. 
  5. The plan of expropriation is registered and the expropriating party is now registered on title for the property. They are required to send the following notices to the landowner upon registration:
    1. Notice of Expropriation
    2. Notice of Possession
    3. Notice of Valuation
  6. Within three months of sending these notices, the land may be taken by the expropriating authority, either with the consent of the owner or with consent from an applicable governing body. In addition, a Section 25 Offer of Compensation will be sent to the landowner, which outlines how they will be compensated for the loss of their land.
  7. Finally, the expropriated party may choose to accept the offer, refuse it, or accept it with the stipulation that further compensation may be required. There may be additional hearings/mediations to come to a conclusion regarding compensation.

Our Toronto Expropriation Law Firm is expert in representing expropriated property owners against government authority

Expropriation involves the public taking of land without the private owner’s consent. It is also referred to as eminent domain. It is an extreme exercise of government authority. As a property owner, you may first become aware of a pending expropriation when you receive a Notice of Application of Intention to Expropriate Land from your local municipality or transit authority. This Notice sets out the nature of the project and the land to be taken. Within 3 months of approval for expropriation being granted by the authorities, a Plan of Expropriation is registered pursuant to Section 9 of the Act, at which time the authorities take legal ownership of the property requirement. 

Sometime thereafter the expropriating authorities will take possession of the property, which will be indicated in a Notice of Possession form, which will be furnished along with a Notice of Election form, which will determine the date for valuation of the property.  Various interim steps are taken by the authorities between the date of plan registration and the date of possession under the Expropriations Act. It is imperative to contact experienced legal counsel at this early stage to ensure your rights are preserved with respect to the process.

Has the Government involuntarily expropriated your land?

Land and business owners are entitled to various forms of compensation resulting from the expropriation of land.  Few Expropriation lawyers have extensive knowledge of the Expropriation Act.  Contact our law firm today for more information about our services.

Property Expropriation can involve permanent purchases of fee simple interests in land (full taking or partial taking of land). In other words, the expropriating authority will involuntarily purchase your property, and you, as property or business owner, are obliged to accept this decision. Recent changes in 2020 in Ontario to the Building Transit Faster Act, have expedited the process, allowing the government authority to bypass the ‘hearing of necessity’ process, which previously allowed property owners to challenge the reasonableness of the expropriation.

A business owner or landowner that had land expropriated is entitled to various forms of compensation:

  • Fair market value of their property;
  • Disturbance damages, or any losses that are a natural or reasonable consequence of the expropriation;
  • Business losses and relocation expenses;
  • Injurious affection damages;
  • The reimbursement or reasonable legal and professional fees.

What is a Plan of Expropriation?

When an expropriation is approved by an “approving authority” (as defined by the Expropriations Act in Ontario), the municipal authority will register a plan of expropriation on the title to the expropriated lands.

Once the plan has been registered, title, or ownership of that portion of the expropriated land “vests” in the expropriating authority (but this does not give the expropriating authority the right of possession).

After the plan has been registered on title, the expropriating authority will serve all registered owners with: (i) a Notice of Expropriation, which provides notice that the lands have been expropriated; (ii) a Notice of Possession, indicating the date on which the expropriating authority requires possession of the lands; and (iii) a Notice of Election, which permits the owner to select one of three dates upon which compensation for the lands will be based.

After service of the notice, officials may enter the expropriated lands (with the owner’s consent, or upon an order issued by the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal) in order to view the lands for the purpose of preparing an appraisal report, which is intended to support of Offer of Compensation for the expropriated lands in accordance with Section 25 of the Expropriations Act.

Once an appraisal report has been prepared, the official authority will provide a copy of the report to each registered owner, along with an offer of compensation for the owner’s interest in the lands expropriated. Owners then have two options: (1) accept the offer in full settlement of all claims under the Expropriations Act, or (2) accept the offer while preserving the right to claim additional compensation from the municipality. Where the second option is selected, owners can assert their claim for additional compensation through formal or informal negotiation, or through arbitration at the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board). Often, negotiation and arbitration proceedings are pursued simultaneously.

Please note that the above-referenced procedures are only applicable to expropriations in Ontario – and expropriation legislation and the associated processes vary from province to province.

Contact us at Goldstein Law Firm in Toronto for all your Expropriation legal Matters

Goldstein Law Firm, Expropriation Lawyers in Toronto | Representing Owners of Expropriated Properties Across The Greater Toronto Area. Our lawyers have extensive experience navigating the Expropriations Act in Ontario for property owners and business owners that are subject to expropriation disputes.  Expropriation law is a specialized practice area and it is important that you hire a specialist in expropriations law to protect your rights. Call us today at 647-838-6740 or use our contact form for a free consultation. For additional frequently asked questions click here.

Don’t Hesitate To Ask

Free Consultation

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.