Section 534 of the Municipal Government Act provides a remedy for persons entitled to receive compensation from a municipality that has constructed a public work.
Eligible owners may be entitled to make a claim for “injurious affection”. Injurious affection is the permanent reduction in the appraised value of land as a result of the existence, but not the construction, erection or use, of a public work or structure.
Other applications under the Municipal Government Act include:
- Section 15 – Direction to expropriate whole parcel of land when only a portion is expropriated.
- Section 23 – Closing a road by bylaw.
- Section 26 – Operating a temporary road or right of way.
- Section 664.2 – The taking of conservation reserve on subdivision.
Section 15 claims may be started by filing an Application by Notice of Motion with the Board.
Section 23, 26 and 664.2 claims may be started by filing an Application for Determination of Compensation (ADC) with the Board.
How to apply
The process to make a section 534 claim differs from an Application for Determination of Compensation. Claimants are encouraged to read section 534 in its entirety to ensure the proper steps are taken in their claim.
According to section 534 of the Municipal Government Act, the Municipality is required to notify owners of land abutting a public work or structure that they may be entitled to compensation from the Municipality within one year after the construction is completed.
If the owner and the Municipality are not able to agree on the amount of compensation for injurious affection, they may agree to have the amount determined by binding arbitration. If they do not agree to binding arbitration, the Board must determine the compensation for injurious affection.
Except in exceptional circumstances, the Board will not award solicitor-client costs for costs incurred in a section 534 application.
Step 1. File a claim with the Municipality
Once an owner of land has received a notice that construction has been completed, the owner has 60 days to file a claim with the Municipality.
The claim must include:
- the amount claimed
- the particulars of the claim
In order to establish a claim, an appraisal will likely be required.
Step 2: Discuss the claim with the Municipality
Once an owner has filed a claim with the Municipality, the claimant and the Municipality will discuss the particulars of the claim.
Step 3: Arbitration
If the parties are unable to agree to the amount of the claim, the claimant and the Municipality may agree to determine the claim through binding arbitration.
Step 4: Applying to the Land Compensation Board
- If the parties do not agree upon binding arbitration, a claimant may file its claim with the Board, and the Board will determine compensation.
- Section 534 claims before the Board should be commenced by filing an Application for Determination of Compensation (ADC).
- Even though a section 534 claim is different than an expropriation, the Board will follow the procedures in the Expropriation Act and the Expropriation Act Rules of Procedure and Practice to the greatest extent possible.
Alberta Land Stewardship Act
An owner may apply to the Crown for compensation if they have suffered a compensable taking as a result of a regional plan or an amendment to a regional plan.
The owner must apply within 12 months of the regional plan or amendments coming into force, Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA), section 19.1(2). If the dispute continues for more than 60 days, the owner or the Crown may apply to the Board to resolve whether the registered owner has suffered a compensable taking and/or the amount of any compensation payable in respect of the compensable taking (ALSA, section 19.1(3)).
An owner may also apply to the Board under section 38 of the ALSA for a determination of compensation if the owner and the Crown cannot agree to compensation payable under a conservation directive.
Irrigation Districts Act
Although a party cannot dispute the right of the district to remove a parcel from the district in accordance with the Irrigation Districts Act, a landowner may appeal the amount of compensation related to the removal.
An irrigator receiving a written notice under subsection 2 may enter into an agreement with the district for compensation respecting the parcel. Where the irrigator and the district are unable to reach an agreement, the owner may refer the matter to the Board within 60 days after the date that a written notice is received.
According to section 87(9) of the Irrigation Districts Act, the Board may order the district to pay compensation to the owner for the parcel in an amount based on the difference between the market value of the land and improvements once irrigation acres are deleted from the assessment roll and the parcel is removed from the district.
Under the Water Act (section 158), the Director must authorize payment of compensation to the licensee for any losses incurred as a result of the amendment, suspension or cancellation or the water management order. If the licensee or preliminary certificate holder does not agree with the amount of compensation authorized, the licensee or preliminary certificate holder may appeal the amount to the Board, Water Act, section 158(2).