Committed to the welfare of trees and urban forests
Last summer, a Toronto resident sued her neighbors because they objected to her cutting down a beautiful, healthy, shared maple tree growing on the property line. Hilary Cunningham and Stephen Scharper, both professors at the University of Toronto, were not consulted by their neighbor and expressed concern about the ecological impacts of felling healthy trees. They hired expert certified arborists who determined that the tree was healthy and recommended that it be preserved. They were shocked to learn that their situation was not unusual: every year in cities across Ontario, thousands of healthy, mature trees growing on property lines are arbitrarily cut down—often while neighbors are away on vacation or against their objections.
Despite the Scharpers' efforts to resolve the situation amicably (including an offer to fully pay for the maintenance of the tree), the neighbour rejected the opinion of expert certified arborists and took the couple to court. The Scharpers retained celebrated human rights and environmental lawyer, Clayton Ruby, and saved their maple tree. Their case also achieved a strong, unprecedented protection for ALL shared trees in Ontario. According to the landmark ruling by the Ontario Superior Court, it is now a criminal act to destroy a shared tree without the consent of a co-owner. Prior to this ruling, thousands of mature trees were arbitrarily cut down by one owner, leaving the other owner with little recourse and generating very harmful impacts on the shrinking urban canopies of many cities.
The Scharpers’s neighbor has recently filed an Appeal to overturn the Ruling. A reversal of the Ruling would be devastating for mature, healthy trees. But support of the Ruling at the Appeal level would create an even stronger legal precedent for trees not only in Ontario, but also Canada as a whole. The Scharpers have spent a substantial amount of their own money in court fees. They are asking for help to defend this unprecedented pro-Tree Ruling.
The Ruling is so important for trees in Ontario and Canada, and will impact the future and health of Canadians for generations to come. Please help raise funds to pay for the costs of defending the Ruling.For mailing address please contact Hilary Cunningham Scharper: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Thank you for your contribution and/or words of support!
For more information on the Scharpers’ case visit