Legal Costs Under the Expropriations Act
The Expropriations Act is a remedial statute with the purpose of rendering the expropriated land owner economically whole. Accordingly, in addition to prescribing compensation for land taken and related impacts, the Act also prescribes the reimbursement of reasonable legal and professional costs incurred by an owner in the determination of compensation. The reimbursement of costs is contemplated under section 32 of the Act.
Section 32 states that where the amount of compensation awarded by the Ontario Municipal Board is at least 85% of the formal statutory offer of compensation made by the authority, the expropriated owner is entitled to the reimbursement of “reasonable legal, appraisal and other costs” incurred in the determination of compensation. Where the compensation awarded is less than 85% of the authority’s statutory offer, the Board is granted the discretion to order the payment of costs at it sees fit. Although the costs provisions of the Expropriations Act only reference matters determined by the Ontario Municipal Board, negotiated resolutions often also contemplate the reimbursement of costs in accordance with section 32.
Typically, costs are payable upon the conclusion of a matter, meaning owners are responsible for their costs until they are fully compensated by the authority. Expropriating authorities will sometimes pay interim costs to assist impacted owners.