When municipalities and other statutory authorities undertake major infrastructure projects, the projects often require the acquisition of land within increasingly built up central areas. When a landowner is not willing to sell their land, the land can be expropriated under Ontario’s Expropriations Act. Expropriation (or Eminent Domain as it is called in the United States) is essentially a compulsory land taking by a statutory authority. For example, in Ottawa, many home owners and land owners have been, and will be, dealing with expropriations as a result of the Ottawa Light Rail Project, or the “LRT”.
The Expropriations Act seems deceptively simple, but expropriations are extremely complicated to navigate as the Act is simply a jumping off point, with case law establishing many of the core principles of the expropriation process. Entitlement to compensation as a result of expropriation is quite complex and owners should seek legal advice early in the expropriation process to ensure that they understand their rights in the circumstances.
This Expropriation Explanation Paper (click to download the PDF) and Expropriation Flow Chart provide an overview for land owners to better understand the expropriation process. Have questions? Contact Ursula Melinz with our Municipal, Land Development & Expropriation team.
Disclaimer: This paper does not constitute legal advice but is merely intended as a high level overview for information purposes.