Case Alert: Antrim Truck Centre Ltd v Ontario (Transportation), 2013 SCC 13
3/7/2013 2:25 PM
On October 15, 2012, we posted a summary of Antrim Truck Centre Limited v Ontario (Transportation), 2011 ONCA 419 noting that at that time, the case was under appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
On March 7, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Antrim Truck Centre Ltd v Ontario (Transportation), 2013 SCC 13, allowing the appeal and restoring the decision of the Ontario Municipal Board to award the claimant damages of $393,000 for injurious affection.
We will post a substantive analysis of the decision in an article in the near future. As noted in our October 15 posting, the case involved the rerouting of a highway near Ottawa, Ontario, around the claimant’s truck stop. Motorists travelling on the new highway did not have direct access to the appellant’s truck stop and so it was effectively put out of business at that location. The appellant claimed compensation for injurious affection where no land was taken because the highway construction had significantly impeded access to its land.
The appellant brought a claim for damages for injurious affection before the Ontario Municipal Board under the Ontario Expropriations Act and was awarded $58,000 for business loss and $335,000 for loss in market value of the land. This was upheld on appeal to the divisional court, but set aside by the Ontario Court of Appeal, finding that the Board’s application of the law of private nuisance to the facts was unreasonable because it had failed to consider two factors in its reasonableness analysis and because it had failed to recognize the elevated importance of the utility of the respondent’s conduct where the interference was the product of an essential public service.
Justice Cromwell, writing for the unanimous Supreme Court of Canada, noted that the main question on appeal was how to decide whether an interference with the private use and enjoyment of land is unreasonable when it results from construction which serves an important public purpose. The court found that the reasonableness of the interference must be determined by balancing the competing interests, as it is in all other cases of private nuisance. The court found that balance is appropriately struck by answering the question whether, in all of the circumstances, the individual claimant has shouldered a greater share of the burden of construction than it would be reasonable to expect individuals to bear without compensation. The court found that the Board properly understood that the purpose of the statutory compensation scheme for injurious affection was to ensure that individuals do not have to bear a disproportionate burden of damage flowing from interference with the use and enjoyment of land caused by the construction of a public work. It was reasonable for the Board to conclude that in all of the circumstances, the appellant should not be expected to endure permanent interference with the use of its land that caused a significant diminution of its market value in order to serve the greater public good.
In the result, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal, set aside the order of the Court of Appeal and restored the order of the Ontario Municipal Board.
If you have questions or would like to discuss this topic further, please contact Jeremy P. Smith at Patterson Law at 1-888-897-2001.