Expropriation is a complex process that requires the experience of an expropriation lawyer to navigate. This blog post attempts to shed some light on the expropriation process in Ontario.
How Does the Expropriation Process Start?
Council in the specific region considers a request to begin an application under the Expropriations Act to obtain land and/or an easement for a specific project. No decision is made at an initial meeting. As stated in the initial Notice of Application for Approval to Expropriate, affected property owners have 30 days to request a Hearing of Necessity to consider whether the requested expropriation is “fair, sound, and reasonably necessary in the achievement of its objectives.”
Hearing of Necessity
The Hearing of Necessity is conducted by a provincially-appointed Inquiry Officer. Prior to the Hearing, the expropriating authority must serve the property owner with a Notice setting out its reasons and grounds for the proposed expropriation. The Inquiry Officer may recommend that the authority pay the property owner up to $200.00 to cover costs of the Hearing, irrespective of the outcome.
When a Hearing is held, a written report is provided to the property owner and expropriating authority. The report is not binding. The authority or property owner can then request modifications to the project in accordance with the report.
If no Hearing is requested by the property owner, the approving authority (i.e., Town Council) may approve the expropriation of the land after a 30-day period following service of the Notice of Application for Approval to Expropriate. If the approving authority approves the expropriation, within 3 months of the approval, a Plan of Expropriation must be registered at the Land Registry Office that described the expropriated lands. The registration of the Plan of Expropriation automatically transfers title of the lands to the expropriating authority. A deed signed by the property owner is not required.
The subsequent steps in the expropriations process in Ontario will be explained in a further post. As is evident, it is your right to consult with an expropriations lawyer to discuss the best strategy to maximize your proceeds resulting from an expropriation in Ontario. Feel free to give Goldstein Law Firm a call today to discuss your expropriation law issue.