Protection of Trees Bylaw 9958

This bylaw affects all private property owners in Vancouver wanting to remove a tree.

If you want to remove a tree, you need a tree removal permit for every tree that has a diameter (width) of 20 cm or greater, measured at 1.4 m  above the ground. A tree trunk with a diameter of 20 cm will have a circumference of approximately 64 cm.

Get a tree removal permit

tree measurements

Permit display

The tree permit must be posted in a visible location during tree removal.

Tree removal conditions

On April 15, 2014, City Council amended the Protection of Trees Bylaw to maintain a healthy urban forest. Removed from the bylaw is the ability for an owner or builder to remove one healthy tree per year.

Property owners may be granted permission to remove trees, if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • The tree on a development site is located within the building envelope 
  • The tree is located such that a proposed garage or other accessory building cannot be located so as to retain the tree 
  • An arborist certifies the tree is dead, dying, or hazardous 
  • An arborist certifies the tree is directly interfering with utility wires and cannot be pruned and still maintain its reasonable appearance or health 
  • An accredited plumber certifies that the roots of the tree are directly interfering with, or blocking sewer or drainage systems

Property development and trees

Unless a tree requires removal under one of the conditions listed above, all property development (renovation or new building) requires you to retain existing trees located on your property.

All trees to be retained on the site require protection during any construction or development. All trees on adjacent properties or boulevard trees that are in danger of being damaged must be protected as well.

An arborist's report is required to make a development permit application.

Garages and accessory buildings

When designing a garage or other accessory building, find out what measures may be required to retain healthy trees.

Explanation of amendments since April 16, 2014

  • New fees for 2017 are outlined in the updated version of Section 4  (30 KB) and will take effect January 1, 2017. Prior to the new fees coming into effect, refer to the 2016 version of Section 4  (30 KB).
  • Section 4  (28 KB) has been amended to reflect new fees, as enacted by Council on December 1, 2015, effective January 1, 2016.
  • Section 4.5 has been repealed to remove an owner or builder's ability to remove one healthy tree per year. Other amendments include renumbered sections, removed section references that are no longer accurate, and clarification of the owner's responsibility to comply with the bylaw, effective April 16 and 29, 2014.
  • Appendix A (11 KB) is revised to include recent amending Bylaw numbers