The Supreme Court of Canada recently dismissed the City of Winnipeg’s application for leave to appeal a Manitoba Court of Appeal decision in a landmark expropriation award in favour of a Winnipeg car wash and rust-proofing business.
In 2015, the City of Winnipeg expropriated Madison Holding Ltd.’s car wash and rust-proofing facility for a municipal infrastructure improvement project. The family business had been operating for over 30 years and the owners had no intentions of closing.
After failing to find a replacement property it could relocate to, Madison purchased replacement land and constructed a new facility at a cost that far exceeded the market value of the expropriated property. The City argued the replacement land and newly constructed facility amounted to a substantial betterment and that Madison was required to deduct the value of the new property in its overall disturbance damages claim.
Both the Land Value Appraisal Commission and the Manitoba Court of Appeal rejected the City’s arguments and accepted Madison’s position that its disturbance costs were compensable. The Court noted that were no other similar facilities for Madison to purchase, so the owners had to buy vacant land and construct premises to continue in business. “The fact that the replacement property is larger and newer does not dictate a denial of compensation,” the Court wrote in its decision.
The Court of Appeal reaffirmed the principle that expropriation legislation is a remedial statute that “should be read in a broad and purposive manner in order to comply with the aim of the [The Expropriation Act] to fully compensate a land owner whose property has been taken.” The Land Value Appraisal Commission’s disturbance damages award of approximately $2.6 million was upheld.
Leave to appeal the Manitoba Court of Appeal’s decision was denied by the Supreme Court of Canada on May 11, 2022.
Madison Holdings was represented by MLT Aikins litigators James Mercury and Curtis Parker.