Tree removal regulations differ from one place to another. The provinces and territories have control over most of Canada’s forests. The feds say each of these regions can develop and enforce their laws, regulations and policies related to the planting and removal of trees.
Even still, the provinces don’t always manage tree removal laws themselves. In most cases, they delegate forestry decisions to the towns, cities, and municipal governments!
Tree Removal Regulations Across The Country
How provinces determine tree removal regulations depends on what makes sense for them. In a smaller, less populated province like Newfoundland and Labrador, the laws are easier to administer. While Newfoundlanders don’t need a permit to cut down a tree on Crown land, certain provincial restrictions keep tree cutting in line, especially around the holidays. They have “Cutting of Timber Regulations” that make it illegal to cut down any tree growing within 102 metres of the centre line of a highway, cut down trees in forest improvement or preservation areas, or cut down a large tree to only saw off the top – something many illicit Christmas tree hunters do!
In Ontario, the most populated province in the country, the municipalities are in charge of most tree removal laws. The City of London has its own Urban Forest Strategy, with by-law for trees on private property. Trees on properties can be under the local Tree Protection By-law; there are also Distinctive Tree designations and Tree Protection Areas. If your land or tree falls under any of these by-laws, you may need to apply for a permit if destroying or injuring a tree – unless it’s in a Tree Protection Areas. These zones preserve all the trees, regardless of their size!
Compare this to a municipality a couple of hundred kilometres away like St. Catherines; their city council shot down a proposed by-law regulating trees on private property last year. No municipality’s by-law decisions come without controversy, but the fact is that you’ll find thousands of different standards across the country!
The Federal Government’s Part To Play
Federal property laws do discourage illegal and unwanted tree removal on private property. These regulations are in place to prevent trespassing and timber theft, and landowners rely on the overarching laws related to property rights to keep their trees safe. The Federal government also sets the standards for local by-laws, and they should be based on sustainable practices, developed with consultation from the public and interested parties, and rooted in scientific research and analysis.
In our experiences, private landowners and local communities are very careful about monitoring their trees. Many property owners understand that trees and forests are important sources of beauty, recreation, and environmental benefits like wildlife protection. Some might not agree with the permit system, but right now, it’s what all arborists have to work with in London. If you need help navigating the Forest City’s forest laws, call the Brockley team today!