Toronto Tree Removal By-Laws
Familiarize yourself with the Toronto Tree Removal By-laws and make sure you comply with them to avoid expensive penalties.
Tree Injury or Removal Permit
You need a permit to injure or remove a tree on your private property with a trunk diameter of at least 30 cm, measured at 1.4 meters above the ground. If the tree is an endangered species, you need a permit regardless of the size.
If you want to remove or injure a tree on a conversation area of city property, you need a permit regardless of the tree size. You can determine a tree’s diameter by dividing the value of its circumference by the number 3.1416.
The circumference is the distance around the tree trunk. Remember to measure it at 1.4 meters, or four and a half feet above the ground level.
Tree and Ravine Protection Permit
If your property is in a ravine-protected area, you may need a permit to remove or injure a tree. The Ravine and Natural Feature Protection By-law 2 safeguards Toronto’s private and public natural environments susceptible to degradation due to tree removals or altering the grade of land.
- In the environments protected by this by-law, you’ll need to apply for a permit to:
Destroy or injure any tree
- Alter the natural land topography by excavating soil or adding any materials on slopes
- Build structures or retaining walls
- Dump any debris, including leaves, branches, and garden waste
Protection of Trees in Parks
The Parks By-law 3 protects trees located on City parkland. Under this by-law, you can’t participate in a range of activities on or near the City parkland that may harm trees. Some of the prohibited activities include:
- Injuring or removing any tree located in a park. To do so, you must obtain written approval from the General Manager of Parks, Forestry, and Recreation.
- Installing any decorative lighting on trees in parks. You’ll need a written authorization from the General Manager of Park, Forestry, and Recreation.
- Encroaching the parkland. Common forms of encroachments include fences, pools, decks, gardens, sheds, and retaining walls. Draining pools and dumping debris into City-owned or managed parklands is also illegal. It’s essential to know your property line to avoid encroaching into protected areas.
- The tapping of maple trees.
“You need a permit to injure or remove a tree on your private property with a trunk diameter of at least 30 cm, measured at 1.4 meters above the ground. If the tree is an endangered species, you need a permit regardless of the size. “
Municipalities like Toronto enact by-laws to help conserve trees and the natural environment. If you perform any of the prohibited activities within protected areas, you may end up paying hefty fines. It’s important to understand these by-laws and always obtain the necessary permits if you want to injure, destroy, or remove any tree.
- Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 813, Trees, City of Toronto
- Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 658, Ravine And Natural Feature Protection, City of Toronto
- Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 608, Parks, City of Toronto