In the last decade, the City of Ottawa has made significant efforts to protect tree from being cut needlessly, especially in urban areas. Anyone looking to cut down a tree on an Urban property must now obtain a permit from the city, but the rules differ depending on the situation. The goal of the bylaw is to ensure that trees being cut down in the City’s urban areas are diseased or in a state that risks damage to property or person.

Who Must Apply For An Ottawa Tree Removal Permit?

If the tree you are considering for removal has a diameter of 50 cm (roughly the size of your average beer keg), you must apply for a Distinctive Tree Permit to legally proceed with removal. You do not need a permit if you are in rural land, on a farm, golf course, or cemetery. If the tree is on a property larger than one hectare (2.47 acres or 10,000 square metres), you must draft a tree conservation report for approval from the City prior to removal for any tree 10 centimetres or more in diameter.

Once you determine what paperwork is required for your specific case, you must now account for ownership of the tree. If the trunk of the tree boarders on other properties (common in Ottawa’s urban neighbourhoods), all property owners must be in agreement for the tree’s removal. An Arborist Report must be then prepared by a certified and qualified arborist following the City’s template. A Forestry Inspector will then make a site visit and issue a permit if all criteria is met. A granted permit must be posted in a visible location for the public to see seven days prior to removal and seven days after. In all, from your initial application to the removal itself can be up to 22 days or more, so be sure to plan ahead.

What Do I Not Need An Ottawa Distinctive Tree Permit For?

  • Pruning to maintain a tree’s health
  • The tree is under 50 centimetres in diameter on a property less than one hectare
  • The tree is located within a building, solarium, rooftop garden, or interior courtyard
  • The tree is in an actively managed orchard or nursery where harvesting was the purpose of planting
  • The tree located on cemetery or golf course
  • The tree is threatening public health and safety where removal ASAP is encouraged
  • The tree is removed as part of normal farming practice and operations by a registered farming business

What Are The Consequences For Not Obtaining A Permit?

By-law Officers have the power to enter and inspect land to ensure all laws and regulations are being followed properly. If laws have been ignored or there is a contravention of the by-law discovered, a stop-work order will be issued and an the offender will be filed as committing an offence. The fines associated with this range anywhere from $500 to $100,000.

With such hefty fines possible, ensure you are going through the paperwork thoroughly. Be sure to request the services of a trusted and qualified arborist and tree removal service that will not only safely remove your tree but abide by any by-laws, saving you a legal headache.

Croft Tree Experts provide the Ottawa region with quality tree care, removal, and arborist services ensuring your tree removal is done safely and by the book. Contact us to find out how we can service your trees today!