Canadian Registered Charity (855745220RR001).


Protect Burlington's Trees

Protect trees poster imageTree Loss Affects All of us

Check our Current Calls to Action page for the latest updates on this important issue.

Tree Protection Hotline:

We often receive communications from Burlington residents concerned about trees they see being cut down. Send us an email ideally including a location and photo of the trees being taken down, and we will share your input with the Forestry Department staff at City of Burlington. If you prefer to contact us by phone, please call: 905 975 5563. To learn more about Burlington tree related information and to contact City staff directly please click here.

Private trees are a key part of public life. When we look around our landscape, we may assume we have enough trees and that cutting more doesn’t really matter. The truth is – we don't have enough. Planting more trees is only part of the solution; we need to protect the older growth trees as well.

"Conservation Halton's Watershed report card graded the overall forest cover in our watershed to mostly D (Poor) with grades ranging from A to F. The majority of large forested areas are located above the Niagara Escarpment. This coverage is lower than the 30 to 50% minimum requirement to support a sustainable environment as identified by Environment Canada. Add to that the threat to 13% of trees in our city as a result of Emerald Ash Borer and we argue that we need more solution-focused mechanisms in place to protect and increase our tree canopy in Burlington."

–Amy Schnurr, Executive Director, BurlingtonGreen

benefits of urban trees

"A tree is a very modest investment in a community and as it grows
it is the only asset in the entire city infrastructure that increases in value as it grows"
-Benefits of Urban Trees video ( below)

Click here to find out how we are helping to GROW the urban forest tree canopy here in Burlington!

Tune in to a great discussion about the importance of urban forests in Canada's growing cities, and how tools like a private property tree bylaw can be effective in growing our urban tree canopy. Listen to the discussion here as CBC's Gillian Findlay speaks with three tree experts , as they sat in the shadow of a nearby forest in the University of Toronto Campus in Mississauga.

You can also read this interesting report published by Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition on the state of the urban forest in the Greater Toronto Area. The report provides an overview of the state of the GTA's urban forest, highlights some of the key benefits it provides, and outlines the challenges and opportunities associated with growing our urban forests.

Victory for local biodiversity, climate mitigation and a healthy community!

Protect trees community tooOn December 16th, 2019, Burlington Council voted 5 to 7 to implement a city-wide private property tree protection bylaw. An important issue we have been advocating on for more than a decade. Most of the local trees that make up our urban canopy are located on private property, and having a bylaw in place will go a long way on protecting this important green asset. 

Urban Trees Need Protection

 What you need to know:

  • On January 27th, 2020, Burlington Council unanimously approved the establishment of Burlington's first Urban Private Property Tree Bylaw effective January 27. Click here to learn more about the bylaw and its implementation.

  • On December 16th, 2019, Burlington Council voted to implement a city-wide private property tree protection bylaw.

  • On June 4th,2018, the majority of Council voted in favour of a two-year pilot Private Tree By-law for the Roseland Community to be implemented on November 1, 2018. Additionally, the City will undertake community consultation regarding a city-wide tree protection By-law. BurlingtonGreen Advocacy Team member Jane Jenner delegated at the Council Committee meeting and stressed the need for tree protection across the City. Click here to read the delegation.

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  • In March 2016, Mayor Goldring introduced a proposal for a private property tree by-law in the Roseland Community as a pilot project. However, there still seems to be hesitation from Council to proceed on this. You can read BurlingtonGreen's delegation text on the subject here.

  • In 2013, City Council voted against a private property tree bylaw despite our city’s Urban Forest Management Plan calling for increased protection, a more proactive approach to tree management, and an opportunity for study of private tree regulations.

  • Check out Burlington’s Urban Forest Management Plan. The city’s own management plan calls on officials to do a better job at protecting and enforcing protection of our urban canopy.

  • A practical, effective private property tree bylaw will NOT block owners from removing damaged, diseased, or over-grown trees.

  • Cutting down trees should not be the “go-to” first and only approach to issues – as was the case in 2014 with the loss of a line of apple trees on Guelph Line between St. Christopher’s Anglican Church and the neighbouring apartment building. Despite the trees being healthy and volunteers ready to pick the apples with a harvest from those trees of 500 lbs of food, they appeared to be destroyed for the sake of  “convenience”.

  • Some Councillors have claimed there is little interest in Burlington for regulating private tree removal – we need to show our representatives we do care about protecting these vital resources.

Additional Information

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This page is part of BurlingtonGreen's Greenprint for the Future awareness and advocacy program.
The program, covering a number of local issues, is made possible
thanks to funding from MEC.