When the government seeks to claim your land, the consequences for you and your family can be life-changing. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your rights are protected by expert expropriation lawyers in Toronto.

The Supreme Court of Canada considers expropriation of land by the government one of the ultimate expressions of authority. As such, the government has a high threshold to meet in order to justify the expropriation. An expropriation lawyer in Toronto can help you protect your land if these strict standards are not met.

Additionally, expropriation lawyers in Toronto are able to help maximize the compensation that you would receive for your land during expropriation. Authorities rarely offer the full compensation you are entitled to under the Expropriations Act.

By building an expert team of land use planners, real estate appraisers, and business loss valuators, among others, Unified LLP will construct the strongest possible argument for higher compensation for your property. We are always willing to argue your case before the Ontario Land Tribunal if a fair settlement is not reached.

Additionally, the complexities and nuances of expropriation law are often difficult to determine. For instance, typically the expropriating authority is obligated to cover reasonable legal fees, appraisals, and other professional costs when land is being expropriated. That means that, more often than not, both professional and legal fees will be reimbursed by the authorities following the settlement of the claim.

Expropriation lawyers in Toronto dedicated to fighting for you and your family, business, and property

Being subjected to possible expropriation is both daunting and stressful. To have governmental authorities seize your property seemingly out of nowhere is hard to fathom. 

This can upend your business or home, permanently altering your life. 

As such, we approach every case with attention and care. We know what’s on the line, which is why we always take the time to understand your unique circumstances. Our approach is one that is measured, compassionate, caring, and diligent, ensuring that no detail is overlooked in your case. 

Combined with our expropriation lawyers’ deep knowledge and understanding of relevant expropriation law, we’re able to help you protect your land and/or get the maximum compensation possible. 

If your property is under threat of expropriation, get in touch with a Toronto expropriation lawyer today at Unified LLP to ensure your rights are protected.

Contact a Trusted Expropriation Lawyer Today

Expropriations are governed by specialized legislation that sets out the rights of governments and the rights of landowners. 

Expropriation law has over time been expanded via case law and precedents, some of which have been appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

As an experienced expropriation lawyer Toronto, the team at Unified LLP has extensive familiarity with the Expropriations Act in addition to the Municipal Act, Planning Act, environmental legislation, and all other relevant acts and legislation. 

Get in touch for a consultation – let us help you protect your rights. Unified LLP has years of experience representing private property owners and business owners in the Toronto area before the Tribunal and the courts in expropriation matters, helping them achieve the best outcome possible.

The expropriation process – inquiry by a property agent

The government will often appoint a property agent to contact property owners directly in an attempt to negotiate a “friendly” or “amicable” settlement and transaction. 

At this point, we recommend retaining counsel (with an expropriation lawyer Toronto) and a real estate appraiser before entering into any transactions or settlements. This will ensure that you’re receiving fair compensation for your property.

Notice of Application and Hearing of Notice

If an agreement is not reached with the property agent,  you will eventually receive a Notice of Application for Approval to Expropriate. This will be issued by the expropriating authority and will list the property that is to be taken.

Following receipt of the Notice, you have 30 days to request a Hearing of Necessity. The Hearing of Necessity is the only opportunity you’ll have as a property owner to challenge expropriation. The hearing will have the Inquiry Officer hear facts of the case and determine whether the expropriation is fair, sound, and reasonably necessary. 

This is your opportunity to challenge the expropriation (note, you can only challenge it based on the grounds of it being unfair, unsound, or unreasonable – you cannot question the objective of the expropriation itself). The Inquiry Officer does not render a judgment but rather a recommendation to the Approval Authority. The Approval Authority then considers the recommendation of the Inquiry Officer and renders a decision on whether to proceed with the expropriation. 

It’s also worth noting that this part of the process is not eligible for legal fee reimbursement beyond $200. That said, the inquiry does require that the entity looking to expropriate your property must present documentation and disclosure for inspection. The hearing can be used to delay the process and postpone the expropriation date in addition to potentially preventing the expropriation outright.

Plan of Expropriation, Notice of Expropriation, Notice of Possession

If the expropriation is approved, the authority must register a Plan of Expropriation on title to your property within three months.  

Following this, you will be served a Notice of Expropriation, Notice of Election and Notice of Possession.

The expropriating entity can now enter your land without your consent in order to perform a survey, etc..

The Notice of Election provides you three separate options for how market value 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 three months must elapse following the registration of the Plan of Expropriation before the expropriating entity can take possession of the land, except by agreement or court order.

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

Within 90 days of the registration of the Plan of Expropriation, the expropriating entity must make you an offer typically referred to as a Section 25 offer (see our FAQ for more information). 

This offer will take into account the valuation of the land but typically does not accurately assess business losses, opportunity costs, injurious affection, and other losses that you may incur when relinquishing your property. You can accept the Section 25 Offer “without prejudice” which means you’ll receive the proposed compensation while retaining the opportunity to negotiate for higher remuneration. 

Typically, during the settlement negotiation, you will be rewarded reimbursement of costs incurred during the negotiation (legal fees, hiring professional appraisers, etc.).

A claim can be made to the Ontario Land Tribunal for full compensation resulting from the expropriation. This is commenced by a Notice of Arbitration and Statement of Claim. Once rendered, the Notice of Arbitration and Statement of Claim will lead to a process that is very similar to a civil court hearing. 

In a hearing, the process is more complicated, but you will also be entitled to 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)”

Following the hearing, you have the option to appeal. In the past, appeals have been heard before the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.