The consequences of expropriation for you and your family can be life altering. It’s critical to safeguard your rights with the help of experienced expropriation lawyers in Hamilton.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada, expropriation of land by the government is considered one of the ultimate exercises of official authority. This means that the government faces a high standard in order to justify the expropriation. An expropriation lawyer in Hamilton will help you protect your land and rights when the expropriating authority fails to meet these stringent standards.

Expropriation lawyers in Hamilton work to maximize the compensation you will receive for your land should it be expropriated. Authorities typically fail to offer full compensation you are entitled to under the Expropriations Act.

Unified LLP’s expropriation lawyers assemble a team of leading land use planners, real estate appraisers, and business loss valuators, among others, to develop an ironclad, robust argument for a higher payment for your property. If necessary, we will readily present your case before the Ontario Land Tribunal if a fair settlement cannot be reached.

Expropriation law is complex and nuances, requiring the right combination of skill and experience to expertly craft an argument. For example, usually the expropriating authority is obligated to cover reasonable legal fees, appraisals, and additional professional costs when land is subject to expropriation; both professional and legal fees can be reimbursed by the expropriating authorities following the conclusion and settlement of the claim.

Expropriation lawyers in Hamilton here to fight for you, your family, your business, and your property

Facing land expropriation is both stressful and confusing. After all, you have governmental bodies attempting to legally seize your property seemingly out of nowhere – this can be jarring to say the least. Both your business and your home could be subjected to immense change following an expropriation claim.

With the stakes this high, the team at Unified LLP approaches every case with dedication and care. We know what could be potentially be on the line – which is why we take the time to get to know you and your individual circumstances. At Unified, we are measured, compassionate, caring, and diligent, sparing no resource in your defence. 

Our unique, client-centric approach works in tandem with our comprehensive knowledge of relevant expropriation law. This approach has helped dozens of clients protect their land successfully or get the maximum compensation possible. 

Should you be facing expropriation, reach out to a qualified Hamilton expropriation lawyer today at Unified LLP to ensure your rights are protected.

Connect with a Trusted Expropriation Lawyer Today

Expropriations are informed by specialized legislation that clearly lays out the rights of governments and the rights of landowners. 

Expropriation law has expanded over time with the addition of case law and precedents, some of which have been presented before the Supreme Court of Canada. 

As your experienced expropriation lawyer Hamilton, you’ll have access to a legal professional and team that have extensive familiarity with the Expropriations Act in addition to the Municipal Act, Planning Act, environmental legislation, in addition to other relevant acts and legislation. 

Get in touch for a free consultation – we’re here for you. Unified LLP has years of experience representing private property owners and business owners in the Hamilton area and across the GTA> We’ve argued cases before the Tribunal and the courts, ensuring our clients always achieve the best outcome possible.

How the expropriation process works – inquiry by a property agent

The government’s first action is to appoint a property agent to get in contact with property owners directly in an attempt to negotiate a “friendly” or “amicable” settlement and transaction. 

It is recommended that you retain the counsel of an expropriation lawyer Hamilton and an experienced real estate appraiser before agreeing to any transactions or settlements; this ensures that you receive appropriate compensation for your property.

Notice of Application and Hearing of Notice

If the agreement with the property agent fails,  you will next receive a Notice of Application for Approval to Expropriate. This is issued by the expropriating authority and clearly marks which property is to be possessed.

After the Notice is received, you’ll have 30 days to request a Hearing of Necessity. The Hearing of Necessity is your only opportunity as a property owner to challenge the expropriation. At the hearing, the Inquiry Officer hears the facts of the case and determines whether the expropriation is fair, sound, and reasonably necessary. 

When challenging the expropriation, you can only challenge it based on the grounds of it being unfair, unsound, or unreasonable – you are not able to make an argument regarding objective of the expropriation itself. The Inquiry Officer will not render a judgment but instead issue a recommendation to the Approval Authority. The Approval Authority considers the recommendation and issues a decision on whether the authority can proceed with the expropriation. 

During this part of the process, you will only be eligible for legal fee reimbursement up to $200. The inquiry does, however, require that the authority seeking to expropriate your property present documentation and disclosure for inspection. The hearing serves a dual purpose: delay the process and postpone the expropriation date while also having the potential to prevent the expropriation outright.

Plan of Expropriation, Notice of Expropriation, Notice of Possession

Should the expropriation be approved, the authority will register a Plan of Expropriation on title to your property within 90 days.  

You will then be served a Notice of Expropriation, Notice of Election and Notice of Possession.

The expropriating entity now has the authority to enter your land without your consent in order to perform a survey and perform similar actions.

The Notice of Election gives you three options for how the market value of your property will be assessed: from the date of the Notice of Inquiry, the date of registration of the plan of expropriation or the date of the service of the Notice of Expropriation. 

At least 90 days must elapse after the registration of the Plan of Expropriation before the expropriating entity can legally take possession of your land, with the only exceptions coming by way of agreement or court order.

The Section 25 Offer, Ontario Land Tribunal, Notice of Arbitration, Statement of Claim, Reimbursement of Costs, Appeals

Within three months of the Plan of Expropriation, the expropriating authority must make an offer to you typically referred to as a Section 25 offer. 

This offer takes into account the valuation of the land but usually fails to accurately assess business losses, opportunity costs, injurious affection, and other losses that you may suffer when relinquishing your property. You can choose to accept the Section 25 Offer “without prejudice” which means you’ll receive the proposed compensation and maintain the ability to negotiate for higher compensation. 

Usually, during settlement negotiation, you will be reimbursed for the costs accumulated in the course of the negotiation (legal fees, compensating professional appraisers, etc.).

A claim can be made to the Ontario Land Tribunal for full compensation. This is started via a Notice of Arbitration and Statement of Claim. Once sent, the Notice of Arbitration and Statement of Claim begin a process that is similar to a civil court hearing. 

During the hearing, the process becomes more complicated, but you will receive reimbursement for fees as defined in Section 32 of the Act: 

“Where the amount to which an owner is entitled upon an expropriation or claim for injurious affection is determined by the Board and the amount awarded by the Board is 85 per cent, or more, of the amount offered by the statutory authority, the Board shall make an order directing the statutory authority to pay the reasonable legal, appraisal and other costs actually incurred by the owner for the purposes of determining the compensation payable, and may fix the costs in a lump sum or may order that the determination of the amount of such costs be referred to an assessment officer who shall assess and allow the costs in accordance with this subsection and the tariffs and rules prescribed under clause 44 (d)”

After the hearing, you may appeal; appeals have been heard before the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Hamilton Expropriation Lawyer FAQ

What is expropriation? What do I do if I’m facing expropriation?

The Expropriations Act empowers the government to acquire land without the owner’s agreement for public use. It mandates fair compensation for the owner, covering the property’s value and reasonable expenses for legal and professional services. At Unified LLP, our expertise spans expropriation cases, ensuring our clients receive the fullest compensation possible under these circumstances.

What is a notice of possession?

In Ontario’s expropriation law, a Notice of Possession is a formal notification issued by a government or authorized entity to a landowner. It serves several purposes:

  • Confirms the expropriation of the property.
    Specifies the date when the property will be taken over.
  • Outlines the compensation determination process and the owner’s rights.
  • Advises on the owner’s legal options and the procedure for leaving the property.
  • This document is crucial for understanding one’s rights and potential compensation under the Expropriations Act, which aims to ensure fair treatment and compensation for affected property owners. Legal counsel is often sought by recipients to fully grasp their entitlements and the legal framework.

This document is crucial for understanding one’s rights and potential compensation under the Expropriations Act, which aims to ensure fair treatment and compensation for affected property owners. Legal counsel is often sought by recipients to fully grasp their entitlements and the legal framework.

What does compensation cover?

Compensation encompasses all financial losses and costs stemming from expropriation, including:

  • The value of the land.
  • Business disruptions.
  • Challenges related to relocating a business.
  • Additional damages from the expropriation.
  • Injurious affection for partial expropriations.

At Unified LLP, we leverage our comprehensive understanding of Ontario’s expropriation laws to maximize our clients’ compensation.

Do I have to fully own the land to be compensated?

Ownership status does not restrict compensation eligibility. Individuals with mortgages, estate trustees, tenants, or creditors may also qualify for compensation under Ontario’s expropriation statutes.

What is an expropriation scheme?

The term “scheme” refers to the planned project and activities by the expropriating authority leading to public development, which may influence damages and compensation assessments outside of the property’s market value.

Full vs partial expropriation – what’s the difference?

The government may acquire either all or part of a property. Partial expropriation can adversely affect the property’s functionality and value, known as “injurious affection,” necessitating compensation for affected businesses.

What is a Section 25 offer?

Following an expropriation notice, the authority must propose compensation within 90 days. Accepting this offer “without prejudice” allows for the pursuit of additional compensation, although initial offers may not fully cover all losses.

What is a Section 30 agreement?

This agreement entails a voluntary land transfer to the expropriating authority for agreed compensation, providing a mechanism to address potential concerns proactively.

What are my options when faced with an expropriation?

Engaging with professionals, including planners, appraisers, and legal experts, is crucial when contesting expropriation. These experts can help formulate a compelling compensation claim, especially useful in tribunal or court proceedings.

Does expropriation impact my taxes?

Expropriation can affect taxes, potentially allowing for a “rollover” to defer taxes on a replacement property. Legal advice is vital for navigating these tax implications, often covered by the expropriating authority.

How does injurious affection work?

This applies to losses from reduced land value or personal and business damages due to expropriation, with specific time limits for claims. Compensation for injurious affection, including interest on market value, is an essential aspect of the expropriation process.

What other legal services do you offer?

We are able to serve as your:

At Unified LLP, we leverage our comprehensive understanding of Ontario’s expropriation laws to maximize our clients’ compensation.

The above FAQ is only meant to inform and should not be taken as legal advice. Connect with a leading expropriation lawyer Toronto so we can get a better understanding of your unique situation.