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How to Find a Licensed Arborist in Toronto

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How to Find a Licensed Arborist in Toronto

If you’re looking for a licensed arborist in Toronto, this blog post is for you. Seeking a qualified tree care professional can be challenging. It’s important to understand the necessary certifications and credentials that an arborist needs. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intricacies of arborist licensing and certification within Ontario.

We’ll discuss whether or not arborists need a license in Toronto and compare the differences between licensed arborists and certified arborists. Furthermore, we’ll provide insights on what to look for when hiring an expert for your tree maintenance or removal needs.

Lastly, you’ll discover valuable tips on finding a properly qualified arborist in Toronto who can ensure your trees are well-maintained and protected from potential hazards. By understanding these key aspects, you can make informed decisions when selecting an experienced professional to manage your urban forest landscape.

1. “Licensed Arborist” in Toronto, Ontario: What You Need to Know

Are you seeking a licensed arborist in Toronto, yet unsure how to do that? Here’s the deal: there is no licensing requirement for arborists in Ontario.

No official accreditation is necessary for someone to be able to declare themselves an arborist and start practicing, regardless of their qualifications or expertise. That doesn’t mean they are a tree expert or tree specialist, or that you’re out of luck.

Look for certifications from organizations like the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or Journeyman status through provincial apprenticeship programs.

Expertise Varies

Without a licensing requirement, you’ll find varying levels of knowledge among arborists in Toronto. Some have extensive professional credentials, while others are self-taught and may have little to no understanding of tree science or care — they simply cut trees. That’s why it’s important to ask about certifications and qualifications before hiring an arborist.

Licensed Arborist vs. Certified Arborist vs. Tree Cutter

Arborist services are provided by qualified individuals employed at tree companies. A tree cutter is someone or a group of people who hire out their services to cut trees, but have no formal knowledge or education in arboricultural science. This is often the confusion when people think about Arborists vs. Landscapers.

Sometimes these individuals will claim to be a licensed arborist in Toronto to bolster their appeal, but that phrase is meaningless. Hiring an unskilled labourer can lead to damaged trees, or worse.

Choose Wisely

A qualified arborist can be essential for preserving the health of your trees, so it is wise to ask about certifications and qualifications before hiring one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Entrusting your trees to an arborist is no small decision, as they are a valuable part of your property and the cost of damaged trees could be significant.

“Protect your property’s valuable assets. Choose a certified arborist in Toronto for expert tree care. No licensing required, but qualifications matter #TreeCare #Arborists #Toronto” Click to Tweet

Licensed Arborist vs. Certified

Selecting an arborist for the job requires great care, as tree maintenance is a complicated endeavor. In Ontario, there’s no licensing requirement for arborists, but that doesn’t mean you should hire just anyone.

It is essential to recognize the contrast between a professional arborist with formal education and training, and an individual with a chainsaw.

A certified arborist has undergone formal training through college programs like those at Humber College or Fleming College that teach tree science, along with other relevant topics, such as industry safety standards.

They may have also passed the qualifying trade exam for arborist apprentices and become a Journeyperson or taken the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) exam to become certified.

Certified Arborists can write arborist reports for tree permits, and may have other certifications and qualifications that recognize mastery of tree risk assessment, safety, or tree appraisal.

Why Does Certification Matter?

  • Educational Background: They have a deeper understanding of tree biology and best practices for maintenance due to their formal training.
  • Safety Standards: Certified professionals are more likely to follow safety standards set by organizations such as ISA while performing tree services, ensuring the safety of your property and the arborist.
  • Better Quality Work: With proper knowledge and expertise, certified professionals provide better quality work compared to non-certified individuals who might lack experience or training.

Finding a Qualified Professional

Verify that the arborist you are considering has valid credentials. Additionally, check if they are members of professional organizations like ISA Ontario or the Ontario Commercial Association of Arborists (OCAA) and so forth, which can indicate ongoing commitment to industry standards and best practices.

Key Takeaway:

When choosing an arborist for your trees, it’s important to understand the difference between a licensed and certified arborist. Since there is no such thing as a licensed arborist in Toronto, a certified tree specialist is your best bet. Certified professionals have formal training in tree biology and safety standards, providing better quality work compared to non-certified individuals who may lack experience or training.

“Ensure your trees are in good hands. Look for an arborist with a strong education, certifications, experience, positive reviews and proper insurance coverage. #TreeCare #Arborists #Toronto” Click to Tweet

If there’s no such thing as a licensed arborist in Toronto, what should I look for?

In the absence of any licensing regulations, it is important to ensure that an arborist has the necessary qualifications and expertise for tree removal, tree pruning or hedge care. Don’t worry, we have a list of tips for finding someone experienced and trustworthy — or you can check out our big list of tree care companies in the city.

Finding a Licensed Arborist for Your Trees

Don’t let just anyone take care of your trees. Finding a qualified arborist is crucial for their health and longevity. Whether you need trimming, disease treatment, or removal, a professional touch can make all the difference. Since looking for a licensed arborist in Toronto isn’t possible, here are some tips for finding a qualified one:

1. Check ISA Ontario and OCAA Directories

Start by searching the ISA Ontario (International Society of Arboriculture) and OCAA (Ontario Commercial Association of Arborists) websites for certified professionals in your area.

2. Ask for Recommendations

Word-of-mouth referrals can be invaluable when looking for trustworthy service providers. Connect with those close to you who have had positive experiences utilizing nearby arborists.

3. Inquire About Qualifications

When contacting potential candidates, ask about their certifications and training background. Certification from organizations like ISA or completion of college programs such as those at Humber College and Fleming College indicate a higher level of expertise.

4. Evaluate Experience

Consider how long they’ve been working in the industry and if they specialize in any specific arboricultural services

5. Avoid Door-to-Door Contractors

A reputable arborist will rarely solicit work door-to-door. (That’s not to say never, though! We’ve met some of our own neighbours through noticing their tree issues.) Avoid anyone offering unsolicited services without proper credentials.

6. Request a Written Estimate

Before hiring an arborist, ask for a detailed written quote outlining the scope of work and costs involved. This can help prevent any misunderstandings or unexpected charges later on.

7. Verify Insurance Coverage

Ensure that the arborist you choose has adequate liability insurance to protect both your property and themselves in case of accidents or damage during tree care operations.

By taking these steps, you’ll find a qualified, reliable arborist to handle all your tree care needs in Toronto. Invest time into researching potential candidates to make an informed decision and enjoy peace of mind knowing your trees are in good hands.

8. Get Other Quotes to Compare

Always compare a few different quotes to see what the price is, the scope of work and the different opinions on the best way to handle your tree problem. Ideally, 3-4 quotes will allow you to understand the true costs without taking too much of your time

To ensure the health and longevity of your trees, it’s important to find a qualified arborist in Toronto. Start by checking directories such as ISA Ontario and OCAA, ask for recommendations, inquire about qualifications and experience, avoid door-to-door contractors, request a written estimate and verify insurance coverage before making an informed decision.

Key Takeaway


Homeowners in Toronto: When it comes to tree care, Certified Arborists are your best bet for quality service.

To find a qualified arborist: Ask for referrals, check online reviews, and ensure they are insured and certified by reputable organizations like the ISA or TCIA.

Remember, there is no such thing as a “licensed arborist” in Toronto, but hiring a company with proper qualifications, credentials and insurance in Toronto will ensure your trees receive proper care and maintenance they deserve.

author avatar
Michael Co-Founder
Michael is a Certified Arborist and founder of the company. He holds a Certificate in Urban Arboriculture (Honours) from Humber College, Certificate in Project Leadership from Cornell, has post-graduate studies in Urban Forestry and Arboriculture from Oregon State College of Foresty and holds a BAH in Ancient History with a minor in Business. In addition to being an ISA Certified Arborist, he is a TCIA Certified Tree Safety Professional, Tree Appraisal Qualified by Arboriculture Canada and holds a Landscape Exterminator license. Michael sat on the Board of Director for the Ontario Commercial Arborist Association in 2022 and 2023. He worked at some of the top arboriculture companies in Southern Ontario before starting Vista Tree Management. Before that, he was an award-winning Executive Director in the nonprofit sector and published marketing consultant. On the rare days off, Michael can be found at home with his family - a loving wife, two daughters and two cats in Central Toronto.
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Vista is an excellent company to deal with. The owners went above and beyond expectations to help deal with a unique situation. The guys who did the work were not only professional but also very polite. I will be using them again to help with other work in the future.
We are very happy with all the work Vista Tree Management accomplished on our property.  James was very professional and gave us excellent advice concerning the trimming of our 12 foot cedar hedges and the pruning of our mature silver maple trees.  The crew was very friendly and hard working, they did a tremendous job on the work required and they did an excellent job with the clean up.  We would highly recommend Vista Tree services to our family and friends.  We will definitely use them again for all of our future projects.
John & Sonja
They just did my front lawn, and boy, did they leave a lasting impression!

They were straightforward with the plan - clear and precise, ensuring that I was well informed of the process and outcome. The execution was meticulous and exceeded my expectations. Moreover, the cleanliness post-service was remarkable, leaving no trace of debris or disruption.

They were on time and was the epitome of friendly and cheerful—felt like I had friends over for a garden party!

Overall, their service was excellent at every stage. The inquiry, consultation, customer support, day-of service, follow-up, and payment process were all seamless.

I had peace of mind and very happy with Vista. I highly recommend them to those in need of reliable and thorough tree management service.
I can’t say enough positive comment about James and Vista Tree. We were “ghosted” by 2 other tree management companies last fall. James came by and provided separate quotes for two very large trees on our property, both of which were a challenge to severely prune. They were a hazard and had to be addressed. The quotes were delivered the next day after assessment. The team was here on two separate days (April 30 and May 7). They were efficient, professional and most importantly safe. Hollis, the arborist who climbed the trees was friendly and communicated everything he was doing to the trees as well as any changes he made once he was up in the tree. The other members of the crew (Syd and Pete, I can’t remember the others) were professional and friendly. They cleaned everything up and were open to any suggestions we had regarding disposal of the wood. I would highly recommend this company. We will be having them back again to do more work, in the fall.
Leaside neighbours take note!! Exceptional and professional service from start to finish. The team at Vista Tree Management responded to an urgent and critical situation. They were efficient, skilled and courteous. They handled the tree removal with precision and left our backyard immaculate. I highly recommend this team for your tree removal needs. They beat the competition by $1000+
James and his team did a great job pruning and trimming our old silver maple. James answered all my questions, provided expert advice and had his team do the work shortly after. The workers were professional, cleaned the space well, and were really efficient. Would definitely recommend Vista Tree management!
James was great! Very professional and you can definitely tell he knows what he’s talking about. They provided a quote in a timely manner booked us in for the tree pruning within a few days afterwards. The job was done quickly, professionally and the crew was friendly and polite. They cleaned up everything once the work was completed. Highly recommend!
Safe, fast, personable team - did a great job with tree trimming and removal! Note: the removal of a tree was not on the original scope and they still made it happen!
By the end of the day, I wouldn’t have even known they were there.
Very Happy with the professional advice and service we received from Vista which was promptly done. The follow-up to ensure we were happy with the work was appreciated.
Highly recommend! Michal came by first to take a look at things and provide the estimate. He’s obviously passionate about what he does and I learned a ton about my tree that I had no idea about! He gave me the confidence I needed to schedule the work. James and the “J-Crew” arrived on the scheduled day and were super friendly. The team did an amazing job with trimming my large overgrown maple and a fantastic cleanup job. My yard looked better than before they arrived. Will definitely have them back for future maintenance! Thanks Vista!
Great service from a great crew of people! The team was amazing from consulting on best ways to tackle the project, safely removing the trees and making sure the job was done to satisfaction. Would highly recommend and definitely use them again.
These guys are incredibly professional and by far the best arborist that have visited our home. And we've had many!

What impressed me the most was throughout their only concern was safety for my family and our property. With that and that only in mind they made all the cuts and changes that were required. When they left, I felt the most relief I felt about the trees in our backyard in a long time.

Truly appreciate your hard work and will highly recommend you in the future!
After doing a fair bit of research into Toronto-based arborists, we decided to go with Vista, and are very happy we did! From my first meeting with Mike when he came to give us a free quote, I was impressed with his knowledge and professionalism. Mike and his crew were punctual on the day they came to prune the deadwood from our very large Red Oak tree, answered my questions, and worked for 7 hours straight to get the job done. We were impressed from beginning to end, and wouldn’t hesitate to hire them again!
These guys are the best! Very professional, easy to work with and very nice people.
James was amazing in communication and and arranging everything. He is a wonderful person and professional. I had 4 different companies for the quotes and Vista Tree were the best by every criteria I had in mind. After the work was done they cleaned the whole territory even the mess that was here before them. I would definitely recommend them and will call them again when I need any tree work done. Thanks!

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