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Surveyors' Right of Entry

Landowners affected by infrastructure projects and/or facing expropriation often wonder if a surveyor may access private property without permission. The simple answer is yes.

In Ontario, the Surveys Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S. 30 allows licensed surveyors and persons in the surveyor`s employ to enter onto private lands to carry out survey works. However, a surveyor may be liable for any damage caused to the property while carrying out investigative activities. Section 6(1) the Act states:

Right to enter land, buildings

6. (1) A surveyor or a person in the surveyor’s employ while making a survey may,

(a) at any time enter and pass over the land of any person; or

(b) at any time suitable to the occupant of a building enter the building,

and do any act thereon or therein for any purpose of the survey, but the surveyor is liable for any damage occasioned thereby.

Moreover, the legislation provides that landowners cannot obstruct a surveyor from entering the property. Section 6(2) of the Act provides that an owner can be fined up to $100 for obstructing a surveyor from entering the property:

Offence for obstructing

(2) Every person who interferes with or obstructs a surveyor or a person in the surveyor’s employ in the exercise of any of the powers conferred by subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $100. R.S.O. 1990, c. S.30, s. 6.

To minimize intrusion, owners may consider speaking with the expropriating authority or responsible government agency to request advance notice, or to seek specific times for surveyors to enter the property.

Related Blogs

Learning of a Potential Expropriation

Landowners often learn of a potential expropriation long before it actually takes place. Owners will sometimes become aware that their lands are to be acquired/expropriated for an infrastructure project through a public consultation or information session.

Why is My Land Being Expropriated

Land can be expropriated for a variety of public purposes, depending on the institution or government authority carrying out the work. Most expropriation projects arise out of a need for new and improved public infrastructure, and arrive on the heels of environmental assessments which determine the best route or location for the project.

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.

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