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Expropriations: Can the government take your land?

Region: Ontario Answer # 406

Under rare circumstances, the government may be able to buy your property from you for a fair price, but without your consent. This is called expropriation, and it means the taking of private property for public use. Common examples of expropriations include situations where a municipality wants to widen a road, or where a school decides that an addition to its facilities is necessary. Under these circumstances, the municipality or the school will serve a notice of application to the registered owners of the property, and the property owners can then request a hearing to determine whether the expropriation is fair and reasonable. Eventually, the relevant provincial ministry either approves or rejects a proposed expropriation.

In addition to fair compensation for the price of the expropriated property, land owners may also have a right to compensation for losses such as those incurred by tenants, business losses, mortgage prepayment losses, and other specific losses. A lawyer or your local municipal office can provide you with additional information about expropriations.

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