Terms & Concepts in the Community Charter: Municipal Ownership of Highways
Part 3, Division 5 of the Community Charter gives a
municipality ownership of most of the highways within its
boundaries. The real property associated with the highways is
vested fee simple. The province will continue to be responsible and
have jurisdiction for provincial highways travelling through
The right of ownership is accompanied by other important powers. For example, under the legislation:
In addition to providing these authorities, the
Community Charter imposes certain restrictions on a
municipality. Before council can close or dispose of a section
of a highway council must provide public notice of its intention and
provide an opportunity for representations to council, and must
notify all affected utility operators. The municipality may
also have to ensure that the province's right of resumption is
removed. Other restrictions are in place to protect the public's access
to water bodies, a property owner's sole access to his or her property
and a utility operator's need for certainty with respect to its transmission
and distribution facilities.
The Community Charter also requires council to obtain the approval of the
minister responsible for the Transportation Act for a bylaw that
proposes to close or reopen a municipal highway within 800 metres of
an arterial highway.
Please direct questions or comments to
Advisory Services Branch.