Enforcement and Compliance

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) Enforcement and Compliance plays an important role in valley and stream corridor management, regulating impacts of development and activities in hazardous land (such as floodplains, shorelines, or wetlands).

TRCA Enforcement and Compliance vehicle parked on location while officers conduct their duties

TRCA Enforcement Officers are designated as Provincial Offences Officers under the Conservation Authorities Act for the purpose of enforcing Sections 28 and 29 of the Act. They carry out duties such as:

  • Provide information on regulations and development restrictions
  • Liaise with contractors on approved work sites
  • Undertake inspections of potential violation sites
  • Inspect and file reports on works approved under a TRCA permit
  • Work with Planning and Permits to ensure compliance with regulations and policies
  • Resolve minor infractions through cooperation with landowners
  • Resolve violations through discussions, removal, restoration, and/or the permit process where possible
  • Process legal proceedings when necessary to ensure compliance
  • Conduct regular patrols of TRCA Conservation Parks and lands to ensure safe and enjoyable places to visit

To report a violation or to contact staff at TRCA’s Enforcement and Compliance Section:

  • Email: tips@trca.ca
  • Phone: (416) 661-6600 ext. TIPS (8477)

What Does TRCA Enforce?
Understanding Sections 28 & 29 of the Conservation Authorities Act


Section 28 allows TRCA to regulate the following activities on all properties within the defined area:

  • Activities to straighten, change, divert or interfere in any way with the existing channel of a river, creek, stream, or watercourse or to change or interfere in any way with a wetland
  • Development activities in areas that are within the authority’s area of jurisdiction and are:
    • hazardous lands
    • wetlands
    • river or stream valleys
    • areas that are adjacent or close to the shoreline of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River System or to an inland lake and that may be affected by flooding, erosion, or dynamic beach hazards
    • other areas in which development should be prohibited or regulated, as determined by the regulation
stream runs through Rosedale Ravine in Toronto
Section 28 allows TRCA to regulate activities that interfere with the existing channel of a river, creek or other watercourse.

To learn more about the permit process, please visit TRCA Planning & Permits.

TRCA only enforces its legislation on lands regulated under the authority of the Conservation Authorities Act and Ontario Regulation 166/06. To view an online map of the approximate areas regulated by the TRCA please use our Regulated Area Search tool.


Section 29 encompasses TRCA-owned lands, where Enforcement Officers often patrol to monitor for compliance.

Each TRCA location provides an opportunity for a variety of recreational activities. To find out what activities are permitted at the location you plan to visit please visit our Conservation Parks and Lands hub, and read our Parks FAQs.

mountain bikers at Albion Hills Conservation Park
Under Section 29, TRCA enforces the activities permitted on its Conservation Parks and Lands.

Enforcement and Compliance: FAQs

What constitutes a contravention/violation of the Act and Regulation?

TRCA staff work with municipalities and other agencies to detect activities that are in contravention of Ontario Regulation 166/06, which may occur when:

  • the development, interference, or alteration within TRCA regulated area that took place contrary to an approved TRCA permit
  • development or activities related to an alteration or interference that are carried out within a regulated area without written permission from the TRCA.


How will TRCA respond to my complaint or concerns?

TRCA Enforcement Officers monitor the TIPS voice mail and email address during regular business hours.

Enforcement Officers’ primary responsibilities in responding to a complaint are to ensure that the complaint is valid and then to contact and work with the landowner(s) in resolving the infraction.

TRCA staff will not provide any details or information related to the complaint once a compliance file is considered active.


I’ve received a TRCA Notice of Violation for my property. Now what?

Follow the instructions on the Notice and contact the Officer who issued the Notice by the date indicated.

The primary goal of the Enforcement and Compliance team is to contact the landowner on whose property the violation has occurred and work with them to resolve the matter. The sooner you contact the Officer, the sooner we can work with you on a solution.


A landowner is cutting down a tree on their property. Who do I contact?

Regulating or prohibiting the cutting down of a single tree or even several trees is the jurisdiction of the municipality under the Municipal Act through a Tree Preservation, Regional Woodland, or similar By-law.


Why did I get a visit from an TRCA Enforcement Officer?

Enforcement officer may attend a property for two reasons:

  • To inspect permit sites for compliance with the Conservation Authorities Act, approved permit plans and/or associated permit conditions
  • To investigate a possible violation under the Conservation Authorities Act

In both circumstances a TRCA Enforcement Officer’s main goal is to work with you in resolving any violations that may have occurred.


What are ESC measures and why do they matter?

Erosion and sediment controls (ESC) are technologies, practices and procedures that are applied to prevent the release of sediment (pollution) from construction sites. They may include installed structural measures, like silt fences, sediment control ponds, and erosion control blankets.

As many municipalities in Ontario undergo rapid urbanization and growth, adopting effective and innovative approaches to ESC is crucial to mitigating sediment discharge from construction sites and protecting our natural features.


What activities are NOT permitted on TRCA properties?

The following are examples of activities that are not permitted on any TRCA lands:

  • Hunting
  • Use of off-road vehicles
  • Dumping
  • Foraging
  • Having a fire, unless on a designated campsite
  • Camping, unless on a designated campsite
  • Possessing an open container and/or consuming alcohol
  • Allowing your dog to run at off-leash
  • Possession/discharge of firearms or archery equipment
  • Encroachment onto adjacent TRCA-owned lands


Enforcement and Compliance: Other Agencies

TRCA receives numerous complaints and concerns daily. Many of these are not the mandate of the TRCA and should be directed to other agencies:

Does your concern pose immediate risk to public safety?
Please call 911.

Need to report criminal activity?
Call your local police non-emergency phone line.

Need to report a spill or possible environmental pollutant?
Contact the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks:
Spills Action Centre (Available 24/7)
(416) 325-3000   |   Toll-free: 1.866.MOETIPS (6638477)

Does your concern involve fish and wildlife infractions?
Contact the Ministry of the Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
Conservation Officer TIPS line:
1-877-TIPS-MNR   |   1-877-847-7667

Does your concern involve tree removal, water drainage, illegal dumping, and/or domestic animals at large?
Contact your local municipality. View TRCA jurisdiction and participating municipalities.