City of Vancouver Tree Protection Bylaw Overview

The City of Vancouver’s Tree Protection Bylaw (Bylaw 9958) impacts all private property owners in Vancouver considering tree removal. To remove any tree with a diameter of 20 cm or more, measured 1.4 m above ground level, a tree removal permit is required.

Giant Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), highest tree of Macmillan provincial park, Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Since April 15, 2014, amendments to the Protection of Trees Bylaw ensures the preservation of our urban forest. The bylaw places conditions on owners or builders who want to remove trees on their property.

Permission for tree removal may be granted if:

  • The tree is within a development site’s building envelope.
  • The tree’s location prevents the construction of garages or accessory buildings while retaining the tree.
  • An arborist deems the tree dead, dying, or hazardous.
  • An arborist finds the tree interferes with utility wires and cannot be pruned without affecting its health or appearance.
  • A certified plumber confirms tree roots are blocking or interfering with sewer or drainage systems.

You can explore the complete list of conditions for securing City tree removal permits in Section 4 of the Protection of Trees By-law.

For property development, including renovations or new constructions, retaining existing trees is mandatory unless removal meets the specified conditions. Protection measures for trees on the site and adjacent properties, including boulevard trees at risk of damage, are required during development.

An arborist’s report is essential for development permit applications, ensuring compliance with Vancouver’s tree protection regulations.

This bylaw is part of Vancouver’s commitment to maintaining a healthy urban forest. Understanding and complying with these regulations helps protect our city’s green spaces for future generations.

We focus on Vancouver, but we have experience working in all municipalities within the Lower Mainland. Contact us.