Tree Removal By-laws

A permit is required to remove, cut down or in any other way injure a tree with a diameter of 30 cm (12 inches or the approximate thickness of a telephone pole) or more on private property. The tree diameter measurement must be taken at 1.4 m (4.5 feet or approximately at chest height) above ground level. It applies to trees on all land use types including, single family residential properties.

Trees of all diameters on private property within Ravine Protection Areas of the City of Toronto, are protected under the provisions of City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 658, Ravines.

Private tree permit exemptions
A tree that is dead, terminally diseased or imminently hazardous does not require a permit, however the applicant must send a detailed Arborist report and receive approval from Urban Forestry before proceeding with any tree work.

For details see: Private trees – Urban Forestry certification a tree is dead – terminally diseased or hazardous

The application including fee information to Injure or Destroy Private Trees may be found on the City of Toronto website.

Permit application fees are non-refundable and payable at the time of initial application.
Completing and submitting a permit application for tree injury or destruction does not guarantee that a permit will be granted.

Note: Permit application fee for owners living below the low-income cut off (LICO) as determined by Statistics Canada may be waived. This exception applies to applicants of all ages, including senior citizens. To qualify for this, applicants must submit (confidentially) proof of their combined household income from the previous year, such as the Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency.

For a LICO chart, please visit the Statistics Canada website.
The following items must be submitted with all permit applications:

  1. a completed Permit Application form
  2. a completed Owner’s Authorization form – if the owner has not signed the Permit Application
  3. a detailed Arborist Report
  4. a Landscape/Replanting Plan – this must be filed with all permit application forms
  5. Tree Protection Plan (as applicable)
  6. Site Plans – for applications which involve construction, existing trees must be accurately plotted on the Site Plan
  7. Recent legal plan of Survey with Ravine Protection Line if property is on a ravine
  8. Permit Application Fee

Applications and any additional forms required – must either be mailed, or hand delivered to the Tree Protection & Plan Review Office. Faxed or scanned documents are NOT accepted at this time.

Note: Payment must be in the form of a certified cheque, bank draft and debit or credit card (MasterCard or VISA).

Permits are generally issued within approximately 6 weeks of the application.

If a permit is going to be issued, you will receive a document to sign (called an “Undertaking and Release”), which confirms your intent to plant the replacement tree(s) and/or to implement the tree protection plan. This document also needs to be signed by a witness (who can be anyone other than the owner of the property). Once Urban Forestry staff receives the signed, dated and witnessed Undertaking and Release, the permit will be issued. You may not proceed with the injury or removal of the tree(s) until you have received the permit. The original signed Undertaking and Release form must either be mailed or hand delivered to the Tree Protection & Plan Review Application Office. Faxed or scanned documents are not accepted at this time.

If Urban Forestry determines that the tree is “healthy” in accordance with the By-law, there is a requirement to post a sign for a two week period to notify the neighbourhood and invite comments. These comments are collected with the purpose of providing them to the Ward Councillor as part of the By-law process and/or to Community Council and City Council in the event of an appeal. If the permit is denied, the applicant has the option of appealing the decision through Community Council to City Council. The applicant, along with interested parties are allowed to address Community Council when the appeal is being considered.

Appeal requests are lodged with the same person/office at which the permit application was made. Urban Forestry makes the arrangements for appeal, including preparing a report for Community Council and informing the applicant of the meeting schedule. The City Clerk will confirm the meeting date and will accept requests for the applicant (or others) to address Community Council. A copy of the Urban Forestry report is available one week in advance of the meeting on the City of Toronto website.

Fines for illegal tree removal
A person convicted of an offence under City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 813, Article III is subject to a minimum fine of $500.00 and a maximum fine of $100,000.00 per tree involved in an offense; a special supple mentary fine of $100,000.00 is also possible.

Source: toronto.ca/311