Make Arboriculture in Ontario an Essential Service/Strictly Necessary

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The Government of Ontario has put new terminology into place as of Saturday April 4 at 11:59 PM 2020 stating "Maintenance 20. management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security...of....commercial..and residential properties and buildings".

While this makes certain aspects of arboriculture and the business operation of a tree care company obvious such as electrical line clearing, hazard tree removal, and crown cleaning (deadwooding), it fails to define what is strictly necessary. One could argue that while removing a dead tree is strictly necessary, the clean up of it after its on the ground is not. One could also argue that the branches create a trip hazard so that is strictly necessary. Additionally, the stump creates a trip hazard so shouldn't that be strictly necessary?

Additionally, for a tree care/arboriculture business to offer the essential service of removing hazard trees and line clearing, they also do rely on other streams of income such as planting trees or cedar hedge pruning. The fact is that without these other streams, the majority of tree care companies cannot continue with their current operation.

Keeping in mind best management practices re COVID-19 such as maintaining 2 metre distance at all times and employees taking separate vehicles to work as sanitization is key.

As a sector that offers clear essential services, we should not afraid to operate and offer all of our services and worry about semantics. We should not be afraid to be fined if we are following best management practices. And lastly, we should seek a clear concise response from the government before a major storm event that may or may not happen because someone like myself, a small business tree care owner should not be afraid to respond to an emergency!

This is a call to action to ask for the tree care/arboriculture industry to be made essential/strictly necessary with no gray area.



Mark Ellis

ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Municpal Specialist ON-1686BM

Cinerea Urban Forestry Services