What’s the Process of Expropriation?

When landowners in Ontario are approached about the expropriation of their property, it can be the beginning of a long, potentially contentious process, or it may happen in a relatively short time and not necessarily be unduly stressful.

The legal guidelines for expropriating a property are stated in the Province of Ontario’s Expropriations Act. The exact process you can expect to go through depends on a number of factors, but, generally speaking, the following are the main stages of an expropriation process.

1.    An Expropriating Authority Contacts the Landowner

The first time a landowner learns that his property is the subject of an expropriation is usually when the owner is contacted by an expropriating authority. The direction of that contact is to negotiate a compensation settlement with the property owner in exchange for the owner voluntarily giving up ownership of the property. If a settlement can’t be negotiated, the process moves to the formal expropriation.

2.    Notice of Intention for Approval to Expropriate

At this stage, the owner is formally served a “Notice of Intention for Approval to Expropriate”, which is also published in a local newspaper for three weeks. After being served with the Notice (or the publication of the Notice), the owner has 30 days to request an inquiry into whether the expropriation should happen. Following the request, a hearing is held and a decision made about whether the expropriation should move forward.

3.    Expropriation Plan

With the decision to proceed, an “Expropriation Plan” is registered on the title of the property. The property owner will also be served with official Notices of Expropriation, Possession, and Election. These notices state that the expropriation has taken place, show the date that the Expropriating Authority must assume possession of the property and gives the current owner the opportunity to elect an expropriation date, upon which the owner’s compensation will be based.

4.    Appraisal Report

The Expropriating Authority will subsequently dispatch an appraiser to the property to assess its value and compose an Appraisal Report. Based on the Report, the Authority will prepare a compensation offer. The property owner can accept the offer in full settlement of the expropriation or pursue additional compensation through negotiation with the Authority, or arbitration at the Ontario Municipal Board, or both.

If you have been contacted by an Expropriating Authority, you may need legal advice to protect your rights and interests. You can contact us here at Bisceglia & Associates to schedule a consultation.