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FAQ | Resource

The expropriation process: Protecting your interests and defending your rights

Reading Time 5 minute read


Real Estate Litigation

Expropriation is an operation that allows the government or certain public entities designated by law to dispossess a person from part or all of their property without their consent.

In certain cases, this can mean that a person will lose his business, his buildings or his real estate development project. In other cases, expropriation may also result in the relocation of a business with all the resulting costs.

An Exceptional Procedure

The law is clear: private property is inviolable. The only exception to this rule is expropriation, a procedure considered necessary for the common good. However, and this is paramount, the compensation offered by the public authority must be fair. The courts are in agreement to define what is fair: the expropriated person is entitled to receive the highest market value for his property, taking into account the income that he receives or could receive from its optimal utilisation. So, you are not only entitled to the value of the real estate from which you are dispossessed, but often much more.

However, the offer made to you might not take into account the total value of your property. If this is the case, it would be highly advised or recommended to use a team of specialist lawyers who can demand a higher amount from the expropriating authorities. We have prepared the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you stay informed about the most common questions on expropriation procedures. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is the real impact of an expropriation procedure and the considerable consequences that such a procedure can have on people who are deprived of their property for the benefit of public interests?

Most people are familiar with the term 'expropriation' from having heard it mentioned in the media in connection with major projects. However, very few people understand the real scope of expropriation and are therefore unaware of the considerable consequences that such a procedure can have on the people who are deprived of their property for the benefit of public interests. Discover the basic concepts of expropriation as well as the key elements to be aware of with regard to the procedure applicable to this type of case.
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Q. What constitutes a disguised expropriation and what are the criteria for qualifying disguised expropriation as such?

The concept of disguised expropriation in Quebec law is not new, as the first relevant decisions on this subject were rendered in the 1960s. As evidenced by the abundant amount of decisions in this area, disguised expropriation is still fascinating today and the guidelines for defining it do not seem to have become definitive. 
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Q. Is the principle of full compensation respected when land is expropriated for housing development?

Usually a public body has the right to expropriate any owner, but as this is an extraordinary and far-reaching power, it can only do so in return for fair compensation. In recent years, the courts have occasionally had to consider the expropriation of vacant land for a housing development project.
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Q. How did the Vavilov judgment reshape the jurisprudence on the standard of review?

The rules governing appeals to the Court of Québec from a decision of the Tribunal administratif du Québec ("TAQ") may seem, at first glance, simple and easy to apply. Despite this simplicity of the vocabulary used by the legislator, the reader will note that the implementation of this appeal has seen two divergent positions imposed over the years.
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Our Team

Expropriation is a specialized field that is governed by a particular set of rules. Supported by one of the largest litigation and real estate law practice groups in Canada, our team combines the necessary experience with in-depth knowledge of the processes to successfully conclude the most complex expropriation cases.

Whether your case is simple or complex, we are equipped to represent your interests. We take a pragmatic approach with the aim of settling your cases in the most beneficial way for you.

Our services cover all aspects of expropriation, whether challenging a notice of reservation or a notice of expropriation, or seeking full compensation. We support expropriated persons at every stage of the process and help them make the best decisions, quickly and efficiently.

We also have an extensive network of contacts that allows us to collaborate with eminent experts who are fully available to you (real estate and business appraisers, engineers, urban planners, architects, etc.).

Nikolas Blanchette
Nikolas is also the head of the Real Estate Litigation practice group at the Montréal office. As a lawyer specializing in expropriation: Nikolas is one of the few lawyers in the firm to cover any aspect of expropriation.

Representative mandates and precedent-setting decisions

Our group currently represents more than $1 billion in assets owned by businesses and corporations of all sizes. We serve companies such as Cadillac Fairview, Broccolini, Québecor, Nissan, Brault and Martineau, Metro, Jean Coutu and Redbourne, as well as investment funds, warehousing and transport companies, distributors, builders and retailers.

The business ties that exist between Fasken and its many clients, including Intramodal, Webster, Groupe Hypertec, Jubilant Draxlmage and Parasuco Jeans, demonstrate our ability to represent you in a variety of complex disputes.

Here are some examples of mandates that we have recently concluded:




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