City of Ottawa's New Tree Protection By-law.

A healthy urban forest, one that is diverse and resilient, is the key to adapting to future climate conditions, keeping our air clean and providing an environment that is good for our physical and mental health.  Upon the recommendations of the Urban Forest Management Plan,  the City of Ottawa adapted a Tree Protection Bylaw that came into effect on January 1, 2021. Replacing the Urban Tree Conservation By-law and the Municipal Trees and Natural Areas Protection By-law, this new by-law plays an important role in the City's mandate to retain, replace and renew the urban forest. 

The Tree Protection By-law's primary purpose is to provide better protections for trees in the urban area. Updated procedures and processes are easier to implement and enforce and there is a sharper focus placed on earlier consideration of trees during the planning and land development processes.

It is an offence under the Tree Protection By-law to fail to adequately protect a tree that has not been approved for removal. Fines can be imposed.

As a private property owner, you are required to obtain a permit before protected privately owned distinctive trees and/or City-owned trees are removed. The new bylaw has decreased the diameter limit for distinctive trees from 50 cm to 30 cm for the inner urban area.  It sets out requirements for compensation to be provided when trees are removed, so that they can be replaced. 

Where the tree is an immediate threat to public health and safety, property owners do not need a permit to remove dead or hazardous trees on their private property. Private Ash trees that are infested with the emerald ash borer can also be removed without a permit and must be disposed of in Regulated Areas.  

Maps showing the limits of the by-law's coverage for are provided on geoOttawa under the Forestry heading.

For further information on the Tree Protection By-law, visit the City of Ottawa's website at

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