We encourage you to read When to Apply For a Permit before starting the permit application process.

Use these instructions to prepare and complete each item of your application. Incomplete applications will not be processed. If you are unsure about whether you should apply for a permit or if you require assistance, please call 311, email 311@toronto.ca, or contact your local Tree Protection and Plan Review District Office.

Prepare and complete the following documents to apply for a permit to remove a City-owned tree or private tree of 30 centimetres diameter or more.

Download the Application to Injure or Remove Trees.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to determine the property boundaries and tree ownership.

If the City determines a tree is a Boundary Tree and you disagree, you will be required to submit an up-to-date property survey.

The following items must be prepared and submitted to complete your Application to Remove a Tree.

  • Application fee: Payments can be made by certified cheque or money order. Current fees are listed on the application form.
  • Arborist report: A report created by an arborist, an expert in the care and maintenance of trees. The report will include:
    • Technical information about the tree’s location, species, size, condition, structural integrity, disease, infestations and health.
    • Details of your proposed work and tree protection measures.
  • Landscape and replanting plan: A detailed plan about the proposed replacement tree, including:
    • Location of the tree that will be planted on the property.
    • Proposed species (learn more about native plants in Toronto).
    • Size (minimum 50-millimetre caliper for deciduous trees and minimum 1.75 to 2.5-metre height for coniferous trees).
    • Time of replanting (typically the next spring or fall planting season in the year).
  • Photos: Clear, colour photos of the entire tree(s) and detailed photos of any areas of concern.
  • Site plan (construction only): Scale drawings of the proposed construction. Illegible copies are not accepted. Drawings must show:
  • Elevations (construction only): Scale drawings of the front, side and rear views of the proposed construction and the depth and nature of excavation for footings, supporting piers or basements. Illegible copies are not accepted.
  • Site plan with ravine line delineation (if the property is in a ravine-protected area): Find out if your property is regulated under the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection (RNFP) By-law. If yes, you must show the location of the RNFP area on a survey and any other plans that you submit with your application.

Prepare and complete the following documents to apply for a permit to injure a City-owned street tree or private tree of 30 centimetres diameter or more.

Download the Application to Injure or Remove Trees.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to determine the property boundaries and tree ownership.

If the City determines a tree is a Boundary Tree and you disagree, you will be required to submit an up-to-date property survey.

The following items must be prepared and submitted to complete your Application to Injure a Tree.

  • Application fee: Payments can be made by certified cheque or money order. Current fees are listed on the application form.
  • Arborist report: A report created by an arborist, an expert in the care and maintenance of trees. The report will include:
    • A tree’s location, species, size, condition, structural integrity, disease, infestations and health.
    • Details of your proposed work and tree protection measures.
  • Tree Protection Plan: A report showing details of tree protection and is prepared by or in consultation with an arborist.
  • Photos: Clear, colour photos of the entire tree(s) and detailed photos of any areas of concern.
  • Site plan: Scale drawings of the proposed construction drawn to scale. Illegible copies are not accepted. They must show:
  • Elevations: Drawings drawn to scale of the front, side and rear views of the proposed construction and the depth and nature of excavation for footings, supporting piers or basements. Illegible copies are not accepted.
  • First floor plan (may be required): Scale drawings of the first floor as if you’re looking down from above. Illegible copies are not accepted.
  • Basement plan (may be required): Scale drawings of the basement as if you’re looking down from above. Illegible copies are not accepted.
  • Construction details (may be required): Scale drawings of existing and proposed structures and/or proposed grade changes within or nearby the tree protection zone of any protected tree. They must include details about buildings foundation such as footings, slab-on grade, piers, etc. Illegible copies are not accepted.
  • Site plan with ravine line delineation (if the property is in a ravine protected area): Find out if your property is regulated under the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection (RNFP) By-law. If yes, you must show the location of the RNFP area on a survey and on any other plans that you submit with your application. Illegible copies are not accepted.

Prepare and complete the following documents to apply for a permit if your property is located either entirely or partially within a Ravine and Natural Feature Protection (RNFP) area and your activity could result in the injury or removal of a tree, placing or dumping fill or refuse, or altering the existing grade of land.

If your proposed development requires a Site Plan approval or a Building Permit, the Ravine and Natural Feature Permit application will be reviewed with it. If approved, a permit will be issued after the Site Plan approval or it will be issued, conditional upon a Building Permit being issued.

Download:

The following items must be prepared and submitted to complete your application.

  • Zoning notice: A recent copy for the proposed construction, if applicable.
  • Plan of survey: A site drawing drawn to scale, which shows the limits of the RNFP area.
  • Site plan: Scale drawings of the proposed development. Illegible copies are not accepted. They must show:
    • the location of existing and proposed buildings and structures, including decks and underground foundation extensions
    • the property line based on survey information
    • existing and proposed grades at the perimeter and within the site itself, including the grades for all exterior
    • landscaped areas
    • any existing or proposed easements
    • all building entrances
    • all driveways and paved areas for vehicles
  • Arborist report: A report created by an arborist, an expert in the care and maintenance of trees. The report will include the following information for any trees on the site and on adjacent properties within 12 metres of any construction activity:
    • a tree’s location, species, size, condition, structural integrity, disease, infestations and health
    • a tree protection plan for trees that will be maintained
    • tree pruning requirements
    • a maintenance plan for newly planted trees and shrubs for a two year warranty period
  • Landscape and forest restoration plans:
    • all existing and proposed hard-surface landscape elements, including sidewalks, driveways, fences, retaining walls, steps, decks, patios and swimming pools
    • cross-section details for all hard surface elements proposed to be located within the protected ravine area of the lot or less than 10 metres from the top-of-bank of the ravine
    • all proposed soft landscaping features, including planting details and plant lists.
    • all existing and proposed lighting
    • all existing trees, note any trees, proposed for removal, indicating species and diameter size at breast height
    • all proposed replacement trees, if any, indicating species and diameter size at breast height
  • Grading plans: Scale drawings of the proposed grading. Illegible copies are not accepted.
  • Geotechnical report: A report about soil conditions that is prepared by a geotechnical engineer, geological engineer, hydrologist or other related professional. It must include information on:
    • the site’s soil conditions and slope stability
    • proposed drainage
    • construction sediment/drainage control plan
    • measures to be taken to protect the stability of the ravine slope
  • Stewardship plans (where applicable): download Guidelines for Preparing a Stewardship Plan and Stewardship Plan Detailed Description or contact the RNFP office.

Plan requirements

Drawings must:

  • be drawn to scale, in metric measurements
  • include a title and number, preparation date, dates of any revisions, and a north arrow
  • include municipal address, names of adjacent streets, project name, applicant’s name and name of firm preparing plans
  • the RNFP line:
    • download the RNFP line for free online and import it into your plans
    • the City can mark the RNFP line on a survey or other site plans for a fee of $81.57+ HST per property (2022 fee). The plans must be drawn to scale in metric measurements and provided in digital format (DGN or DWG) or in print (no larger than 11″ x17″). Contact the RNFP office at 416-392-2513 or rnfp@toronto.ca.
  • Fold plans to 215 mm x 350 mm (8.5” x 14”) or 215 mm x 278 mm (8.5” x 11”) with the title block exposed

The City of Toronto maintains City trees in accordance with City standards at no cost to residents. The service delivery may take up to eight months as clearing hazards after a storm is the highest priority. It is illegal to perform any work on City trees without proper authorization by the City.

If an owner of a private property that is located adjacent to the City tree wishes to have the required work completed sooner than scheduled, they may apply for permission to have an arborist complete the work at their cost.

Permission is required for any tree maintenance work, including minor pruning, tree planting and integrated pest management. Fax the complete application to Urban Forestry Data Management Centre, at 416-392-1915.

Permission may be applied for using the application form and providing all required information, including (but not limited to) the following:

If you are in the process of obtaining a Permit to Injure or Remove a tree under Street Tree Bylaw, Municipal Code, Chapter 813, II, the Permission would not be required, however, you would still be required to complete the Agreement for Arborists Retained by Private Property Owners to Undertake Work on City Trees and the Certificate of Insurance. You will submit these documents to the Planner in Tree Protection and Plan Review section of Urban Forestry that is reviewing your permit application

Check you have gathered and completed all the required documents for your application. Completed application form with all supplementary documents can be submitted to your local Urban Forestry Tree Protection and Plan Review (TPPR) Office by:

  • email (include your address in the subject field, you will need to mail in a certified cheque/money order or schedule a telephone payment)
  • in-person
  • fax (include your address in the subject field, you will need to mail in a certified cheque/money order or schedule a telephone payment)

Submission of an application does not guarantee that a permit will be issued.

Application processing

City staff will review the application to ensure that it is complete. Staff will notify the applicant in writing of any missing items. Once the application package is complete, staff may conduct a site visit to verify the application details and to determine if a permit may be issued and/or if a public notification process is required.

City staff will review your permit application and will contact the applicant by email.

Denied applications

If the City denies your permit application, you will be notified in writing. You can appeal this decision to through Community Council by notifying the City in writing. Staff will prepare the appeal report to Community Council. The City Clerk will notify you of the meeting date. At the meeting, you will have the opportunity to present your information. Community Council’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

What to do if a project changes

If your project changes, you may be required to submit a new permit application. If your project involves new tree injury or removal that was not previously applied for, you are required to submit an additional permit application for the new trees to be injured or removed. If your project changes in a way that involves new or different tree injury or removal to trees previously applied for, please contact the City staff who are reviewing your existing permit application. If your project no longer impacts trees, you may wish to withdraw an application by contacting your local TPPR office.

Once City staff have completed their review of the permit application, they will contact you with next steps. The next steps include requirements that you must satisfy prior to permit issuance. These requirements must be satisfied, and a permit issued, prior to the start of work and tree injury and removal.

Undertaking and release

Before issuing a permit to remove (destroy) or harm (injure) privately owned trees, the City requires the applicant to sign a document called Undertaking and Release. By signing this document, the applicant will confirm that they intend to plant replacement tree(s) and/or implement the approved tree protection plan. Another person must witness the applicant’s signature.

The City will issue the permit after review and approval of all required information and receipt of a signed, dated and witnessed Undertaking and Release.

Notifying boundary or neighbouring tree owners

After an application involving a boundary or neighbour tree(s) is received, the City will issue a written notification to the owners of a boundary or neighbour tree within 15 business days. If the application to remove or harm a tree is approved, the City will issue a second written notification to the owners of a boundary or a neighbour tree at least 15 days before a permit is issued.

Installing tree protection hoarding

When an application involves construction, City staff require tree protection hoarding to be installed in accordance with an approved tree protection plan prior to issuing a permit. City staff will request photos of and may inspect tree protection hoarding prior to issuing a permit

Posting the permit

To proceed with the permitted activity, you must post the permit in a conspicuous (noticeable) location visible from the street for one day prior to work beginning. The permit must remain posted until the approved tree injury or removal has been completed in accordance with permit conditions.

Permit conditions

When an application to remove or injure a tree is approved by the City, a permit is issued with an expiry date and is subject to conditions being met by the applicant, such as:

Private trees

  • Tree Protection Plan: The implementation of the approved tree protection plan to the satisfaction of the City.
  • Mandatory replacement planting
    Tree removal permits are issued subject to the condition that the applicant plant new trees. All trees planted as a condition of permit issuance are protected by the bylaw from the time they are planted, regardless of size. This helps to ensure the future of the urban canopy in accordance with the City Council approved Toronto’s Strategic Forest Management Plan.
  • Landscape/replanting plan: The implementation of the approved landscape/replanting plan to the satisfaction of the City.
  • Cash-in-lieu: Where there is inadequate space for replanting, the City will accept “cash-in-lieu” of replanting, in the amount of $583 per tree. Accepted methods of payment include certified cheque or money order. Please make all amounts payable to the “Treasurer of the City of Toronto.”

City Trees

  • Cash-in-lieu: Payment of the appraised tree value and the removal and replacement costs (if the tree is being removed).
  • Tree protection guarantee deposit: or letter of credit to ensure that the tree will remain protected as per approved.
  • Tree planting guarantee: Submission of a security deposit to ensure the planting of a replacement tree(s).

The City of Toronto requires guarantee deposits to ensure compliance with conditions of a permit for tree injury, tree removal, or the conditions of a site plan approval.

The City collects the following deposits:

  • Tree Protection Guarantees where work may impact City owned street trees
  • Tree Planting Guarantee for the implementation of approved Landscape/Replanting Plans for trees planted within City streets and for trees/vegetation planted within the Ravine Protected Area

These deposits help to ensure that City-owned street trees are protected during construction, and that any trees planted as a condition of a permit survives for two years after planting.

Guarantee deposit amounts

For each tree to be planted on a City street or within a Ravine Protected Area (excluding trees in a stewardship/naturalization plan) the current value is $583.00 per tree. This value is equal to 120 per cent of the cost of planting and maintaining a tree for a period of two years.

For the implementation of a stewardship/naturalization plan within the Ravine and Natural Feature Protected Area, the guarantee deposit is calculated as 120 per cent of the estimated cost to plan, implement and maintain a stewardship/naturalization plan. In the absence of a cost estimate, the City will apply a cost of $25/m2 of the area proposed for stewardship/naturalization.

For the Tree Protection Guarantee where work may impact City street trees, the tree value is calculated based on the tree diameter, species, condition and location, using an appraisal method by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers (CTLA) in association with International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The value of the deposit includes removal costs and the cost of a replacement tree.

Submitting a guarantee deposit

The applicant can submit the required deposit(s) at Urban Forestry Tree Protection and Plan Review (TPPR) Office service counters including the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection service counter. Acceptable methods of payment for guarantee deposits are: debit, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, money order, certified cheque, bank draft or letter of credit payable to Treasurer, City of Toronto. Collected funds will be held in a non-interest bearing account.

Guarantee deposit refunds

City of Toronto will release deposits once all construction activities are complete and all permit conditions have been met. Failure to comply with the conditions of the permit may be considered a contravention of the bylaws and contravention inspection fees and charges may apply, as described on How to Report a Contravention.

To initiate an inspection by the City, the requestor shall submit:

  • a completed Guarantee Deposit Refund Request form to the applicable City of Toronto TPPR district office. The applicant may submit this request in person or via email. The email title shall include the property address and the phrase: Guarantee Deposit Refund Request
  • and colour photos of all protected and/or newly planted trees to which the refund request pertains.

Once the request is received, City staff will inspect the site to determine if the guarantee deposit can be released and communicate the results to the requestor.

The refund cheque will be made out and mailed to the original payee. Cheques are not available for pick up in person. It takes approximately eight (8) weeks to process the request.

Releasing guarantee deposits

Guarantee Deposits for tree planting on City streets will be released when the City of Toronto confirms that replacement trees are healthy and in a state of vigorous growth two (2) years after planting.

The applicant must send photos of the planting and if necessary arrange for an inspection by the City immediately after planting is completed to start the two (2) year warranty period.

Two years following the initial inspection date, the applicant must contact TPPR and submit the Guarantee Deposits Refund Request with current photos of the planting. The City of Toronto may arrange for a follow up site inspection to confirm that the trees are planted to the satisfaction of the City.

Guarantee Deposits for trees planted within the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection Area will be released when the City confirms that trees were planted. The applicant may initiate the refund process immediately after the planting is completed.

Tree Planting Security Deposit for stewardship/naturalization within the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection Area is based on the implementation of stewardship/naturalization plans, which can take many years. The City will provide partial refunds for each stewardship/naturalization step as outlined in the cost estimate on file as the work progresses.

The applicant may initiate the guarantee deposit refund process immediately after completion of a stewardship/naturalization stage. The process of inspection and partial release ends when the entire stewardship plan is completed to the satisfaction of the City.

Tree Protection Guarantee where work may impact City street trees will be returned when:

  • all construction on site is completed in accordance with plans approved by the City or to the satisfaction of the City
  • compliance with all permit conditions
  • there were no documented Tree By-law contraventions involving the subject tree(s).

Upon review of the photos or following an inspection, City of Toronto staff will authorize the removal of tree protection measures and initiate a refund of the deposit.

Guarantee deposits to be retained

A Tree Protection Guarantee may be held for a minimum of two (2) years following construction activity if any of the following activities are observed and documented on site:

  • There are documented Tree By-law contraventions involving the subject tree(s).
  • City of Toronto permit conditions or approved plans were not adhered to.
  • The subject trees are in decline as a result of damage incurred during construction (e.g. signs of construction-related damage, bark damage, branch damage, significant soil compaction).

The City will review such damages and impacts on a case-by-case basis. Determination of continued deposit holds will be communicated to you in writing. Disputes related to a continued hold of a deposit can be addressed by the district Supervisor and escalated as required through the City’s Complaint process.

Forfeited deposits

The City will retain Tree Protection Guarantees if after the two (2) year deposit hold the tree is in decline and no longer viable. The forfeited funds will be transferred to a tree planting fund. If the funds are to be forfeited the applicant will be advised by the City in writing.

The City will retain guarantee deposit for tree planting if the applicant does not successfully plant healthy and viable trees by the required date specified in the related permit. If a protected City tree is a subject of a contravention resulting in an Order to Comply with an associated Cover Letter, or Stop Work Order issued by the City, the tree protection guarantee on file will be retained for a minimum of two years following the date of the contravention to allow for the monitoring of the condition of the subject tree(s).

When permit conditions are not met

Failure to meet permit conditions results in a Tree By-law contravention.

When a project and all requirements are complete

You must notify the City after you have completed any of the following requirements:

  • planted a replacement tree
  • installed the required tree protection hoarding

After they receive your notification, City staff will visit the site to verify that the required work was completed to their satisfaction.

Also, you must notify the City at the end of construction to obtain approval to remove tree protection hoarding. This is done by contacting the local TPPR district office with photos. Submitting photos of hoarding installed should also be sent to the staff processing the file.

Mandatory replacement planting

Tree removal permits are issued subject to the condition that the applicants plant new trees. All trees planted as a condition of permit issuance are protected by the bylaw regardless of size. This helps to ensure the future of the urban canopy in accordance with the City Council approved Toronto’s Strategic Forest Management Plan.

Private replacement trees are protected, regardless of size.

Photos of replacement trees should be emailed to the local TPPR office with the site address in the subject line.