As our city grows, there may be situations where a protected tree needs to be removed or injured, or work needs to take place in a ravine or natural feature. These activities are only permitted when the City has reviewed your application and determined that the proposal meets bylaw requirements. The bylaw also requires new trees to be planted as compensation. Submitting an application does not guarantee that you will be issued a permit. Find out if you should apply for a permit by reviewing the following sections.
Any activity that can cause a tree of 30 centimetres or more in diameter, to be injured or removed, on private property, is prohibited unless authorized with a permit under the Tree Protection By-law.
How to measure the diameter of a tree:
Any activity that can cause a street tree of any size to be harmed or removed is prohibited unless authorized with a permit under the Tree Protection By-law.
City-owned streets can include common or public highways, roads, and spaces in front of residential homes. In some cases, street trees may be located in the boulevard between the sidewalk and the road, or in a portion of a front yard next to the road or sidewalk.
A survey of your property will show the measurement from your home towards the property line and street curb. If you don’t have a survey of your property, you can also contact 311 to confirm who owns the tree.
All ravines, forests, public parks, golf courses and other natural features identified in the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection By-law are protected. The following activities are prohibited, unless authorized with a permit under the bylaw:
We recommend using a computer over a smart device when using the map.
While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this site. If you require alternate formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact the Ravine and Natural Features Protection Office or a Tree Protection and Plan Review district office.
Trees of all sizes, including their surrounding ground space and air space, located in a City-owned or managed park, are protected by the Parks By-law. The following activities are prohibited:
Any damage to the trunk, crown, roots and soil can fatally impact a tree. Harmful activities to trees and their protection zones include, but are not limited to:
Property owners are responsible for protecting and providing regular maintenance to trees on their property and must follow the Tree Protection By-law and Ravine and Natural Feature Protection By-law.
Builders and developers must consider trees, ravines and natural features when designing and constructing a project. They must understand and follow the City’s requirements before, during and after a project.
Residents and visitors can help protect Toronto’s trees by reporting violations of bylaws.
The City acts as a regulator and protector of trees by enforcing and administering the respective bylaws by reviewing permit applications, issuing permits when applicable, ensuring bylaw compliance and recommending best practices.
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) regulates development in or near watercourses, river and stream valleys, the Lake Ontario Shoreline and wetlands and potential areas of interference around wetlands.
Before you begin construction work, you must consider how it will impact a protected tree, ravine or natural area:
To determine if your construction will impact a protected tree and if you should apply for a permit, we recommend consulting an arborist to assess the site and measure the Tree Protection Zone (TPZ). A TPZ is the area around a tree that must be protected during construction work to preserve the health of a tree. If any construction work on site, including access or storage, will impact a TPZ, you need to apply for a permit to remove or injure a tree. If your construction will not impact a TPZ, you do not need to apply for a permit, however, you are required to protect trees near the proposed construction and complete a Tree Protection Plan in consultation with an arborist. Visit Tree Protection Policy and Specifications for Construction Near Trees.
|Trunk Diameter at Breast Height (centimetres)||Trees on Private Property (metres)||Trees on City Streets (metres)||Trees in Ravines and Natural Areas (metres)|
|Less than 10 cm||n/a||1.2 m||1.2 m*|
|10 cm – 29 cm||n/a||1.8 m||3.6 m*|
|30 cm – 40 cm||2.4 m||2.4 m||4.8 m*|
|41 cm – 50 cm||3.0 m||3.0 m||6.0 m*|
|51 cm – 60 cm||3.6 m||3.6 m||7.2 m*|
|61 cm – 70 cm||4.2 m||4.2 m||8.4 m*|
|71 cm – 80 cm||4.8 m||4.8 m||9.6 m*|
|81 cm – 90 cm||5.4 m||5.4 m||10.8 m*|
|91 cm – 100 cm||6.0 m||6.0 m||12 m*|
|More than 100 cm||6 cm for every 1 cm tree diameter||6 cm for every 1 cm tree diameter||12 cm for every 1 cm tree diameter|
* Or the dripline (the area beneath the outermost branch tips of a tree), whichever is greater.
An as-of-right development means the owner of a property is developing their land in accordance with the Ontario Building Code, local zoning bylaws and other applicable laws and is permitted without further approval by City Planning. If your as-of-right development impacts a protected tree, you are still required to apply for a permit to remove or injure it. You may be asked to revise your construction plan or design in order to protect a tree. If a permit is issued, permit conditions are required. Compensation planting is sometimes acceptable as cash-in-lieu.
The City does not consider the following to be as-of-right construction: pools, landscape features and accessory structures (e.g. sheds, gazebos, cabanas, etc.), standalone garages and basements that extend beyond the above-ground footprint of the building.
In order to support the preservation of existing trees, laneway and garden suites, should not result in the removal of a healthy bylaw-protected tree. Where a design necessitates the injury or removal of a tree, the City may refuse the tree permit, in accordance with Municipal Code Chapters 608, 658, and 813 and the Official Plan. Where there is a potential for damage to private trees due to the proposal of a laneway or garden suite, you are advised to contact City staff to discuss how the design of the suite can be accomplished to protect the healthy tree(s) in question.
If you have applied for a minor variance further to the zoning bylaw or consent to sever through the Committee of Adjustment, the City will review your plans and the minor variance or consent to sever application for its impact to protected trees, ravines and natural features and, if applicable, provide comments to the Committee before the committee meeting.
If your minor variance application is approved by the Committee of Adjustment and your plan directly impacts a protected tree, ravine or natural feature, you are still required to apply for a permit. You may be asked to revise your construction plan or design in order to protect a tree or possibly provide tree compensation planting.
There are some non-construction situations where injuring or removing a tree may be permissible under the bylaw. Note you are still required to submit an application. These situations include:
The City’s Tree By-law prevents the unnecessary removal of trees to protect and retain healthy trees.
Situations where a tree is considered a nuisance are generally not supported as reasons to remove or harm a tree under the Tree Protection By-law. For suggestions on how to address commonly asked concerns about trees, review the tips below, consult with a private arborist or contact 311.
If your application for a permit to remove or injure a tree is denied, you will be notified in writing. You can appeal this decision to Community Council by notifying the City in writing. In response, staff will prepare an appeal report to Community Council. The City Clerk will notify you of the Community Council meeting date. At the meeting, you will have the opportunity to present your information. Community Council’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Tree pruning according to good arboricultural practice: A permit is not required to prune a tree, as long as it is done in accordance with good arboricultural practices, to maintain the health of the tree. For any tree work, we encourage you to retain the services of a certified or registered consulting arborist, a registered professional forester or other tree care specialist with similar qualifications.
You must request and receive a permit exception confirmation from the City for the following:
To obtain a permit exception, you must send an arborist report and photographs of the tree to your local Tree Protection and Plan Review District Office by:
You must receive the permit exception confirmation from the City before proceeding with removal or injury of a tree, unless immediate tree work is required to eliminate a dangerous situation. We encourage property owners to plant a new tree on the property, to replace the one being removed.
If the City determines that a tree does not qualify for a permit exception, you may choose to apply for a permit.