Whitby Tree Removal By-Laws

Everything you need to know about tree removal regulations in Whitby, Ontario

The town of Whitby, having been named one of the first Tree Cities of the World in 2019, is dedicated to the preservation and growth of its urban forest. A healthy forest contributes to the quality of life for all citizens.

In the interest of managing a safe, healthy, and sustainable urban forest area, the town manages trees located on town property under the Urban Forest Management Program and Whitby tree removal by-laws.

Most of the forest area is located on private property, so the town enacted the Tree Protection By-Laws. The town encourages anyone who wants to perform tree removal in Whitby to consult the Planning and Development Department to determine permit requirements and approval.

Areas Protected by Whitby Tree Removal By-Laws

There are specific locations designated by the Tree Protection Requirement in which a permit for tree removal is required. Trees protected are:

  • located on a woodlot as defined by the by-law.
  • on land designated as “major open space,” on hazard land, on environmentally protected or conservation land, in “mature woodland” or environmentally sensitive areas. 
  • cited for preservation in an approved tree protection plan
  • located on residential land and 2.02 hectares or greater in size. 


Managing forest areas according to good forestry and arboricultural practices often means that exemptions must be made. There are several exceptions outlined in the by-law. Exempt trees are those in the following locations:

  • On land owned or controlled by the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority or other local or regional municipality
  • Within a building, solarium, roof-top garden, interior courtyard, or nursery
  • On a cultivated orchard or tree farm that is actively managed and trees are harvested for the purpose for which they were planted
  • Dead, diseased, or hazardous trees as determined by the Director
  • Damaged or destroyed trees following a natural disaster as approved by the Director
  • On a woodlot and managed according to a plan approved by a forestry consultant
  • Areas subject to activities under another authority such as the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority or the provincial or federal government
  • Areas under regular farm operations that are not in designated areas stated above.
  • Woodlots for personal use but not exceeding the removal of 20 trees per 12 months, assuming the removal of the trees will not reduce the woodlot below the minimum number for a defined woodlot
  • Areas designated for the construction of a building under an approved municipal building permit

For Developers

For landowners and developers, the Tree Protection Requirement dictates that they must include a Tree Inventory, Arborist Report, and a Tree Protection Plan when submitting site plans and subdivision applications.

Application Process

All applicants for a permit to remove trees must submit an application and fee to the municipality. The Director who approves or denies the application may require additional information such as a forestry report. The Director may also confer with experts before issuing a permit. This process may require inspectors to survey the land and trees. The Director also reserves the right to impose conditions for limiting species, number, and location of trees to be removed. 

  • an approved permit is good for 12 months from the issue date
  • the Director may extend a permit not more than an additional 12 months


If a permit is denied or conditions are unfavorable, the applicant may appeal to the Council within 30 days of the issue date of the denial. A hearing will be held with the Council whose decision is final.

Enforcement and Fines

A first conviction under the Tree Protection By-Laws will result in a fine of up to $10,000. All subsequent convictions will result in a fine of up to $20,000. A court may also order replanting and additional remedy measures.

Have further questions about Whitby tree removal? Don’t hesitate to contact out team today for further assistance!

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