General local government expropriation powers

Municipalities and regional districts have the power to expropriate real property or works for the purposes of performing their powers, duties and functions.

Expropriation powers allow local governments to purchase property at market value without the consent of the owner. Local governments can expropriate property for any purpose relating to the exercise of its powers, duties and functions

Local governments must exercise their expropriation powers in accordance with the procedures set out under in the Expropriation Act, which sets out a detailed process and rules for determining the appropriate compensation payable by the local government to the landowner.

The power to expropriate private property is among a local government's most far-reaching authorities, and therefore would only be used with appropriate caution, planning and prudence and used where other reasonable alternatives have been exhausted.

Appropriation of stream channel or bed without compensation

Municipal councils have the authority to appropriate the land constituting the channel or bed of a stream that passes through the municipality, without compensation to the owner, for the purpose of constructing one or more of the following:

  • Dikes
  • Works to maintain the proper flow of water in a stream, ditch, drain or sewer
  • Works to reclaim or protect part of the land mass of the municipality from erosion by action of the sea, a stream or another cause
  • Works to protect the banks of the stream from erosion or damage
  • Works to make a watercourse part of the municipal drainage system
  • Works through, under or over land adjoining a highway to protect the highway from damage by water

Before appropriating the land, the council must, by bylaw, define the channel or bed of the stream. The municipality must also file with the Land Title Survey Authority a certified copy of every bylaw made under section 34(2) of the Community Charter, together with a plan showing the channel or bed of the stream as defined in the bylaw.

Regional districts have appropriation authority under Local Government Act. In order to secure a water supply for the regional district, it may expropriate a water license for the diversion of water and works built under the authority of the license.