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What is Expropriation?

Expropriation” is the government’s statutory authority through the powers granted to it under the Expropriations Act (Ontario) to acquire privately owned land for a public purpose without the owner’s consent. If your property is faced with full or partial expropriation in any form, it is important to retain experienced legal representation to safeguard your interests and obtain the full statutory entitlements you deserve. In general, the intent of the compensation scheme created by applicable legislation is to make an expropriated landowner “whole” for the taking of its property. Importantly, compensation entitlements are not limited to only the land itself.

Is Expropriation legal?

Regardless of the underlying reason for the expropriation of your land by the Government of Ontario, you will naturally be asking yourself if this is legal? In short, provided that the applicable expropriating authority complies with its obligations under the Expropriations Act (Ontario), then the answer is yes. However, if your land is expropriated, whether in part or entirely, you are entitled to fair compensation which we will explain in greater detail below.

Types of Compensation for Expropriations:

There are up to four (4) heads of damage under the Expropriations Act that may be relevant in the case of your specific expropriation:

  • Market Value - the fair market value of the expropriated land
  • Injurious Affection - compensation for the reduction in value of the remaining land
  • Disturbance Damages - costs incurred due to the expropriation
  • Special Difficulties in Relocation - compensation for unique challenges in relocating

The applicability of each type of compensation head of damage depends entirely on the facts of each particular expropriation and the use made of the land.

Our team at Bianchi Presta LLP focus solely on representing the interests of landowners to formulate the strongest possible claim available to you at law to maximize your compensation and mitigate any losses.

Undertaking this process involves calculated negotiations with expropriating authorities and typically requires the expertise of not only skilled legal counsel but also land use planners, real estate appraisers, business loss valuators and tax advisors. Each expert serves a specific purpose in advocating for your interests. For instance, land use planners produce evidence in support of determining the “highest and best use” of your property; while real estate appraisers are qualified to provide determinations of fair market value on expropriated land by comparing them to similar sold properties in your local area. The advice of a tax accountant familiar with the potential tax rollovers and replacement property rules can materially assist in expropriation planning and such advice is typically covered by the expropriating authority subject to the “reasonableness” standard.

What about Costs?

The Expropriation Act requires the expropriating authority to pay for all of your reasonable fees in obtaining the assistance of legal counsel, real estate appraisers, land use planners and, in certain circumstances, business valuation experts, engineers and tax experts.

Why Choose Bianchi Presta LLP?

For decades, Bianchi Presta LLP has represented landowners with a wide variety of expropriation matters. Our firm understands the complexities that come with the expropriation of land and possesses the knowledge and expertise to assist our clients with this extensive process. Bianchi Presta LLP understands both the basic land acquisition and the unique complexities of expropriations and our lawyers are dedicated to assisting both residential and commercial landowners with navigating the legalities of expropriation matters.

Bianchi Presta LLP’s experience in Municipal & Development Law, as well as Zoning, Planning and Subdivision of Land allows our legal team to take a well-rounded approach to solving expropriation matters while also inventing alternative solutions.

Our Real Estate and Development Law Group has experience in:

  • Advising on the legal basis for expropriation, required statutory compensation offers by expropriation authorities, potential heads of damage to pursue as well as the prescribed expropriation procedures to be followed
  • Connecting you with the appropriate experts, as appropriate, to assembly a team of qualified appraisers, land use planners and business loss valuators to substantiate your claims for fair compensation
  • Negotiating with expropriating authorities to secure fair compensation to landowners for expropriated land and, where appropriate, other heads of damage
  • Appearing before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal to zealously advocate for landowners (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board) if negotiations do not yield desired results

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