Tree Removal Permits and Protection

The City of Vaughan recognizes the significant role that the urban tree canopy plays in providing an improved quality of life.

Protecting Vaughan's trees

Preserving and protecting healthy trees will help the City of Vaughan achieve its commitment to maintain and enhance the urban forest and the environment. Considering tree protection in the initial stages of planning will result in the enhanced protection of trees and where trees are removed provide for a clear replacement strategy. The Tree Protection Protocol (PDF) will implement procedures to maintain and enhance the public’s tree canopy through the development approval process.

The Tree Protection By-law

The Tree Protection By-law 052-2018 (PDF) regulates the planting, maintenance and removal of trees on public and private property in the city of Vaughan. Under the by-law, an offence may include destruction of a tree or injuring a tree without a permit, failing to protect a tree that is identified for protection in the permit conditions, or failing to comply with an order.

How to get a permit for tree removal on private property

If you are interested in removing a tree from private property, you must first determine if the tree is 20 centimetres in diameter or greater, then follow the steps below:


  1. Confirm ownership of the tree. If the trunk of the tree (not including root flare) is straddling other properties, agreement of tree removal is required by all property owners.

  2. Hire an Arborist to prepare an arborist report. Click here to learn more

    The Arborist can apply for a permit on your behalf if you provide them with written consent to do so. 

  3. Submit an application using the on-line service portal for the following:


    A) Dead, Hazardous Trees or Emerald Ash Borer-Infected Ash Trees 

    Description: This on-line application is for anyone who requires a permit to remove a privately owned tree that is dead, hazardous or an Emerald Ash Borer-Infected Ash Tree anywhere in Vaughan.


     B) Private Tree Removal Application - Residential 

    Description: This on-line application is for anyone who requires a permit to remove a total of five trees or less privately owned anywhere in Vaughan.


    C) Private Tree Removal Application - Construction or Infill 

    Description: This on-line application is for anyone who requires a permit to remove more than five trees that are privately owned anywhere in Vaughan.


    The forestry inspector will conduct a site visit and issue a permit provided the arborist report and replanting plan (where applicable) is accepted. Please note the standard initial response time for Tree Permit Requests is 30 business days.


    If a permit is granted, it must be posted in a prominent location that is visible to the public.


Arborist report

The arborist report is prepared by an expert in the care and maintenance of trees. This includes a person with a diploma or degree involving arboriculture from an accredited college or university, a Registered Professional Forester or an accredited Certified Arborist under the International Society of Arboriculture.

The arborist report provides specific information about the tree(s) for which a permit is being requested. The report is required to obtain a tree permit because it helps determine the legitimacy of tree permit requests. It is a third-party review of the tree’s condition. The key element of the report describes the condition of the tree which could include information on the health, condition, structural integrity and vigour of the tree.


An arborist report must include:

  • Percentage of total property canopy cover being removed
  • Species of tree(s) being removed
  • Photos of the subject tree(s) - Min. of 2 pictures per tree 1st - close up, 2nd - wide angle
  • Diameter size of the tree(s), in centimeters, measured at the base of the tree and at breast height.
  • Health/Condition of trees being removed
  • Reason for removal
  • Replacement recommendations (planting plan) to remove non-hazard tree(s)
  • Arborist certification number