FOCA Elert - November 2020
FOCA banner Winter Birch
A message from the Executive Director

FOCA's Terry Rees tells you about the featured topics and speakers for the upcoming FOCA Fall Seminar (more about that, below) and sends a 'shout out' to our partners at NALMS. Click to watch Terry's video message:

Update on FOCA's Fall Seminar 2020 - Learning to Pivot

FOCA Fall Seminar for Lake Associations
Saturday, November 21, 2020 by webinar (9am to 12pm)


Join FOCA for a webinar event packed with cottage country updates and hot topics including:


>rural and northern broadband, featuring the Honorable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Rural Economic Development, and Dr. Helen Hambly of the University of Guelph and the Regional and Rural Broadband project


>Hydro One speaking about the Ontario Energy Board's elimination of the Seasonal Rate Class, and expected impacts on your electricity bill


>first-hand accounts from your fellow lake associations about the ways they successfully pivoted their association engagement efforts this year, in light of physical-distancing requirements due to the pandemic


>a review of the 2020 boating season from Sgt. Dave Moffatt, the Provincial Marine Coordinator of the OPP


>association statistics from FOCA's 2020 member survey and a preview from your Board of Directors about FOCA's 2020-2023 Strategic Plan update 


>your FOCA membership benefits explained! 


Webinar registration is $30 for FOCA members ($45 for non-members)
       visit the event webpage or REGISTER before 5pm on November 20th.

NOTE: all registrants will receive a link to re-view the event recording; if you can't attend during the event hours, you can watch later at your convenience. 
FOCA's Gold-level Sponsors


CottageLINK Rental Management
FOCA's sponsors support our work; please, support them! 
Advocacy, Policy & Program Updates

Seasonal Rate Class changes moving forward
On October 15, 2020, Hydro One submitted its most recent report to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) on the elimination of the Seasonal Rate Class. The report demonstrates that the elimination of the Seasonal Class results in only a small benefit (-$5/month) for some customers, at the expense of large negative impacts (+$54/month) for other seasonal customers. The whole report, related information and perspectives from FOCA can be found here: 

To be kept up to date on the electricity market, and what you can do to make your voice heard on the issue, please sign up to FOCA's new Electricity E-news.

Environmental Assessment Act
FOCA is among the organizations that signed a November 9th letter to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, requesting amendments to the proposed list of projects that are subject to the Environmental Assessment Act (part of Bill 197). Get details, and read the letter, on our webpage:

Algonquin Land Claim Update
Ontario is currently engaging in the next phase of consultations regarding provincial land matters related to the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) treaty negotiations, which are expected to be completed in 2023. The public can comment until December 10, 2020. FOCA has posted related information here: 
Healthy Watersheds

Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group Report released
The Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group (MWAG), established by the Ontario Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks in August 2019, has released their report on issues and priorities for protecting the watershedFOCA contributed to their consultations, recommending the Province consider an integrated watershed management approach as a model for use across Ontario. Download the extensive 2020 report from the MWAG by clicking here (PDF, 76 pages)

A New Canada Water Agency
The Government of Canada is creating a new Canada Water Agency to work together with the provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, local authorities, scientists and others to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean and well-managed. Environment and Climate Change Canada wants to hear from Canadians: your thoughts and ideas about the role a new Canada Water Agency could play in protecting our waters. To participate in one of the active discussions in the consultation, click here.

First evidence from wood ash project
In late October, AshMuskoka released "the first proof" that local application of firewood ash can provide a benefit to sugar maple trees in the test zone. Read Dr. Norman Yan's post on the topic, here

Protecting Lands and Waters 
Multiple stressors on the Great Lakes ecosystem
The International Joint Commission's (IJC) Science Advisory Board (SAB) recently identified seven priority "stressors" on the Great Lakes: climate change, fish harvest, habitat loss, invasive species, nutrients, pathogens and toxic chemicals. They then took a look to try and understand how combinations of these stressors impact one another. Read more, and link to their recent webinar (see October 2020 post) from FOCA's Great Lakes webpage:
FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors

Cottage Life

Rural Living

Emergency Response Update
FOCA remains concerned about the state of emergency response in rural and northern Ontario, and recently followed up with the Attorney General, Minister Doug Downey, as we continue to await word about any changes to emergency response stemming from the Coroner's 2018 report into a 2013 fatal boating accident and 911 response at Lake Wanapitei. Read more:

Registering your Boat with Transport Canada 
The Canadian Marine Advisory Council continues to consider changes to the Pleasure Craft License (PCL), to better identify boat owners for emergency purposes, and to track abandoned vessels. Currently, PCL are valid for 10 years but TC is considering a shorter (e.g., 5 year) renewal period. Stay tuned.

Shifts in Seasonal Usage due to COVID-19?
FOCA conducted a survey in October about changing usage of cottage properties in 2020, as a result of the pandemic. Overall, FOCA's survey respondents from across the province suggested that summer 2020 cottage country property usage was up by 7%, and use during the 2020-2021 "off-season" is projected to be up by as much as 35%. This makes for busy waterfronts and cottage communities overall. We know that longer time spent in our rural communities creates some additional economic stimulus, and may affect how and when local businesses operate, and the provision of municipal services. For more about waterfront property owners and rural economic links, see FOCA's 2018 study.

The Muskoka Economic Recovery Task Force (of which FOCA is a member) recently undertook a separate study of seasonal residents across the District of Muskoka, asking about seasonal residents' plans for Muskoka property usage during the week and weekends this winter. See that information here.

Real Estate Impacts
Both usage of our waterfront homes, and home sales are up. For example, the Lakelands Association of Realtors reports that, through September 2020, residential waterfront sales totalled a record 1,919 units over the first 9 months of 2020, an increase of 44.4% over the same period in 2019! They also reported the median price for waterfront property sales in their region in September 2020 was up 31.4% over the previous year. See their market information here.
Association Governance

Virtual AGMs - timeline extended
Ontario has extended to May 31, 2021 the period for corporations to hold a virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM), even if your bylaws do not specify this option. However, if you delayed your association AGM earlier this year due to COVID-19, and your association is incorporated, you still need to move ahead to hold an AGM as soon as possible. FOCA members can login for more details, including links to additional information, from our webpage:

NOTE: you will need your member web login to access these materials. Don't have, or recall, your login? Email us and we'll reply during business hours.

ONCA - an important update
FOCA has received an important update about the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA), which still has not come into effect to replace the Ontario Corporations Act. According to Non-Profit Law Ontario, the government has passed a motion, effective January 1, 2021, that will change how ONCA would affect incorporated organizations with more than one category of members (e.g., some voting, some non-voting). Link to the details, here:
Regional Notices & Partner Events

Fall Cottage Life Show
November 20-22, 2020 For the first time, the Cottage Life Show is going virtual, and you can attend for free. Get details, and your ticket, here: 

IJC invites public feedback on high water impacts
The International Joint Commission's (IJC) Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee and partners are looking to gather input from property owners who have been directly affected by high water levels on the Great Lakes or along the St. Lawrence River shoreline over 2019 or 2020. Participate in a voluntary online questionnaire, and upload photos to illustrate your reports. Get information, and the survey link, here:

County considers seasonal conversions
The October 14th meeting of the County of Haliburton Council included a controversial planning proposal to amend the official plan to lay out formal requirements for the conversion of seasonal cottages into year-round dwellings. FOCA is watching developments carefully. Read news coverage in the Minden Times.

Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed event
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 9:00am-noon: the Fourth Binational Lake Association Network Event for the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed will be held by webinar. Click to download information. (PDF, 1 page). Register by November 19 by sending an email

Transportation survey: northeastern Ontario rail corridor
The province invites public input about your transportation needs along the northeastern Ontario rail corridor between Toronto, North Bay and Cochrane/Timmins. Participate by November 20th. Details and the survey link are here:
FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors

Canadian Canoe Museum


Dock in a Box

Recent Events

Lake Links 2020
October 24, 2020 - FOCA was an event sponsor and a feature speaker at this year's Lake Links event, themed: "Effective Engagement for Positive Action."  
Recordings of the day's presentations are available here:

The Lake Links event also included the 
presentation of the Gord Rodgers Memorial Award; congratulations to long-time FOCA friends Karen and Murray Hunt for your outstanding contributions and exceptional efforts to ensure a healthy future for our freshwater! 

Georgian Bay water level symposium
October 24, 2020. FOCA participated in this event that was co-hosted by Georgian Bay Association and Georgian Bay Forever, bringing together scientists, policy makers, engineers and academics on the issue of fluctuating water levels in the region. Get information and links to the presentations from the GBA website:
FOCA Achievement Award for Associations 

It's time to apply!
It has been an unusual year, which is an ever better reason to find and celebrate the successes of the lake association community.

Nominate YOUR association for the next FOCA Achievement Award to be presented at FOCA's Annual General Meeting next March.

This Award celebrates volunteer lake association successes, and encourages everyone to share knowledge, ideas and best practices. FOCA has created a form to help you identify your association's recent successes. 

Download the Award Nomination Form, and apply as soon as possible:
FOCA's Operations Continue 

In light of the ongoing pandemic, FOCA staff continue to work away from our Peterborough office, to physically distance. We carry on serving our members during regular business hours. Our contact information is here. You can still leave phone messages, although email inquiries may be addressed more rapidly. 

Help FOCA Reach 50K
We are proud of our Elert subscription list, which is over 10,000 strong, and growing. 
Will you help us achieve our next ambitious goal of increasing that to 50,000 subscribers? We know there are lots of other folks out there who love waterfront Ontario as much as we do. Please encourage fellow members and waterfront neighbours to sign up for these monthly e-news updates. You could share this message:

The "Elert" is FOCA's free monthly e-newsletter, filled with cottage country updates on waterfront living, environmental and policy developments and much, much more. Get on the Elert list today:  

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
the voice of the waterfront for over half a century    |    705-749-3622    | 
Stay Connected with FOCA:
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTube

Didn't receive this message in your Inbox? Join over 10,000 Elert subscribers:

FOCA believes everyone has the right to hear about issues that affect waterfront Ontario. 
Those who have an existing relationship with FOCA may receive email from us, based on principles of Express or Implied Consent in Canadian Anti Spam legislation. 
You can unsubscribe from Elerts at any time, using the 'Safe Unsubscribe' link below.