Tree Removal Permits And Temporary Exemption

Tree Removal Permits And Temporary Exemption In Toronto

Most municipalities within the GTA including Toronto have temporarily changed the regulations regarding tree removal in their jurisdictions. However, this is not a blanket ‘permit exemption’ for all trees. It only covers ‘imminently hazardous’ storm damaged trees.

Let’s Take A Quick Look At Toronto’s Tree Bylaw To Clarify This Temporary Change

Toronto’s Private Tree By-law protects trees that are 30 cm or larger in diameter located on private property. The By-law requires that a permit be obtained prior to removing a protected tree. A permit is not required if a tree is:

  • Dead
  • Imminently hazardous (a tree that is in imminent danger of causing damage to property or injury to life)
  • Terminally diseased

Under normal circumstances, the City requires owners to submit photos of a tree for confirmation of an exemption by a Toronto arborist.

Here is the important bit taken directly from the City website:

”..Where a tree has been rendered imminently hazardous due to the ice storm, property owners are requested to take a picture of the tree to document its physical condition prior to having it removed. The visual record of the tree’s condition together with any other documented information about the tree from a professional tree removal company or arborist will be important should complaints be received for follow-up by Urban Forestry staff regarding suspected illegal tree removal…”
In order to protect yourself from possible fines, we recommend you obtain the opinion of a competent professional or certified arborist in Toronto to make a judgement call on the tree’s structural integrity if you want to remove it without a permit.

Our arborists at Ontree have only seen a handful of trees that require removal from ice storm damage. A few small, damaged limbs in the canopy or a large broken limb that didn’t make up a significant portion of the canopy isn’t considered an ‘imminent hazard’. In reality, only trees with significant split main trunks or the loss of significant canopy cover will be candidates for removal.
Of course, you can still apply for tree removal through the permit process, and if you feel strongly that a tree is imminently hazardous despite your arborists’ assessment, you can still send photos to the city for an exemption request.
Most other jurisdictions within the GTA have similar temporary exemption changes in place but please visit your City’s website for more details on your specific municipality.
Our arborists are Certified by the International Society of Arborists (ISA) and competent in assessing whether a tree is ‘imminently hazardous’ or not.

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