Municipal law encompasses legal services relating to the function of local government.

As your municipal lawyer Toronto, we have a mastery of the nuances and complexities of municipal law. This includes the practice of law relating to all aspects of the Municipal Act, 2001, City of Toronto Act, 2006, Planning Act and other local and provincial legislation and policies that impact the operation and activities of municipalities and those affected by the exercise of their powers. Our municipal law firm involves land use planning and development law relating to the use, acquisition, development, and protection of land.

We are experienced advocates before the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) (formerly the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, Ontario Municipal Board), Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB), Committee of Adjustments, Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Land Tribunal, and various municipal councils and committees across the GTA on a variety of municipal law matters in Toronto and the GTA, Waterloo Region and throughout Southern Ontario.

We have a deep knowledge of Ontario municipal law and assist clients in navigating its complexities and nuances to achieve the best possible results.

Our municipal lawyers advise and give opinions on a broad range of general municipal law issues, including:

  • Expropriation compensation claims
  • Development approvals
  • Land use planning law and appeals
  • Land acquisitions and dispositions
  • Conveyances and severances of land 
  • Minor variances 
  • Development and subdivision agreements 
  • Municipal taxation
  • Heritage matters
  • Aggregate resources
  • By-law enforcement defence
  • Development charges
  • Building permit matters
  • Judicial review of municipal decisions and by-laws
  • Municipal governance matters
  • Municipal planning matters
  • Legal advice and opinions for municipal councils (in camera
  • Official Plan Amendments
  • Zoning By-law Amendments
  • Temporary Zoning By-law Applications


We act for land and business owners in expropriation claims regarding full or partial takings, injurious affection, business losses and disturbance damages.

As the Supreme Court of Canada has importantly noted in the Dell Holdings case, expropriation of land is one of the ultimate exercises of governmental authority. The lawyers at Unified LLP work hard to protect the rights of property owners and to seek full compensation for their land. 

The Section 25 offer that the expropriating authority must provide to owners rarely captures the full extent of the compensation an owner is entitled to under the Expropriations Act. Unified LLP will explore every avenue of compensation and work with you to assemble a team of experienced land use planners, real estate appraisers, business loss valuators and other necessary experts to advance the strongest compensation claim. We will advance matters all the way to a hearing before the Ontario Land Tribunal when a fair settlement cannot be negotiated with the expropriating authority. 

Property owners often do not know that the expropriating authority is usually obligated to pay for reasonable legal, appraisal and other professional costs when land is being expropriated; your legal and professional fees are usually paid by the authority once your compensation claim has been settled. 

We assist landowners, business owners and tenants with expropriation matters related to:

  • Full or partial takings of land
  • Negotiating possession and compensation
  • Injurious affection 
  • Disturbance damages 
  • Section 30 agreements 
  • Negotiations and arbitrations
  • Challenging the decision to expropriate (Hearing of Necessity)
  • Assisting clients with the retention of experts such as, land use planners, real estate appraisers and business loss valuators    

Municipal Lawyer Toronto Experienced with Development Applications and Land Use Planning Appeals 

Unified LLP advises landowners and developers throughout the development application process through to site plan approval and the issuance of a building permit.

Our advice starts with a review of the development objective within the applicable municipal scheme, including an analysis of the Official Plan and Zoning By-Law, and any secondary or area-specific plans. We work with clients to hire a registered land use planner to review the proposed project and to provide a planning justification report. 

The second major phase is the pre-consultation phase where development goals are discussed with municipal staff and possible problems and roadblocks are identified by municipal staff which we work to resolve and negotiate. Resolving any problems that emerge in the pre-consultation phase is critical for the success of a development application because municipal staff will issue a formal opinion to Council or Committee of Adjustment on the merits of the development. The final phase is the issuance of the final application and to make submissions to the Committee of Adjustment or municipal Council deciding the matter and to participate in the public process. 

If a development application is rejected by a municipality or approved by the municipality but appealed by another party, we have successfully advocated for our clients at the Ontario Land Tribunal and can assist our clients through the land development process with appeals relating to official plans, zoning by-laws and the re-zoning of lands, plans of subdivision and severances, site plans and minor variances. We have acted for developers of multi-use properties and owners of vacant residential and farmlands to reach their development goals.

We have extensive experience identifying and building the appropriate expert witness teams necessary to advance your development project and appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Affiliation with Powell Planning & Associates

Unified LLP is a proud affiliate of Powell Planning & Associates (PPA).

Powell Planning & Associates is a land use planning and development consulting firm specializing in development application approvals for all land use planning matters.

PPA’s team of dedicated and experienced professionals provide land use planning services to Unified LLP clients requiring expert knowledge in:

  • Due diligence research Design
  • Highest and best use analysis
  • Plan of Subdivision Applications
  • Plan of Condominium Applications
  • Minor Variance Applications
  • Consent Applications
  • Official Plan Amendment Applications
  • Zoning By-law Amendment Applications
  • Site Plan Applications
  • Development Compliance matters
  • Planning Justification Reports
  • Expert Witness Testimony at Local and Provincial Tribunals

PPA services projects across the GTHA, supporting clients navigating through the land use planning approvals process. PPA is results-oriented, aims to produce efficient and integral deliverables while working in partnership to produce planning projects, serving the public good.

Aimee Powell – Land Use Planner, RPP

For more information on Aimee Powell, principal and founder of PPA, please see her bio here.

For more information on Powell Planning & Associates, please visit the PPA website here.

Experienced Municipal Law Firm

The municipal law team at Unified LLP has represented both public and private-sector clients successfully for over 10 years across Ontario municipalities. 

As an experienced municipal lawyer in Toronto, we’ve worked with a wide variety of stakeholders and clients, including:

  • Developers
  • Property owners
  • Business owners
  • Contractors 

Get in touch with a municipal lawyer in Toronto you can trust so you can achieve the best possible outcome no matter what legal matter you face. 

Reach out to our municipal law firm today.

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Municipal Lawyer Toronto FAQ

What is municipal law? Is it different in Toronto?

Municipal law governs the operations of local governments (i.e. municipalities). In Toronto, it includes regulations, zoning, land use planning, and other legal matters specific to the city. This includes the Toronto Local Appeal Body which hears appeals on specific Toronto planning decisions. In Toronto, the City of Toronto Act operates in the same fashion that the Planning Act does in the rest of Ontario.

How can I find the right municipal lawyer in Toronto for my case?

You’ll need a firm with a focus in municipal law. Ideally, you’ll want to find experienced municipal lawyers in Toronto with a proven track record in handling cases similar to yours in Toronto.

What types of cases do municipal lawyers in Toronto handle?

Municipal lawyers in Toronto are able to assist with a wide variety of cases, including land development, expropriations, official plan and zoning amendments, zoning appeals, administrative hearings, property tax disputes, matters related to municipal bylaws and regulations, and when faced with a hearing before a local land tribunal.

Is it necessary to hire a local municipal lawyer in Toronto?

Hiring a local municipal lawyer is advantageous because they have in-depth knowledge of Toronto’s specific regulations and planning policies, and can provide valuable insights into your specific case or situation.

How can a municipal lawyer help with land use planning and development?

They’ll assist you with applications, appeals, and negotiations with city staff in relation to land development in Toronto. They can help you navigate the zoning and permitting process.

What role does a municipal lawyer play in property tax disputes in Toronto?

Municipal lawyers can represent you in property tax assessment appeals, helping to ensure that your property is assessed fairly and that you are not overcharged on property taxes.

Do municipal lawyers handle cases involving environmental regulations in Toronto?

Yes, municipal lawyers may also deal with cases involving environmental regulations, especially when they intersect with local government policies and land use. We are adept at obtaining the necessary environmental approvals for our clients and managing any disputes regarding environmental regulations.

How much does it cost to hire a municipal lawyer?

The costs of hiring a municipal lawyer in Toronto may vary depending on the complexity of your case. It is advisable to discuss fees and billing structures during your initial consultation.

Can a municipal lawyer in Toronto help with public hearings and community engagement?

Yes, a municipal lawyer can guide you through the public hearing process and advise on strategies for effective community engagement in matters involving local government decisions and in order to preserve your appeal rights.

What other practice areas do you serve?

Our is well-versed in all aspects of municipal law, representing clients in expropriation proceedings, litigation proceedings, legal disputes regarding zoning and planning, etc. We can serve as your:

Past clients include developers, land owners, business owners, and contractors.

Remember that this FAQ is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or representation. Consult with a qualified municipal lawyer in Toronto to address your specific legal concerns and for assistance with challenging municipal regulations.