Ontario Expropriation Lawyer: Is Expropriation Legal and Other Expropriation FAQs

“Expropriation” (known as “eminent domain” in some non-Canadian jurisdictions), occurs where a public authority or government acquires private property for some public project or public purpose. For example, land is often expropriated for transit-related projects (light rail transit, bus rapid transit, vehicular roadway widenings, bike lane projects, etc.), to build new schools, to facilitate underground infrastructure needs, and for many other reasons. An expropriation lawyer in Ontario assists with obtaining full and fair compensation for the landowner or business that is subject to an expropriation. Expropriations are happening at a fierce pace all throughout Ontario by lower and upper-tier municipalities, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, Metrolinx and other government bodies. Governments across the political spectrum acquire land from private individuals and businesses. An expropriation lawyer helps keep the government accountable to private individuals by ensuring full and fair compensation is paid.

In Ontario, the Expropriations Act is the main piece of legislation regulating expropriations and sets out the expropriation process and what compensation must be paid to the landowner. The Ontario Land Tribunal is the administrative tribunal in Ontario that has exclusive jurisdiction over compensation proceedings that result from expropriations. Expropriation lawyers assist with advocating for the property owner to ensure fair compensation is paid.

Other legislation that can be relevant to these cases includes:

Will I Be Compensated If My Land Is Expropriated?

Yes, you are entitled to compensation. 

This compensation is determined based on a number of factors, including: 

  • Market value of the land – How much the land would be worth on the open market
  • Damages attributable to the disturbance – If the owner experiences additional, reasonable damages as a result of the expropriation, they can be compensated for them
  • Damages for injurious affection – If the expropriated land impacts the value of the land remaining to the owner, they may be entitled to additional compensation
  • Special difficulties in relocation – As the name implies, if there are special difficulties in relocating, then the owner may be entitled to further compensation

Furthermore, if you are a tenant of the land, the mortgagee, or somehow tied to the land, you may also be entitled to compensation in addition to the owner of the land. 

What Does an Expropriation Lawyer Ontario Do?

Now that we have a basic understanding of the expropriation meaning, it’s time to get a better understanding of what an expropriation lawyer can do for you.

The first thing they will do is consider your claims. They will assess your case and, once retained as counsel, they will begin advising you on how best to proceed in order to ensure that you receive the maximal compensation you are entitled to. 

The next step is that they will assemble an expert team. This team will be comprise of:

If you’ve encountered expropriation in Ontario, we know that the process can be intimidating and stressful. Your land, after all, is subject to seizure by the government, a potentially massive upheaval of your life. Many choose to quickly consult an expropriation lawyer Ontario in order to mitigate the consequences of said expropriation and maximize the compensation you receive for your land. 

In that spirit, our expert team of expropriation lawyers in Ontario have put together this piece in order to help you better understand expropriation and answer a few basic questions:

  • Is expropriation legal?
  • Will I be compensated if my land is expropriated? 
  • What does an expropriation lawyer do? 

Is Expropriation Legal?

The government seizing your land may seem like a violation of rights to personal property, but expropriation is legal, governed by the Expropriation Act

The act is a specialized legislation that defines the rights of governments and the rights of landowners as well as the expropriation process more broadly. Expropriation law has developed over time via case law and precedents; some cases have even reached the Supreme Court of Canada. 

  • Experienced expropriation lawyers and law clerks
  • Real estate appraisers
  • Land use planners

The appraiser will assess the land in order to determine its market value, which in turn will help inform the overall compensation you are entitled to receive after the land has been expropriated. 

The land use planner will consider the best use of the land (whether, for instance, it has more value as a commercial, industrial, or residential property), taking into account project valuations, that can also help inform your overall compensation amount.

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Your expropriation lawyer in Toronto will then take full responsibility for negotiation and arbitration. Whether that all takes place outside a courtroom or involves court hearings, your expropriation lawyer will manage the case for you. 

With the help of the expert team and the information they’ve gathered, they will be able to dispute the compensation you’re meant to receive if they believe that you are not receiving the full amount you’re entitled to. 

Work with Leading Expropriation Lawyers Ontario

Expropriation law can be complex, opaque, and costly to navigate. The added pressure of having your land taken away is naturally a stressful situation. 

At Unified LLP, we understand the stress you are likely experiencing. That’s why we tailor our approach to be as caring and understanding as possible, working diligently to ensure you obtain the full compensation you are entitled to while simultaneously putting you at ease. 

At Unified LLP, we have a commitment to serving our clients with determination and professionalism at every turn. As your expropriation lawyers in Toronto, we will fight to protect your rights and get you fair compensation for your lost land. Get a free expropriation lawyer consultation and we will be better able to assess your needs – and determine how our expert team can help. Get in touch with us today to begin solving your expropriation legal issues or contact Michael Paiva, head of Unified LLP’s expropriation practice directly at 416.800.1733 or 519.729.5038. Work with a leading expropriation lawyer to protect your interests.