Court of Appeal Confirms No Entitlement to Developer’s Profit on Expropriation

The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a decision on October 10, 2001, of the Ontario Divisional Court that might significantly increase the cost of acquiring land for public projects in Ontario, and the court restored the decision of the Ontario Municipal Board. In allowing the appeal of the Upper Grand District School Board, the court confirmed that developers are not entitled to compensation for prospective profit in addition to an award of market value for the land expropriated upon the expropriation of school, or other sites.

The claimants sought compensation as if their proposed development were built and ready for sale, although at the time of the expropriation, the lands were designated, zoned and registered for development with dual zoning for both a school site and a residential subdivision. The court confirmed that the loss of land purchased for development is fully compensated by its market value. The claimants had lost inventory that could be replaced by purchasing and developing land elsewhere. The court also overturned the award of interest on the lost profit award, stating that interest is not available on disturbance damages under the Expropriations Act.

The Court of Appeal stated that the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Dell Holdings v. The Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority, had no little application to the facts of the claimants’ case in that the claim for lost developer’s profit was not the natural and reasonable consequence of the school board’s expropriation.

The school board was represented by Stephen Waqué and Gabrielle Kramer of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. The claimants, 747926 Ontario Limited and The Realty Group Corporation, were represented by Marc Somerville, Q.C., and John Doherty of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.