FOCA Elert ~ late October 2023

Make sure you see all the updates -

you're at the end when you see this image banner again:

Last Chance to Register!

FOCA Fall Seminar for Associations

Saturday, November 4, 2023 by webinar (9am-noon) - register to join us for "Understanding the Changing State of our Lakes" with our feature speaker, Dr. John Smol, and a range of environmental updates from FOCA and our colleagues. Read the Event Agenda (download PDF, 2 pages)

Register now for this webinar!

NOTE: registration will close on Friday, November 3rd at 3:00pm so we can manually confirm all registrants & send out the Zoom link to participate the following morning.

FOCA's Platinum Level Sponsor

our partners in risk management & administrators of

the FOCA Association Insurance Program and CottageFirst

sponsors support our work, please support them

FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living

Cold Weather CO Safety

With cold weather in the near-term forecast, we've reached the time of year when heating systems get turned on again. Remember: if you have a gas, oil, propane or wood-burning heating system or appliance, you need carbon monoxide (CO) alarms! It's up to each of us to protect our families from the "silent killer" because CO is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that can only be detected with a CO alarm. Don't have CO alarms? Get some. Already have CO alarms? Check they haven't reached their expiry date (usually 10 years), and remember to change the batteries, just like a smoke alarm. Learn more and get links to additional resources on our webpage:

Short-Term Rental

The Federal Government is considering measures to encourage municipalities to limit the supply of short-term rentals (STR) in an effort to increase housing availability. In turn, British Columbia recently announced a May 2024 end-date for operators of multiple rental units in many communities, and Ontario municipalities are moving ahead on several fronts to license and limit STR. Get links to these, and other recent news on FOCA's webpage:

partner event: Be Safe Around Cold Water

Would you know how to survive an accidental cold water immersion, or how to help someone else who may have become hypothermic? Our partners at the Canadian Safe Boating Council invite first responders and concerned citizens to register for an upcoming training webinar about cold water safety in later November. Learn more and register here:

FOCA's Gold Level Sponsors

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FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government

Salt Impacts

In early October, 2023 over 100 interested parties including FOCA gathered at the offices of Landscape Ontario to discuss salt issues: from ecological implications to infrastructure decline, safety and liability concerns.

FOCA will continue to support the efforts of our partners in academia, industry, and environmental non-governmental organizations to make the case for action to reduce the impacts of salt in our precious freshwaters, and of course through our monitoring and tracking of chloride levels via the Lake Partner Program (download 43 page PDF report; see page 9 for an explanation of chloride). Learn more about salt impacts on our webpage:

Transport Canada Updates at ON-RBAC

In early October, FOCA participated in the Ontario Recreational Boating Advisory Committee (ON-RBAC) meeting of Transport Canada (TC), where FOCA currently sits as the Committee Vice Chair. While we are still waiting for news of proposed mandatory PFD (personal floatation device) wear, there have been developments on several TC topics, including steps toward modernizing the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORR), Pleasure Craft Licensing Fees, and a new consultation and survey related to "Long-term Anchoring". Links and related information are posted on our webpage:

Great Lakes Environmental Investments

In early October, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced an investment of more than $2.7 million over three years, in 24 projects that will advance Great Lakes priorities under the Freshwater Action Plan. The projects focus on "Great Lakes Areas of Concern" including the Bay of Quinte (west of Kingston, at the northern end of Prince Edward County), to address high levels of environmental harm from pollution. Lower Trent Conservation Authority will receive funds to work with rural landowners and implement best management practices to reduce soil erosion and phosphorus loading. Read coverage from Water Canada.

FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers

Asian Carps

Register now to attend FOCA’s 2023 Fall Seminar on November 4th, which will include a featured presentation from our partners at Fisheries and Oceans Canada explaining how to identify Asian carps, how to report sightings in Canadian waters, and how the Incident Command System is used in response to verified detections of Asian carps.

image: map of Grass Carp captures in Canada, from the Asian Carp Canada website


All our volunteers' 2023 water samples have been returned from across the province for the IsampleON program (Invasive Species Awareness and Monitoring Program for Lakes Education in Ontario). Thank you volunteers! We look forward to the eDNA testing results, which are still several months away. In the meantime, read more about eDNA in this FOCA Fact Sheet (download PDF, 2 pages) and read about the program here:

Invasive Phragmites

Our members have actively worked on local projects across the province to manage invasive Phragmites this season. Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers involved in fighting the spread! Keep sending us pictures of your community efforts. Phragmites is a very tall and fast-growing perennial grass that creates ecological dead-zones and impacts at-risk species. Learn more about the plant and the Green Shovels Collaborative that is funding these management projects:

image: work underway earlier this season at Eagle Lake, Parry Sound

Lake Partner Program

Thanks to all our Lake Partner Program volunteers for their work this year to take water samples and secchi disk (water clarity) readings at their waterbodies. Gavin Vance, FOCA's Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator, is digging through the stack of mail that contains your end-of-season reports! This information will be added to the long-term data set that helps us to track trends in water quality across Ontario. Come to the FOCA Fall Seminar on November 4th to hear about the program, and learn more on our webpage:

FOCA's Silver Level Sponsors

sponsors support our work, please support them

Partner Updates & Regional Notices

partner webinar: Lake of the Woods

November 8, 2023 - with this year's cyanobacterial bloom on Lake of the Woods on-track to be one of the most severe since 2002, the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation (LOTWWSF) continues its Ask an Expert webinar series with a "Review of the 2023 Field Season for Rainy - Lake of the Woods" with three expert speakers talking about their field work on stream sediments, algae toxins, and wild rice. Learn more and register here.

image: Dr. Adam Heathcote, boating through a bloom of blue-green algae on Big Traverse Bay in 2018 (image courtesy Dr. Mark Edlund in LOTWWSF October e-news)

upcoming event: Fall Cottage Life Show

November 10-12, 2023 at the International Centre, Mississauga. Join us at the annual Fall Cottage Life Show! FOCA will be there with our colleagues from Cade Associates Insurance Brokers, and Peter Lillico is speaking about cottage succession each day on the Main Stage. See you there!

partner webinar: Septic Systems 101

Thursday, November 30, 2023 - the next Drinking Water Wise Webinar in the series from Quinte Conservation will be "Septic Systems 101" featuring Sandy Bos, a Building Inspector with the Township of Muskoka Lakes talking about types of septic systems, management, issues and their potential effect on water quality. Register here, and bring your questions for the Q&A session!

image: Quinte Conservation

event recap: OOWA Regional Meeting

As proud members of OOWA (the Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association), FOCA was pleased to participate in their most recent regional meeting in Peterborough on October 26, 2023. There was a thoughtful panel discussion about the role of regulators, inspectors and installers in ensuring that onsite wastewater systems continue to function as intended to protect the environment and human health. Learn more about septic systems on our webpage, and get a link to OOWA's "Find an Expert" map:

event recap: Latornell Conservation Symposium

October 23-24, 2023 - FOCA was pleased to attend Latornell earlier this week in Burlington. This year's theme was "Changing Climates: Our Watershed Moment." The Latornell Conservation Symposium is one of Ontario’s premier annual environmental events, providing a forum for practitioners, policy makers, non-government organizations, academics and businesses to network and discuss the challenges and opportunities in Ontario’s conservation field.

image: Terry Rees of FOCA with Angela Coleman, General Manager of Conservation Ontario, at the 2023 Latornell event

event recap: Lake Links 2023

October 21, 2023 - FOCA is a proud funder of, and was a participant at, the annual gathering of eastern Ontario citizens and scientists at Lake Links in Perth. This year's program was titled, "Hooked on Habitat: Sustainable Fisheries for the Future."

event recap: Lake Networking Group

October 11, 2023 - FOCA was pleased to participate with our many association members and eastern Ontario Conservation Authority partners in the digital Fall meeting of the Lake Networking Group. Presentations included an overview about Source Water Protection in Ontario, and updates from each of the participants about their local initiatives. If you missed the meeting, you can still review the event recording.

FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations

Association Member Benefits

Membership in FOCA brings your Association many benefits! Here's one that our member groups highly value:

The FOCA Association Insurance Program is available to all our Member Associations at a discount, and participation in this program includes access to a free Legal Helpline for your Association. The insurance is underwritten by Aviva Canada, and the program is administered exclusively by Cade Associates Insurance Brokers. Coverage options are available for Lake Associations, Road Associations, Land Ownership Associations or Trusts. Call 416-234-9980 or visit for details.


Get more information about all your FOCA member benefits on our website:

FOCA Achievement Award - last chance to apply

Nominations are due by October 30, 2023! Don't miss your chance to nominate your great FOCA member Association for this annual award that celebrates successes and best practices. The award recipient will be announced in the new year, with the award presentation at the next FOCA Annual General Meeting (save the date: Saturday March 2, 2024 in Toronto and by webinar). For inspiring stories of past recipients, the nomination form, and more information, visit our webpage:

Celebrating 60 Years of FOCA

There are many ways YOU can contribute to FOCA's 60th anniversary celebrations:

  1. submit pictures to our archival photo project
  2. make a donation today to support the future of FOCA's work on behalf of waterfront Ontario
  3. PSSST! Pass it on. Be part of our campaign to refer a friend or an association to become a new FOCA Member, and you could win a prize this year.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Volunteers like you make this organization strong.

Speaking of our archival photo project, here are two more submissions, which are variations on the theme "what could possibly go wrong?" (and definitely not in line with modern boating safety standards! Please don't write us about it...):

Top: Craig Judson in the water with a chair on a circular board, and John Tompkins in the boat, getting ready for some towing tricks in 1959, submitted by Craig Judson of Lake St. Peter in Hastings Highlands.

Bottom: Murray Chown showing us how it's done, being towed while seated on a chair propped on a window shutter, ca.1958, submitted by his grandson Bruce Patterson of Hurds Lake, south of Renfrew.

Keep those great pictures coming - they make our day. Review other images we've featured in Elerts this year, then use the link to upload your own and tell us all about it!

Final Thoughts

With weather this warm, a young man's mind turns to thoughts of leaving the floating dock in until November ... or so it seems.

Enjoy the last days of October, wherever you are!

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years.
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