tree by-laws

Strengthening Enforcement of Toronto’s Tree Bylaws

This past summer, 40 trees were illegally removed by a developer on Bayview Avenue. This is one of the most significant violations of the tree bylaws in Toronto to date.

In October, I requested that city staff prosecute this case at the Ontario Court of Justice and pursue the maximum penalty.

To stop developers from committing similar violations in the future, I also moved a motion directing staff to strengthen the city’s tree bylaws. In particular, I asked for improvements to the investigations process to make it more transparent, efficient and accessible.

Most importantly, I’ve requested staff to consider stiffer penalties for bylaw contraventions, including higher fines, stop work orders and the suspension of building permits.

Incidences of illegal tree removals are occurring across our city, and the City of Toronto needs to take a tougher stance and send a clear message that cutting down trees without permits is unacceptable and will be met with severe penalties.

Strengthening Toronto’s Tree Canopy

I am pleased to report that the Parks and Environment Committee voted to support and approve my motion to strengthen Toronto’s tree canopy – which suffered real damage from the ice storm.

My motion directs Urban Forestry staff to bring forward recommendations to improve Toronto’s tree protection bylaw, including, among other things:

  • A communications strategy to ensure that the public is aware of the ins and outs of our tree protection policies;
  • Better integration of any and all tree-related considerations in the planning and development process;
  • Improvements to the manner and form of public notice required by the bylaw;
  • Uniform and consistent criteria to define what constitutes a tree in “healthy condition” and “poor condition;” and,
  • Information on the impacts of soil volume on the health and longevity of replacement trees.

These points grew directly from your feedback and my street-by-street experience working on tree issues in Ward 25!

Alongside improvements on the enforcement end, these changes will make the tree protection bylaw stronger and more effective.