something through the passage of time. However, the Shorter Oxford English
Dictionary (4th ed., 2002) also defines “expire” to mean “Die; come or bring
to an end”.
[ 30] These authorities suggest that the concept of “expiry”
connotes the end of a legal right or obligation by reason of the
passage of time. Thus, when the statute speaks of a covenant for
which “no period or date was fixed for its expiry” the plain and
ordinary approach would suggest that one should examine the
covenant to see if it expresses a period or date for it to come to an
end. If no period or date is expressed, then the automatic result
dictated by s. 119( 9) will follow.
[ 31] The respondents argue that the use of the word “forever”
in the original deed by which the three-foot strip was conveyed
amounts to the specification of “forever” as the applicable period
of time. I do not accept the respondents’ submission. The use of
those words in the deed suggests that the rights granted were
intended to be perpetual. In turn, this would suggest that the
covenants were not intended to be for a specified period of time or
to a specified end date.
[ 32] I find that the covenants in dispute in this case do not have
either a period or date fixed for their expiry. On the basis of the
“plain and ordinary meaning” principle of statutory interpretation, therefore, the covenants are caught by the express language
of s. 119( 9) and are deemed to have expired forty years after their
registration, or on March 3, 2006.
[ 33] I turn now to “the history of the provision at issue, its
place in the overall scheme of the Act, the object of the Act itself,
and Parliament's intent both in enacting the Act as a whole, and
in enacting the particular provision at issue”. Section 119( 9) is
the current version of a provision that traces its history to a
related section that was enacted in 1952. Prior versions of the
statute contained no such provision. The Land Titles Amendment
Act, S.O. 1952, c. 49, s. 3 added the following subsection to what
was then The Land Titles Act, R.S.O. 1950, c. 197, s. 101:
101( 5) Where a condition or covenant has been entered on the register as
annexed to or running with the land for a fixed period and the period has
expired, the proper master of titles may, at any time after 10 years from the
expiration of the period, remove the entry from the register.
[ 34] Thus, this amendment introduced a means for removing
from the register an expired land obligation such as a condition or
covenant. This provision was carried forward in The Land Titles
Act, R.S.O. 1960, c. 204, as s. 122( 5). Its current version appears
in the Land Titles Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L. 5, as s. 119( 8), which is in
identical language to the 1952 enactment, except it now refers to
the land registrar instead of the master of titles.