Forest Protection

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Tree canopy

A healthy urban forest improves the quality of life for City of Burlington residents. By providing a framework for protection and enhancement of all trees on public and private property, the City of Burlington’s urban forest will continue to grow with the goal to reach 35 per cent tree canopy cover by 2041. A multi-faceted approach is required to meet this goal, which is addressed through the four guiding principles:

Proposed Guiding Principles for Tree Protection and Enhancement

• Tree Planting and Replacement

• Protection and Preservation

• Asset Maintenance

• Community Outreach, Education, and Collaboration

Public Information Session:

Join City staff on Oct. 28 for a virtual public information session to learn more about the proposed Tree Protection and Enhancement Guiding Principles and how they will influence future improvements to the City’s Public and Private Tree Bylaws.


A healthy urban forest improves the quality of life for City of Burlington residents. By providing a framework for protection and enhancement of all trees on public and private property, the City of Burlington’s urban forest will continue to grow with the goal to reach 35 per cent tree canopy cover by 2041. A multi-faceted approach is required to meet this goal, which is addressed through the four guiding principles:

Proposed Guiding Principles for Tree Protection and Enhancement

• Tree Planting and Replacement

• Protection and Preservation

• Asset Maintenance

• Community Outreach, Education, and Collaboration

Public Information Session:

Join City staff on Oct. 28 for a virtual public information session to learn more about the proposed Tree Protection and Enhancement Guiding Principles and how they will influence future improvements to the City’s Public and Private Tree Bylaws.


  • November 22 at 1:00 p.m. Council Workshop

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    This meeting is a workshop and no delegations will be registered. Only staff directions and motions to receive and file will be permitted. Visit the City Meeting calendar to view the workshop.

  • The Recording of the Forest Protection Public Information session is Now Available

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    For those that may have missed the Virtual Public Information session on October 28, the recording is now available. For closed captioning, use the CC icon.

  • Public Engagement Opportunities

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    We are looking for public input on proposed Tree Protection and Enhancement Guiding Principles as well as proposed amendments to the Private Tree Bylaw. We are requesting feedback from residents, businesses, developers and forestry professionals on the proposed policy statements and bylaw amendments.

    There are two opportunities to provide feedback: online survey and online public information session.

    The online survey is open now until Nov. 12, 2021 in the Survey section of this page

    Online Public information session:

    Date: Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021
    Time: 7 to 8:30 p.m.
    Location: Online.


  • Private Tree Bylaw Update #2

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    Forestry staff provided a supplementary report to support the May 6th committee meeting. At that time, staff received direction from council to consider 15 amendments to the existing Private Tree By-law, related to Policy, processes, and program administration

  • Private Tree Bylaw Update #1

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    Forestry staff provided an update to Council as to the status of the current City of Burlington Private Tree By-law 02-2020 within the Urban Boundary and highlighted proposed improvements for consideration.

  • Private Tree Bylaw Public Information Sessions

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    The City of Burlington is hosting a series of public information sessions to help residents and businesses learn about the newly adopted Private Tree Bylaw. The information sessions will be held in various parts of the City at both afternoon and evening times to better accommodate people’s schedules.

    Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020
    Appleby Ice Centre, Community Room 1
    1 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

    Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020
    Central Arena, Auditorium
    1 to 3 p.m.

    Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020
    Burlington Seniors’ Centre, Freeman and Indian Point Rooms
    7 to 9 p.m.

    Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020
    Aldershot Arena, Community Room
    7 to 9 p.m.

    Registration is not necessary. Presentation and Q&A will begin 15-minutes after start-times.

    The sessions will cover when a permit is required, when it is not, replacement trees and costs. Participants will also be able to ask questions to Forestry staff.

    About the Private Tree Bylaw

    As of Jan. 27, 2020, anyone within the City’s urban boundary will need to apply online for a permit and on-site consultation to remove a tree greater than 20 cm in diameter (8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground, or if you would like to remove more than five trees between 10 and 20 cm (4-8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground in a calendar year. Heritage trees and endangered species are also protected.






  • New Rules as of January 27, 2020 - Removal of Trees

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    The City of Burlington is taking exciting and important steps to battle climate change through preserving and growing the City’s tree canopy. As of Jan. 27, 2020, anyone within the City’s urban boundary will need to apply for a permit and on-site consultation to remove a tree greater than 20 cm in diameter (8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground, or if you would like to remove more than five trees between 10 and 20 cm (4-8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground in a calendar year. Heritage trees and endangered species are also protected.

    Permits are also needed for any activity that may injure or damage a tree.

    The permit application can be found online at burlington.ca/privatetree.

    A private tree task-force is being assembled with a goal of creating an incentive program for homeowners to plant trees on their private property. Details of the task-force and the incentive program are still being finalized and will be shared once ready.

    To read the full bylaw, including information on permits, protected trees, exemptions and fines, visit Burlington.ca/PrivateTree.

    When do I need a permit?

    Property owners will need to apply for a Tree Removal Permit when removing:

    • A tree greater than 20 cm diameter measured at 1.4 m from the ground
    • More than five trees between 10 and 20 cm measured at 1.4 m from the ground
    • Any size of tree that is a designated Heritage Tree*
    • Any size of endangered, at risk, or threatened tree species*
    • If the tree is dead**
    • If the tree is diseased with no chance of recovery**
    • If the tree is within 2 m of an occupied dwelling**

    * Additional permits and regulations apply

    **Permit is still required; fees and compensation are waived.

    When do I not need a permit?

    • Removing trees of less than 20 cm in diameter measured at 1.4 m above the ground (no more than four per year)
    • Tree maintenance (pruning)
    • For emergency work, such as utility repairs
    • Trees at high-risk of injuring a person or damaging property
    • If the tree is located in a nursery or orchard
    • If the tree is an invasive species*

    Replacement Trees

    Trees that are injured or removed under the Tree Removal Permit will need to be replaced. The tree’s diameter, measured at 1.4 m above ground, as well as the overall condition rating will impact the total number of cm required to be replaced. Generally, one replacement tree is required for every 10 cm diameter removed. The on-site consultation will determine measurements and replacements.

    If there is no room for the replacement trees to be planted on the property, there will be a charge of $400 per replacement tree. This money will be used toward the Private Tree Incentive Program where private homeowners will be encouraged to plant trees on their property.

    Fees and Fines

    • Tree Permit, Development Related Application: $680/property
    • Tree Permit, Non-Development Related Application: $390/property
    • Cash-in-Lieu of Replacement Compensation (Cash-in-Lieu): $400/tree
    • Private Tree Bylaw fine: $680/tree

    Public Information Sessions

    Public information sessions are being planned to help educate residents and homeowners about the bylaw. When details are confirmed, information will be posted on burlington.ca/privatetree, on the City’s social media as well as other methods.

    For more information, including the online application form, go to burlington.ca/privatetree.







  • City-wide Private Tree By-law Implementation Update Report - Jan. 13

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    Report RPF-18-19 was submitted to the Committee of the Whole meeting on December 2nd, and later at council on December 16th, included recommendations for the approval of a City-wide private tree bylaw.

    Through discussion at both Committee and Council meetings, two staff directions were received: 1) Defer discussion of the rural/agricultural classification to the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee meeting of January 13, 2020.

    2) Defer discussion regarding cash in-lieu to the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee meeting of January 13, 2020. These staff directions are directly linked to the proposed bylaw and proposed amendments to the rates and fees bylaw. The information included within this report provides additional information on these items and includes recommendations from staff, and options to consider by Committee.

    Read the report.


  • Dec 2, 2019 - City-wide Private Tree Bylaw Implementation Report

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    This item is going to Committee on Dec 2, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

    Read the report.

    If you'd like to speak to Council about this item, you must register to delegate. You must register by 12:00 noon on Friday Nov 29.

  • Options presented to Committee

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    Thanks to everyone that provided their feedback.

    Staff presented a report to Committee that included 4 options:

    OPTIONS CONSIDERED

    OPTION 1:
    Status quo
    A status quo approach was considered as part of this report.This would allow the current Pilot Private Tree Bylaw in Roseland to run the original 2-years.
    Pros:
    Allows for more time to evaluate the pilot.
    Cons:
    This does not consider the implications of a declared climate emergency, and delays protection of trees citywide.

    OPTION 2:
    Expand the Bylaw to Ward 4 Only. The expansion of the bylaw to ward 4 was considered as part of this
    report. The staff requirement would be reduced to1full time staff, with associated cost reductions.
    Pros:
    Provides for a slightly larger pilot area.
    Cons:
    This does not consider the implications of a declared climate emergency,and delays protection of trees citywide.

    OPTION 3:
    Repeal the Pilot Private Tree Bylaw and approve a bylaw for the urban area only. This option would protect all private trees within the urban area of the City and exclude all agricultural and rural areas north of Highway 5/407.
    Pros:
    Provides protection for private trees in the most populated area of the City.
    Cons:
    Does not provide protection for residential properties in the rural area that
    are not covered under the Regional bylaw for woodlots.

    OPTION 4:
    Repeal the Pilot Private Tree Bylaw and approve a city-wide private tree bylaw.
    Pros:
    This option provides the highest level of protection by including the entire city.
    Cons:
    Increased
    resource requirements in both operating and capital budgets.


    Staff recommends Option 4 for implementation, with a tree size of greater than or equal to 20 cm diameter at breast height. This option provides a high level of protection for private trees city-wide.

    This report goes to City Council on October 21.


Page last updated: 18 November 2021, 09:37