Call before you cut!

Tree Preservation By-law in effect.

Markham enacted its Tree Preservation By-law - regulating the destruction or injury of trees - for all properties on June 24, 2008. The by-law is effective immediately.

The Tree Preservation By-law was adopted by Council to support a greener community and a healthier environment. It exists to preserve significant trees on all properties within the City and to sustain Markham's urban forest.

Call before you cut! - Permit required

you need a permit before cutting a tree with a diameter of 20 cm or moreProperty owners must apply for a permit before injuring or destroying any tree in Markham with a trunk diameter of 20 centimetres (about 8 inches) or more, measured at 1.37 metres (about 54 inches) above the ground at the base of the tree.

Call before you cut! You need a permit before cutting a tree with a diameter of 20 cm (8 inches) or more measured at 1.37 metres (54 inches) above the ground. Anyone contravening the Tree Preservation By-law and found guilty of an offence will be subject to penalties.

Permit Process

Note: This process applies to both permit applications and bylaw exemption requests.

  1. Submit a Tree Permit Application using one of the following methods:
  2. Online Tree Permit Application or fill out the Tree Permit Application Form [PDF] and submit completed application in person to the Contact Centre, Unionville Entrance at the Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Boulevard.

  3. If your tree is exempt, no permit fee is required. A written confirmation – a permit – will be issued by Markham where a permit is applicable, fees may apply.
  4. Applications can take up to 30 days to process.

Following the review of a permit application, the City may determine the removal of the tree does not require a permit and will refund any fees paid or confirm that a site inspection is required.

Other requirements

A report from a qualified tree expert may be required as a condition of permit approval, but is not required for the initial permit application.

By-law Exemptions

Exemptions under the by-law may be granted. The property owner is required to complete and submit the same permit application when requesting an exemption to the by-law. Upon approval of exemption, Markham staff will issue a permit to allow the tree to be removed.

Exemptions are considered for:

  • hazard tree removal
  • emergency work removal
  • work on dead, dying or diseased trees as defined in the by-law
  • orders issued under any property standards by-law
  • maintenance or pruning (not more than one-third of the live branches) in accordance with professional practice\
  • tree removal on rooftop gardens, in indoor courtyards, solariums or raised podiums
  • nursery business trees
  • cultivated orchard trees
  • removal authorized or required under a municipal building permit.

A permit is not required if:

  • a tree is removed by the municipality or local board as defined in the Municipal Act
  • a tree is removed under an approved site plan, plan of subdivision or development permit

Trees in woodlots and woodlands are covered by the Region of York By-law, and are also exempt from the City's permit process.

Refer to Section 4 of the Tree Preservation By-law for the details of these exemptions.

Contact Information

For more information contact Markham's Contact Centre at 905-477-5530 or

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