Public Authority Expropriation

Public Authority Expropriation

Expropriation can be expensive, time-consuming and politically disruptive. However, the fact remains that most capital projects require the acquisition of land to be successful. When land cannot be acquired by agreement, expropriation is the only alternative. At Thomson Rogers we approach expropriation as a remedy of last resort and a powerful tool that is often necessary to meet an expropriating authority’s objectives.

To reduce the risks associated with expropriation and minimize costs, we work with our public sector clients to develop tools and strategies designed to:

  • Facilitate early negotiations and reduce public controversy;
  • Ensure the date for delivery of possession of the land is predictable and reduce delays inherent in the expropriation process;
  • Minimize costs; and,
  • Improve the prospects that the plan of expropriation will be registered where landowners require a hearing of necessity.

While most landowners are focused on compensation issues, we know that our public sector clients require possession of the expropriated land before construction activities can commence and at a cost commensurate with their budget. To meet those objectives our strategies consider the requirements of the Expropriations Act in two phases; a focus on timely acquisition to allow the project to proceed and fair compensation.

We work with our clients to coordinate and complete the statutory requirements that must be undertaken before ownership of the land can be obtained by registration of the plan of expropriation and possession subsequently secured. Experience dictates that the acquisition phase can be accomplished in about 9 to 15 months and we endeavour to reduce those timelines where possible. All of the statutory steps are detailed on our Expropriation Planner.

The 2nd phase is focused on the claimant’s compensation. Generally the timing associated with this phase is less crucial because the expropriating authority has possession of the land and as a result is able to pursue the public purpose for which the property was acquired while final compensation is determined. Our strategies focus on an early determination of fair market value and an approach designed to minimize exposure to costs. However, in some cases landowners require that compensation be determined by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). When that occurs, we are well equipped to develop litigation strategies to process the claim efficiently. Where appropriate, we deploy state-of-the-art technology to create document databases that assist in the cost-effective review of landowners’ claims.

The lawyers at Thomson Rogers have the experience and skills to assist expropriating authorities meet their deadlines at a cost consistent with their budgets. For more information contact any member of our Expropriation Law Group or email us.


Representative Cases

  • Provided strategic advice to a City that resulted in the acquisition of a ground water remediation zone associated with a landfill using compensation strategies based on the Expropriations Act but prior to commencing the expropriation process.
  • Represented a Regional Municipality in an expropriation compensation proceeding necessary as a result of an Environmental Assessment Host Community Agreement which resulted in a complete settlement for approximately half of the land owner’s multi-million dollar claim.
  • Represented a Regional Municipality in an expropriation compensation proceeding where the municipality was the claimant as a result of a taking by a provincial agency.
  • Provided strategic advice to a County and a lower tier municipality and worked with them to implement a land assembly strategy to facilitate development by a third-party based on the adoption of a Community Improvement Plan and the exercise of expropriation powers where necessary.
  • Avoided expropriation processes by negotiating voluntary agreements pursuant to section 30 of the Expropriations Act and voluntary Offers to Sell.
  • Resolved a claim for “constructive expropriation” brought by a landowner as a result of the expansion of a landfill.
  • Developed a strategy for the acquisition of a storm water easement for a City based on compensation pursuant to the Expropriations Act.
  • Provided strategic advice to in-house expropriating authority lawyers related to the implementation of the Expropriation Act and compensation issues.

To speak to us about your case call one of the lawyers below or contact us at 416-868-3100 (or toll free at 1-888-223-0448). Alternatively, you can complete and submit a consultation request form online.