Ash trees on private property that are infested with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) are exempt from requiring a permit for removal. To obtain an exemption you must contact 3-1-1 Toronto. The 3-1-1 Customer Service Representative will collect information to confirm the signs and symptoms of EAB that you have observed, in order to provide an exemption. The information collected from property owners will be useful in helping Urban Forestry understand the progress and speed of the infestation across the City. Verbal exemptions will be provided, along with a reference number.
Ash trees on private property within protected ravine areas are also exempt, and will be administered as noted above.
In the interest of safety, Urban Forestry recommends that property owners hire a qualified arborist to remove trees. You may find professional tree service companies in the Yellow Pages under "Tree Services".
For information on disposal of ash trees including brush, wood and wood chips from ash tree removals, please see 311 website - Disposal of wood - brush - leaves - from an Ash tree or Asian Long-horned Beetle regulated area.
A permit is not required if a tree is confirmed by Urban Forestry staff to be:
- 100% dead
- Imminently hazardous: a destabilized or structurally compromised tree that is in imminent danger of causing damage to property or injury to life.
- Terminally diseased Please note: There are various diseases that affect trees, however not all diseases will lead to the death of a tree. The intent of the by-law is to exempt those trees that are terminally diseased in order to expedite removal to minimize risk to other trees and/or injury to persons or property. A permit is required for trees that are in poor condition.
The Private Tree By-law was adopted to preserve significant trees on private property in the City of Toronto, to assist in sustaining the urban forest in the City and to educate individuals with respect to tree protection measures and alternatives to tree injury and destruction.The permit process is designed to help increase our city's canopy cover, which is currently estimated to be between 26.6 - 28%, to 40%.. Permits to destroy trees are issued conditional upon planting replacement trees. Permit exemptions do not require a replanting plan, fee or application form. Although the replanting of trees is not a condition of the exemption, we encourage property owners to plant a new tree on the property to replace the one being removed.
The quickest and easiest way to receive exemption confirmation is to submit an arborist report and digital photographs of the subject tree via email to the appropriate Tree Protection and Plan Review District office:
Please put your address (e.g. 123 Main St) as the subject heading of your email to expedite processing. Alternatively, you may mail or drop off in person your arborist report and photos to the appropriate district office. If you do not have access to email or a digital camera, you may fax a detailed arborist report to the appropriate District Offices:
- Etobicoke York District Fax: (416) 394-5406
- Scarborough District Fax: (416) 396-4248
- North York District Fax: (416) 395-7886
- Toronto and East York District Fax: (416) 392-7277
You must receive confirmation from Urban Forestry before proceeding with the removal of the tree, unless immediate tree work is required to eliminate a dangerous situation. If Urban Forestry determines that a tree does not qualify for exemption, you will need to submit a complete permit application.