Principles of Expropriation Law in Ontario
As a senior partner with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and a Member of the Board of Directors and Past President of the Ontario Expropriation Association, Frank Sperduti has approximately 20 years of experience with Ontario’s expropriation legislation. He has acted for many owners in land compensation claims involving expropriations for urban renewal projects, highway acquisitions and widenings, and municipal improvement projects. Here, he explains the principles of Expropriation Law in Ontario.
Expropriation is by definition the “taking” of land without the consent of an owner by a government authority in the exercise of its statutory powers. The power to expropriate has been described as one of the most significant government interferences a private citizen can endure. ’The process a government authority must follow is complex, rivalled only perhaps by the complexity of the claims for compensation available to the property owner,’ explains Sperduti. “Disputes about market value in expropriation compensation claims are fairly common, but when there are disagreements about highest and best use or business losses, experts from various fields need to be engaged. There are also time frames and limitation issues that both owner and expropriating authority must bear in mind. A good example is the one year window within which an owner must make a claim for compensation for injurious affection.”
With the right legal and other expert advice, expropriation compensation claims will move quickly and smoothly through the negotiation and arbitration process. Since expropriation is by definition a “forcible” taking of land, owners enjoy special cost protections not usually available to participants in common civil actions. The Expropriations Act aims to make the owner “whole” by reimbursing them for their “reasonable” legal, appraisal and other costs, in addition to compensating the owner for market value and other losses.
Stay tuned for additional blog posts about various concepts and principles involved in the expropriation process from how to manage initial, pre-expropriation negotiations to having complex claims mediated or arbitrated in Ontario.