Expropriation Law Centre




Expropriation Law Centre


Expropriation requires legislation
J. Bruce Melville

Expropriation is a statutory process. All Canadian expropriation authorities rely upon statutory provisions for their expropriation powers. Expropriation powers are found in many Canadian statutes. Here is a selection of some of the most commonly used statutory powers:


Hydro and Electric Energy Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. H-16, s. 37

This statute regulates the development and operation of electric generation, transmission and distribution works. Power to expropriate is provided to authorized operators.

Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. M-26, s. 14

This statute enables municipal government within Alberta. It provides a power to expropriate for a broad range of municipal purposes.

School Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. S-3, s. 199

This statute enables the publicly-funded education system in Alberta. It provides a power to expropriate any land necessary for a school board to carry out its functions.

British Columbia

Community Charter, S.B.C. 2003, c. 26, s. 31

This statute provides enabling powers for most municipal governments within British Columbia. It provides a general power to expropriate for municipal purposes.

Hydro and Power Authority, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 212, s. 16

This statute creates the public-owned electric utility known as B.C. Hydro. Power to expropriate is granted to B.C. Hydro for any purpose related to the exercise of its corporate powers.

Transportation Act, S.B.C. 2004, c. 44, s. 10

This statute authorizes expropriation of land for works of public utility. It is used primarily for highway projects.


Ministry of Infrastructure Act, S.O. 2011, c. 9, s. 10

This statute provides a general power to expropriate for any government purpose.

Public Hospitals Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.40

Regulates the development and operation of public hospitals. It provides a power of expropriation for conducting hospital operations.

Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.50

This statute provides primarily for the development of public highways. It includes a power to expropriate for any purpose authorized by this Act.

The list above provides a small sample only. In fact there are hundreds of statutes that grant powers to expropriate and there are an equally large number of parties having those powers. Many of those parties are government agencies but not all. Private persons can also act as expropriating authorities. Privately owned utilities are an example of this.

Where the power to expropriate exists, the procedures and compensation principles applicable are often found in a different statute than the one which grants the power to expropriate. In other cases a single statute provides the complete code.

The Statutes page on this website provides links to the most common procedural statutes and regulations applicable within Canada.

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Page last updated: February 15, 2016