Regulations respecting the felling and planting of trees

The by-law on the protection of trees aims to ensure sound management of the forest cover in urban areas by providing guidelines on cutting down trees within Gatineau.

Requirements

Any person wishing to cut down a tree on their property must obtain a certificate of authorization from Ville de Gatineau. This certificate is required for any hardwood tree with a diameter of 10 cm or more measured 1.30 m from the ground, and for any softwood tree measuring 2 m or more in height. As well, that certificate is required to cut down any tree that is the last remaining one in a front yard, regardless of its dimensions.

A tree may only be cut down for the following reasons:         

  • the tree is dead, has an incurable disease, is infested by an insect that threatens its survival, or is dying;
  • the tree poses a risk;
  • the tree is located in a spot where development or construction is planned, and has already been authorized pursuant to the appropriate municipal by-laws; or
  • the tree is causing damage to the property or constitutes an unreasonable nuisance.

Depending on the number of trees already standing on the property, Gatineau may require that the owner replace the tree that has been cut down within the time stated on the certificate of authorization. The replacement tree must measure no less than 250 cm for a hardwood and 150 cm for a softwood at the time that it is planted.

Certificate

  • To obtain a certificate of authorization to cut down a tree, submit your application to a Ville de Gatineau non-urgent call agent by calling 311.
  • The certificate of authorization to cut down a tree is free. However, if the tree is located in a wooded area, there is a fee of $50.

Enforcement

  • The owner of the building or property on which an offence is committed, and any person who fails to comply with the by-law, is liable to be fined no less than $500, plus $100 for every tree cut down, as well as an administrative fee.
  • The municipal zoning by-law specifies that every property must have at least one tree in its front yard.
  • Gatineau inspectors are assigned to ensure compliance with this by-law. 

Planting and maintenance

  • Be sure to plant your tree within your property limits, and remember that it is prohibited to plant a tree on the municipal right-of-way.
  • Be sure to take into the consideration the tree's dimensions at maturity when deciding where to plant it, in recognition of overhead and underground infrastructures.
  • Anyone pruning a tree must be sure to follow proper procedures, in accordance with the latest recommendations of the Bureau de normalisation du Québec in that regard.

Emerald ash borer

Regularly check to make sure that your ash tree has not been infested with emerald ash borer. Go to gatineau.ca to find out how to recognize ash trees and signs of infestation. Do not wait until it becomes a hazard before cutting it down, and be sure to get your certificate before you do.

Other

You may at any time consult Info-D-TRI-TUS on the municipal Web site to find out how to dispose of green residues, including tree branches, in an ecological manner.

Application of the by-law

The information provided in this pamphlet is based on Gatineau by-laws 501-2005 and 502-2005, and is published for information purposes. It does not replace any of the provisions contained in the official by-law.

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