You need a permit if:

A permit is required when a proponent wishes to injure or destroy a healthy tree of any size, or to place or dump fill or alter the grade (where not subject to TRCA fill regulation) in defined areas as identified in Schedule “A” attached to the By-law. This means that where development is proposed on property within or partially within the ravine protection area mapped on Schedule A of the Ravine By-law, the applicant will be required either to sign a declaration that there will be no injury or destruction of trees, or placing or dumping of fill or alteration of grade (where outside of TRCA jurisdiction); or to apply to Forestry for a permit under the Ravine By-law. Declaration forms and applications are available at all Planning or Building customer service counters and from Urban Forestry through the website

Completed forms should be sent to:

City of Toronto,
Urban Forestry Ravine Protection
355 Lesmill Road
Toronto M3B 2W8
Fax 416 392-6658

The application form lists the submission requirements.  Permits may take a few weeks to be processed.

You do not require a permit under the following conditions:

  1. For grade changes within areas that are fill regulated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (a permit must be filed with TRCA).
  2. For removal of a dead tree or a tree in declining or poor condition that cannot be maintained in a healthy and safe condition, after a certified tree expert (generally an Arborist) has evaluated it and the City Forester confirms the assessment.
  3. For a tree that represents an imminent hazard to persons or property. Individuals removing such hazards are required to report to the City Forester on the conditions making the tree hazardous.
  4. For the proper arboricultural pruning of a tree, provided that it will not harm the health of the tree. Examples of reasons for such pruning include the following:
    • Pruning to encourage the natural form of the tree species;
    • Pruning to remove dead limbs;
    • Pruning to maintain structural stability and balance of a tree.

    It may be detrimental to tree health to prune to reduce the shading effect of tree branches or to improve a view and such action is not acceptable under the Municipal Code.

  1. For the following circumstances:
    • Pruning according to proper arboricultural standards to clear tree limbs and branches interfering with structures;
    • Pruning of tree branches that interfere with utility conductors, as certified by the City Forester;
    • To injure or destroy trees which are involved with emergency work which includes drain repairs, utility repairs and structural repairs to a building of an emergency nature; work to prevent soil erosion, slipping of soil.
  2. For cultivation or tilling of garden beds as long as such work does not alter or create slopes at greater than 10 percent.
  3. For placing of soil involving an amount of less than five cubic metres for the purposes of maintaining existing manicured areas.

The city forester will suggest that you require an arborist’s report before you can apply for any removals on the ravine properties.  However, it is possible to complete the application for removals yourself, provided you include photos and a planting plan.  The city wants to ensure replacement plants are put in – in one case to remove a 6” diameter tree; the home owner had to agree to plan two additional trees on the property.