Toronto: What is Urban Forestry’s Procedure for Boundary Trees

City of Toronto, Changes to Tree By-Laws December 2015

  • “In 2013, Urban Forestry implemented a new procedure to standardize the review of tree injury and removal applications that involve trees on neighbouring private properties (neighbour trees) and trees growing on boundary lines (boundary trees). The procedure includes written notification to the applicant and the owner of the neighbour tree or co- owner(s) of the boundary tree. The main function of the notification is to provide all owners of boundary and neighbour trees with an opportunity to address any civil property law or ownership issues surrounding trees that cannot be addressed through the by-law process. The process also provides that supporting documentation will be routinely disclosed to both parties if requested by either.”
  • City of Toronto

City of Toronto definition of a boundary tree:

  • “A “boundary tree” will be defined as “a tree, any part of whose trunk is growing across one or more property lines” and “trunk” will be defined as “the entire trunk of the tree from its point of growth away from the roots up to its top where it branches out to limbs and foliage. These definitions are being adopted in accordance with the recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Hartley v. Cunningham. A “neighbour tree” will be defined as a tree whose trunk is growing wholly on an adjacent property.

City of Toronto procedure for permits involving a boundary tree:

  • “Urban Forestry informs all applicants that a permit to injure or destroy a boundary tree or neighbour tree does not authorize the permit holder to injure or destroy the tree without obtaining the consent of the neighbour tree owner or boundary tree co-owner and that it is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain any necessary consent prior to undertaking any tree injury or destruction approved by the City.”
“Upon receipt of an application to injure or destroy a boundary tree or neighbour tree, the General Manager shall:
  1. Provide notice of the application in writing to all boundary tree co-owners.
  2. Provide notice of the application in writing to the neighbour tree owner.
  3. Advise the applicant that all arborist reports, tree protection plans, landscaping and replanting plans, surveys and other supporting documentation submitted as part of the application will be provided to the boundary tree co-owners or neighbour tree owner.”
See the 2015 revised by-laws  813.19.1 here.