FOCA Elert - June 2020

Ongoing cottage country updates re: COVID-19

Short-term rentals in Ontario may resume (with conditions), the US/Canada border remains closed (more on that below), and the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation has published a new Rural Insight paper titled, 'Escaping' to Rural Canada during the Pandemic. 

Find links to these news items, plus resources you can share with others at your waterbody about how to be safe in these unusual times, here:

As we head into summer, here's your 90 second update from FOCA's Executive Director:
FOCA Staying in touch at the lake 2020
FOCA Staying in touch at the lake 2020
Canada/U.S. Border remains closed for cottagers
On June 16th the Prime Minister extended the ban on Americans travelling to their Canadian properties until at least July 21FOCA's inquiries to our elected officials confirm Canada's direction that "this decision is required to keep people in both of our countries safe". The ban on non-essential travel covers the land border between the two countries, as well as air, sea and rail travel into Canada. There are very limited exceptions, outlined by the Canada Border Services Agency.

American property owners are encouraged to speak with their waterfront neighbours or service providers to get their property checked in their absence.
Water Management Webinar

Register now to attend FOCA's next Member Webinar, taking place on Wednesday, June 24th from 2:00pm - 3:00pm.

Understanding water quantity management in Ontario: A snapshot
Join FOCA and partners representing the Ontario Surface Water Monitoring Centre and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, to learn what the Province does (and does not do) throughout the seasons to manage water quantity, and how water information is shared with partner agencies and the public.

This free event is open to FOCA Members and our annual Supporters; please specify your FOCA affiliation on the registration form. After your registration is confirmed, you will receive the webinar link for the event.

Important Note: pre-register by noon  on the 24th at the latest, to ensure we have time to confirm and reply to you.  Click here to register for this event.
FOCA's Gold-level Sponsors


CottageLINK Rental Management
Advocacy, Policy & Program Updates

Oversight restored within the EBR
The Province of Ontario has revoked the regulation that had suspended key provisions of the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). FOCA welcomes this decision to reinstate the important public oversight contained in the EBR. Learn more, and see the letter to the Province calling for this reinstatement, signed by FOCA and partners in April, here:

LPP Lab services remain on hold
The shutdown of most government facilities, including the laboratory at the Dorset Environmental Science Centre, has meant that Lake Partner Program (LPP) water samples will not likely be analyzed in 2020. We are anxious for the return of the full program in 2021, but in the meantime we would like to remind our volunteers not to sample, or send in your samples to DESC. 

You can continue to collect Secchi clarity readings as you normally would. These can be provided to the DESC for their records, once the staff returns to working on-site. 

Many thanks to all our LPP volunteers for your ongoing dedication and significant contributions to our understanding of the state of Ontario's waters! 

Volunteer perspectives on citizen science
Ryerson University's Environmental Applied Science and Management Program is seeking Lake Partner Program (LPP) volunteers to participate in a research study about citizen science and trust in science. The purpose of the study is to gain more insight into volunteer's perspectives and opinions about citizen science methods, how participating in water monitoring relates to trust in science, and the impact that COVID-19 is having on volunteer opinions about lake sampling.

FOCA moderated a session at the 2019 GLEON conference (Bracebridge, Ontario)
This research is being conducted by Edward Millar, a Ryerson PhD student with research interests in aquatic citizen science. This study is part of a co-created research project involving Terry Rees (FOCA), which was initiated at the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) Conference in Hunstville, Ontario, in November 2019. 

Whether you are a relatively new LPP participant or a "veteran", to participate in the research or find out more about this study, contact: 
Electricity News
Ontario is extending its COVID-19 residential electricity rate relief for another five months, but has changed the fixed price from 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour to 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour. Follow this subject, here:    

Asian carps
Great Lakes members: Are you looking for material for your next newsletter? Download and share the information in FOCA's factsheet about Asian carps, available here:  
Thank you for being part of the fight to prevent the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes and Ontario's inland lakes!
Lake Environments

Lake Ontario water level advisory group
image source: Transboundary Waters
The International Joint Commission (IJC) announced in late May that it has appointed a public advisory group to help identify potential improvements to the regulation of 
Lake Ontario outflows . Find links to this, and other Great Lakes news, here:

July will be Lakes Appreciation Month
For the past 22 years, each July the North American Lake Management Society, of which FOCA is a member, has celebrated lakes and their importance to all of us.  This year students created posters on the theme. Find out more here:
Lake Associations: 
consider holding your own Kids' Poster contest this July! This is a community-building event that can easily be managed "virtually." Remember to get parental permission to share children's names and the images created. Adapt a permission form  like this sample from FOCA.
FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors


Cottage Life

Event Recap: FOCA Member Webinar

Cottage Succession Planning
We had a busy webinar with lots of questions for estate lawyer Peter Lillico on June 3, 2020. 
 The topic was: "Keeping the 'Family' in the Family Cottage"   and the session provided a planning introduction of the legal, tax, and family issues to be addressed in your plan. 

This was a live event, and was not recorded. However, you can access DVDs on the topic of cottage succesion, available from FOCA's webpage:
Safety & Risk Management 

Lyme disease awareness
Lyme disease is a potentially serious infection that you can get if you're bitten by an infected blacklegged tick (also called a deer tick). 
Public Health Ontario has released their 2020 map of estimated risk areas for Lyme disease.  Link to the updated map, and find information you can share with your lake association, here: 

Fire safety never gets old
While MNRF Fire Restrictions may not currently be in effect, FOCA reminds members to continue to watch for municipal Fire Bans, and to follow safe fire practices at all times. Review and share this tested-and-true video that FOCA created with our partners a few years ago:
FOCA FireSmart Video (1min)
FOCA FireSmart Video (1min)
FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors

Canadian Canoe Museum


Dock in a Box

FOCA receives Award

FOCA was pleased to receive an Environmental Award from the Friends of the Tay Watershed in the category "contributions to water resources at the provincial, national or international level." 

The in-person meeting that had been scheduled for late March in Perth, took place instead as a digital event on June 4th. Terry Rees, Executive Director of FOCA, accepted the award on behalf of our organization.
Regional Notices & Event Updates

TC Energy Pumped Storage Update
Members on Georgian Bay near Meaford should be aware that project proponent TC Energy has made a number of design changes to their proposed pumped storage project, which are intended to address concerns raised through their initial consultations. You can find more here: 

LakeSmart 2020 on Lake of the Woods
This summer marks the 10th anniversary of the LakeSmart program of FOCA member group, the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA). Find out more about how they've adapted their traditional "dock" stewardship visits into a new format, here:

Muskoka Economic Recovery Task Force
FOCA has been invited to sit on the new Muskoka Economic Recovery Task Force, which was created by the District of Muskoka to help ensure strong economic outcomes for Muskoka, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force will convene for the first time in late June
In related regional news, Muskoka r esidents interested in learning what local businesses are being told about re-opening and operating safely can register for a  June 18th webinar from 3-4 pm featuring local Public Health experts:

image source: GBLT Conservation Quest webpage
Georgian Bay Kids' Conservation Quest
This year the Georgian Bay Land Trust is bringing Conservation Quest to you at home. They have designed a series of new activities that kids aged 8 to 12 can complete throughout the summer, on their own or with an adult's help. Get all the details, and sign up for the weekly Quest email notices, here:

The Impact of COVID-19 on Eastern Ontario's economy
Our precious towns and villages have experienced significant economic harm these past months; please help to support the local economy by (safely and as directed) contributing to your local businesses.  Read a new report from a meeting of the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council, here:
Materials for your Association Newsletters

In addition to FOCA's ongoing work on behalf of waterfront Ontario, our members have access to several specific benefits, offers and discounts from our partners and corporate sponsors. Review member benefits, here:
Member Associations: Do all your members know about their FOCA benefits?  Use a reminder "ad" on your association website, or an upcoming Newsletter. 

Could you use a short article about the value FOCA brings to your members?  Contact the office for a draft article and/or a copy of the ad at the side.
FOCA's Operations Continue 

In light of the ongoing pandemic, FOCA continues to abide by the Ontario government order related to the closure of non-essential businesses, and has transitioned our staff away from our Peterborough office to physically distance. 

We are carrying on serving our members digitally, during regular business hours.  Our contact information is here.  You can still leave phone messages, although email  inquiries  may be addressed more rapidly. 

Staying in Touch
Please encourage fellow members and waterfront neighbours to provide their consent to receive monthly Elert messages like this, from FOCA. You can circulate this call-to-action:

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FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
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