Don’t take my land – please


There is a lot of construction going on in the south end of Barrie right now, with one of the major projects being the expansion of Mapleview Drive between Bayview Drive and Huronia Road. There is also talk that Mapleview is going to be expanded straight through to Yonge Street, once the City works out some expropriation issues with the landowners along Mapleview. After driving through the construction again this morning, I thought it might be useful to write a bit about what exactly happens on an expropriation.

In Ontario, expropriations are governed by the Expropriations Act. The Act sets out everything to do with expropriations, from who can expropriate, to when an expropriation has occurred, to what compensation is possible for someone who has had land expropriated. In a nutshell, any government authority has the right to expropriate – federal, provincial and municipal. Sometimes, the federal or provincial government can also give authority to a school board, hospital or university to expropriate as well.

Expropriating authorities do not have blanket powers to take whatever property they want, however. The taking must be reasonable and necessary, and if the people whose property is being expropriated wants to contest the expropriation, they can do so. They can also contest the value of the property being expropriated, and insist on being paid more for the expropriation.

It is also possible to claim under the Act for what is called “injurious affection” – basically, damages relating to construction by an expropriating authority. If your land is not expropriated, but its value is affected by works being done by an expropriating authority, you can claim compensation for, essentially, not being expropriated.