On Tuesday, September 1, 2009, a City of Ottawa by-law went into effect which requires property owners in urban areas to obtain a tree permit from the City to remove certain trees. The owner is responsible to obtain an arborist report from a local certified arborist.  Afterwards, a permit application must be issued by contacting 311 (City of Ottawa information line).

Property owners are responsible for obtaining one of the following:

  • Tree Conservation Report: This applies to owners whose property is greater than one hectare in size and whose tree is larger than 10cm in diameter (dbh).
  • Distinctive Tree Report: This applies to land owners whose property is less than a hector in size and whose tree is larger than 50cm in diameter (dbh).

After the permit has been issued, the owner must display this permit in a visible spot (window) for seven days prior to work being done and seven days after the work has been completed.

DBH= Diameter Breast Height  1.3 meters


Urban Tree Conservation By-law

The Urban Tree Conservation By-law (PDF) applies to private land within the urban area of the City of Ottawa plus specific adjacent rural areas recommended by staff for inclusion within the urban boundary, including a small area in the east end along the Ottawa River, between the urban boundary and Ted Kelly Lane. These areas are shown on Schedules C through H of the by-law.

The By-law currently doesn’t apply to any other property in the rural area, nor does it apply to normal farming practices, orchards, tree farms, golf courses, or cemeteries anywhere in the city.

There are two main sections in the By-law:

  1.     Large Property Component — For properties greater than one hectare in size, except condominium and multi-residential properties, landowners must have a City-approved Tree Conservation Report before trees over 10 centimetres in diameter can be cut down.
  2.     Small Property Component — For properties one hectare or less in size, and condominium and multi-residential properties of all sizes, if a landowner wants to remove a tree that is 50 centimetres (20 inches) or greater in diameter, they must obtain a Distinctive Tree Permit from the City.

City of Ottawa Infill Tree Conservation Program

Tree conservation is considered an essential element in the growth and development of the City of Ottawa. Trees improve air quality, reduce heating and cooling costs, minimize our carbon footprint, and increase property value. The Infill Tree Conservation Program has been developed to maintain and enhance these benefits within the city.

These infill guidelines apply to all new single, semi-detached, duplex and triplex units built inside the greenbelt that are not subject to Site Plan or Subdivision applications.

Please visit the City of Ottawa Infill Tree Conservation Program for more information.​