Toronto Tree Removal By-Laws

Toronto has several bylaws to safeguard trees and the general environment. Laws protecting trees in Toronto are in the Municipal Code, Chapter 813, also known as Tree Protection By-law. If you’re guilty of an offense under the Tree Protection By-law 1, you’re subject to a fine between $500 and $100,000 per tree affected in the violation. You may also pay a $100,000 special supplementary fine.

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. 

Final Thoughts

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.

If you have more question about Toronto tree removal, give us a call at (647) 370 – 9212.

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