Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Expropriation Definition:

The forced purchase of land by a public authority from a private owner.

Related Terms: Eminent Domain

Synonymous to the USA doctrine of eminent domain or what in other common law jurisdictions goes by the descriptive term of compulsory acquisition of land.

The 2010 version of the Expropriation Act of the Canadian jurisdiction of Al;berta defines expropriation as follows at 1(g):

"[E]xpropriation means the taking of land without the consent of the owner by an expropriating authority in the exercise of its statutory powers...."

In Osoyoos Indian Band, Justice Gonthier wrote, at ¶142:

"[E]xpropriation, by definition, is the forced taking of land without the consent of the owner...."

In Northwest Trust, Justice Gallant of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench adopted these words:

"... compulsorily depriving a person of a right of property belonging to him; a present manifestation of the eminent domain of the Crown or State. Compensation may be promised or paid....

"The English and Canadian term for eminent domain". Eminent domain is defined as the power of the nation or a sovereign state to take, or to authorize the taking of, private property for a public use without the owner's consent, conditioned upon the payment of a just compensation".


  • Expropriation Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. E-13
  • North West Trust Co. v. Liberty Investments Ltd. 1986 CarswellAlta 279 49 Alta. L.R. (2d) 309, (sub nom. F. Tonn Construction Co. v. Transalta Utilities Corp.) 75 A.R. 109, 36 L.C.R. 302
  • Osoyoos Indian Band v. Oliver (Town) (2001), REJB 2001-27059, 261 W.A.C. 171, 160 B.C.A.C. 171, [2001] 3 S.C.R. 746, [2001] S.C.J. No. 82, 206 D.L.R. (4th) 385, [2002] 1 C.N.L.R. 271, 75 L.C.R. 1, 278 N.R. 201, 45 R.P.R. (3d) 1, 2001 CarswellBC 2704, 2001 CarswellBC 2703, 2001 SCC 85, [2002] 1 W.W.R. 23, 95 B.C.L.R. (3d) 22

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