Ontario Line Transit Project Land Expropriations

My law firm practices expropriation law across Ontario, which involves assisting business owners, commercial and residential property owners and tenants who are subject to an expropriation i.e., involuntary takings of land by government authorities, typically for transit expansion projects.  As you may be aware, the Ontario government has confirmed the design plan for the Ontario Line Transit Project, and the property where you reside in will be expropriated.

In accordance with s.13 of the Expropriations Act, an owner i.e., property owner, business owner, or tenant, as the case may be, are entitled to various forms of compensation, including but not limited to:

Where the land of an owner is expropriated, the compensation to the owner shall be based upon,

(a) the market value of the land;


(b) the damages attributable to disturbance;

(c) damages for injurious affection; and 

(d) any special difficulties in relocation. 

Each sub-heading has a technical definition and each case is unique.

 

Owners have advised to me that it is their intention to “fight the expropriation.” Unfortunately, the Ontario government has passed legislation called the Building Transit Faster Act designed to accelerate the pace of transit expansion in urban areas.  One of the changes introduced in this Act was to eliminate the right to request a “hearing of necessity”, which typically permits an expropriated property owner to request a third-party inquiry officer to assess the proposed land acquisition to determine whether it is reasonably necessary.  This mechanism has now been eliminated. As such, the taking of your land is truly an involuntary, unilateral act by the government.

The Expropriations Act attempts to protect private property owners from the extreme exercise of governmental interference. Specifically, the Act requires that owners are “made whole,” or compensated for all damages that are a natural and reasonable
consequence of the expropriation.  In addition, s.32 of the Act requires that the
authorities, in most cases, pay the reasonable professional fees (i.e., legal, business valuation fees, appraisal fees, etc.) incurred by the owner in order to determine the compensation payable. As such, no fees should be payable by you for an expropriation lawyers’ counsel.

My law firm has settled numerous cases for small business owners on Eglinton Avenue related to the Eglinton Crosstown Construction, and for expropriated property owners across Ontario.  I am also a small business owner myself, operating a paint/hardware store on a part-time basis, while also practicing expropriation law, so I understand the challenges when your business or property is disrupted.