An expropriation occurs when a level government requires private property in order to carry out some form of public infrastructure project. Ontario is currently undergoing large transit expansion projects, which include Light Rail Transit (LRT) expansions, and various projects in order to improve traffic flow and transportation times (i.e., road widening, bike lane installations, median installations or removals), all of which may require direct or partial expropriations of land in order to carry out such projects.
Various authorities in Canada are vested with expropriating authority and may carry out such authority in furtherance of a public purpose. Given that an expropriation is an extreme interference, tantamount to an involuntary taking of private property owners, an owner of land or business owner operating on soon to be expropriated land has various rights.
Authorities often seek to carry out an expropriation or the pre-expropriation process in a timely manner in order to move ahead with the infrastructure project without delay. However, expropriated property owners ought to ensure that their rights are protected. This will likely consist of not accepting the authorities first offer of compensation for the expropriated land. There is typically substantial negotiating room as the value to the public of your land may be much higher than the amount being offered. Also, the authorities are loath to go through extensive expropriation proceedings unless a large multi-million dollar plot of land is at issue. Accordingly, property and business owners often have an opportunity to settle expropriation-related matters at an earlier stage but for a much larger amount of money than the initial offer from the authorities.
If you are a property or business owner that has received a notice of expropriation, it is best to consult with an experienced expropriation lawyer to discuss your rights. Feel free to give Goldstein Law Firm a call for a free consultation to discuss your expropriation law related matter today.