FOCA Elert ~ April 2022
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FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living
Spring Freshet Safety
The freshet (the Spring thaw of snow and ice in our watersheds) is underway. Quick melts and heavy rain can result in flooding, as ground that is still frozen cannot absorb the moisture.

Living at the water's edge means having a front row seat for fluctuating water levels, especially during the Spring melt. Be prepared. Get links to preparedness tips as well as emergency messages, watches and warnings from FOCA's webpage:

image: Twitter retweet of April 10th @ONresources: "April showers bring May flowers, but they can also cause seasonal flooding."

Those who live in an area with a Conservation Authority (CA) may want to sign up for local alerts. In related news, the Ausable Bayfield and Maitland Valley conservation authorities reported last week that saturated conditions are making some bluff areas along Lake Huron prone to collapse. Residents are discouraged from walking shoreline areas below bluffs, and are encouraged to check shoreline property when possible and safe, to look for signs of erosion and to alert the local conservation authority of bent or leaning trees, or significant cracks running parallel to the shoreline.
Forest Fire/Outdoor Burning
Ontario's forest fire season began April 1. Although there may still be snow in some areas of the province, Ontario’s Outdoor Burning Regulations are now in effect until October 31. Last year's fire season saw nearly twice as many fires as 2020. We hope this year will be less damaging. Learn the rules of outdoor burning, and pay close attention to local Fire Bans. Also: help those who are new to cottage country learn the ropes, for the good of all our communities. Get important links and tips worth sharing, here:
Home/Cottage Fire Safety
You should also consider your personal fire preparedness. The Ontario Fire Marshal reminds everyone: if you didn't change the batteries in smoke (and carbon monoxide) detectors when we changed to Daylight Savings Time two weeks ago, IT IS TIME NOW! Make this an essential part of your annual cottage opening routine.
Cottage Country Price Escalation Continues
Royal LePage released their annual Spring Recreational Property Report, and the figures are staggering. The aggregate price of a single-family home in "Canada's recreational market" is forecast to increase by 13% in 2022, to $640,710. This follows a 26.6% increase last year. Get the details for your area in a Royal LePage blog about the report.
Property Taxation Updates
In late March, the province of Ontario raised the foreign homebuyer tax to 20% and applied it provincewide. (It was previously 15%, and just in the Greater Golden Horseshoe).

In other taxation news, FOCA has received an update from our legal partners at Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) about the Underused Housing Tax (UHT; went into force January 1, 2022), and whether it will apply to vacation or recreational properties owned by non-Canadian citizens, or non-permanent residents.

Get a link to the foreign homebuyer tax update, and read BLG's response about the UHT on FOCA's webpage:
host a local session: FOCA Cottage Succession Seminars
Did you miss estate lawyer Peter Lillico on the main stage of the Spring Cottage Life Show last weekend? Contact FOCA if your FOCA Member Association is interested in hosting a virtual Cottage Succession Webinar this year! These digital events are free to FOCA members, and participation includes access to the presentation materials. Choose the introductory talk, or: a "deep dive" into taxes, trusts, cottage sharing agreements and more. FOCA and estate lawyer Peter Lillico have been teaching families about cottage succession planning for the past decade.
PFD Labelling Standards Update
A North American standards group has recently revised personal flotation device (PFD) labelling, in order to harmonize American and Canadian regulations and standards. Learn more in this article posted by Boat Blurb.
Transport Canada updates at ON-RBAC
In other boating safety news, during the Ontario Recreational Boating Advisory Council meeting on April 12, 2022, FOCA heard updates from Transport Canada about their ongoing study of PFD usage to consider any proposed regulations such as mandatory use. Transport Canada also confirmed that changes are coming to the Pleasure Craft Operator Card for PWC (personal water craft) renters under the age of 21. Get details and related links on FOCA's webpage:
Thank you to FOCA's Technology Sponsor:
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government
Floating Containers updates
On March 28, 2022 - FOCA and our concerned members met with representatives of the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to provide background and feedback about modified shipping containers being used as floating accommodations, and understand their current designation as "camping on water" under the Public Lands Act. Learn about the meeting, review questions, and find out how to submit your own input on the subject to the Ministry by April 19, 2022 via links on FOCA's webpage:

image above: slide from presentation to Severn Township by Gloucester Pool Cottagers' Association
Transport Canada considers boat noise limits
The Decibel Coalition which is a national coalition that has been working since 2019 to address concerns over excessively loud boats. Transport Canada has now launched an online "Let's Talk" web portal on the topic, and is receiving public comments on the issue until May 13, 2022. You are also encouraged to write your MP(s). Get background, a link to the web portal, talking points for your response, and a link to generate a draft letter to your MP, here:
MNDMNRF permits & services going digital
If you have licences, permits, and/or authorizations relating to natural resources and forestry, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (MNDMNRF) wants to hear from you. There are two ways to participate:
  • in a facilitated interview at your convenience and, in as little as one hour, provide information that shapes future serivces. Send an email to with the subject line: 'Service Modernization: Volunteer for User Research Interviews' and specify which approvals, licences, or permits you are interested in commenting on. Volunteers selected for interviews will be offered a $60 gift card as a thank you.
  • take 5 minutes to fill out the Natural Resources and Forestry Modernization Survey by May 3, 2022 (ignore the March 31st deadline on the survey webpage). Your information will help provide key insights into client needs.
Rural Connectivity
Telecom developments continue in several regions across south-central Ontario cottage country. See recent news and updates on FOCA's webpage:
Short-Term Rental: municipal consideration
April 7, 2022 – FOCA attended a virtual public meeting held by the Township of Douro-Dummer intended to allow ratepayers, residents and stakeholders to voice their opinion on the possible use of regulations of short-term rentals in the Township. Many municipalities are currently discussing how to manage the increase in short-term rentals in their areas.

FOCA continues to post information on this important topic here:
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FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers
Apply now to IsampleON 2.0
FOCA is very pleased to announce that the Invasive Species Awareness and Monitoring Program for Lakes Education Ontario (IsampleON) is continuing in 2022! FOCA will be selecting an additional 20 lakes this year, using volunteer citizen scientists (that's you!) to help collect water samples from selected waterbodies, which will be analyzed by our partners at the Invasive Species Centre for invasive mussels and spiny waterflea. Learn more, access the quick application form, and reply by May 6, 2022:
upcoming webinar: Protecting our Source Water
Wednesday, April 20, 2022 (11am - 12pm)
FOCA's Executive Director Terry Rees will be a featured speaker at the upcoming Blue Economy Series webinar on the topic "Protecting our Source Water". Get details and reserve your spot here. FOCA has been working on what has been called “source water protection” since FOCA was founded in the 1960’s. We pursue this goal by advocating for strong policies to protect our valuable water sources, and by encouraging the stewardship of Ontario’s waters by every individual. FOCA’s Executive Director, Terry Rees, has been intimately involved with water initiatives for over 20 years, as a member of a Source Water Protection Committee and as a contributor to water policy development, including the Ontario Clean Water Act, 2006
Lake Partner Program
The sampling season approaches for the volunteers in the Lake Partner Program of water quality monitoring across Ontario! Please note that FOCA has been informed by our science partners at the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks that the 2021 results have not yet been released. As soon as we have word, FOCA will post the information on our webpage (the link is below).

Are you interested to volunteer as a water sampler on your waterbody this year? Learn more, and complete and return the Volunteer Information Form available for download from FOCA's webpage:
upcoming partner webinar: Invasive Species: Lake Ontario's Most Un-Wanted
April 21, 2022 at 12:00pm EDT - A webinar about invasive species prevention and management, with Canadian and U.S. experts speaking about invasive species in Lake Ontario, why they're a problem, and what steps are being taken to prevent their introduction and spread in the Basin. Get details & register here.
Priority Threat Management
Earlier this month, FOCA attended the WWF-Canada and University of British Columbia’s kickoff meeting to discuss Priority Threat Management for Species Recovery and Climate Benefits in Ontario. Priority Threat Management (PTM) is a conservation decision-support framework that incorporates the costs, benefits, and feasibilities of conservation actions to determine priority strategies that will help the greatest number of species within a given region. The PTM approach helps to facilitate an ecosystem approach to conservation, as it prioritizes conservation actions rather than individual species, to maximize recovery. You can download an overview from WWF-Canada about PTM by clicking here. (PDF, 32 MB)
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Partner Updates & Regional Notices
event recap: Spring Cottage Life Show
April 7-10, 2022 - FOCA's Terry Rees attended the Spring Show in Mississauga where he connected with old friends and new. Special thanks to our partners at Cottage Life for spreading the word to Be #WakeAware by sharing the important one-minute video on the Main Stage between speakers! Click the image at the side to enlarge.
last call: Public Comment - Plan 2014
Public comment on the Report on Phase 1 of the expedited review of Plan 2014 (regulating Lake Ontario outflows) is invited until April 18, 2022. The feedback received in this public comment period will be considered by the International Joint Commission, and will inform its own findings and recommendations that will be submitted to the governments of Canada and the United States. Learn more, including how to share your input, on FOCA's webpage:
webinar: So you want to improve your property?
Tuesday April 19, 2022 (5:00 to 6:30pm)
This webinar is being offered by the Muskoka Lakes Association, and while the permit and by-law information will be specific to properties in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, other property owners can benefit from the general information about rights and environmental responsibilities when planning property improvements. Register here.
event: Boathouses - Public Meeting
Thursday April 21, 2022 (9:30am) - the Township of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen is holding a virtual and in-person public meeting to consider a proposed Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment to prohibit the development of boathouses on Jack('s) Lake. Pre-registration to attend is required. Get details here.
event: Long Point Basin - Explore the Outdoors 2022
Wednesday April 30, 2022 (7:00 to 9:30pm)
The Long Point Basin Land Trust (Lake Erie) has a handful of spots remaining for this in-person event describing 11 different species of frogs and two species of toads found in Ontario, including a short nature reserve walk. Register here.
Kenora Highway widening
The provincial government has awarded a contract to widen the first section of the Trans-Canada Highway — Highway 17 — from two to four lanes between Kenora and the Manitoba-Ontario border. Read the news in a late March posting by Northern Ontario

image: Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford and Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney on Highway 17 , via Northern Ontario
Planning for the future of the Trent-Severn Waterway
Parks Canada has launched their online consultation platform for public comment on their draft Management Plan for the TSW. Read the draft plan and comment by June 30, 2022. There are also public information sessions planned in late May and early June. Get a link to all the details from FOCA's webpage:
LRCA Watershed Explorer Programs
April to October 2022 - registration is now open for the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority (LRCA) 2022 Watershed Explorer program series, about everything from birds, butterflies, trees, mushroom,, a photo workshop, fish & aquatics, and more. Join LRCA and species guests on expert-led guided hikes at several locations over the coming months. Get dates, times, topics and a link to register in this notice (PDF, 340 kB). Sessions are filling up fast!
Otonabee Conservation Floodplain Maps
If you live in the Otonabee Conservation area (Kawartha Lakes to Rice Lake, and Pontypool to Norwood), you can view an online interactive floodplain mapping story map, scroll through and zoom in to see if your property is in a floodplain, or is generally at risk of flooding.
Archival images of Cottage Country
Members in eastern Ontario - Prince Edward County, the Rideau Lakes and the Kingston area - may find historic images of their areas in the Ontario Archives upload of 876 images from the Marsden Kemp fonds. There is a separate set of 150 historic images from Wasaga Beach that have also been uploaded from Government of Ontario records. All the images in the GLAM Wiki page from the Achives of Ontario are free to download and to use.
image above: Loughborough Lake, Marsden Kemp fonds, Ontario Archives
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
event recap: ONCA: the NEW Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act
April 6, 2022 ONCA has arrived - what do incorporated associations need to know, and what should they do next? Review the video and slides of the event with FOCA and Community Legal Education Ontario. This is a Members-only resource available on our webpage:
Private Roads
April 12, 2022 - FOCA addressed a standing-room-only group of municipal delegates at the 2022 Ontario-wide Good Roads Conference in Toronto, on the subject of private roads as the "last mile" of the cottage commute. FOCA continues to "build bridges" with municipal partners on behalf of our 200+ member Associations that are involved in the management of private roads. Review FOCA's slide presentation here (download PDF, 11MB)

SURVEY REMINDER: We remind our municipal partners who have not yet participated in the Good Roads / FOCA survey to submit their local information as soon as possible by clicking here.
PORTS offer: last call!
Until April 23rd, 2022 FOCA members can access an exclusive "20% off" offer from PORTS, the boating companion guides. Get one for you, and one for a friend. Whether for cruising or just day trips, the labelled aerial images give great perspective on waterways, and the guides include business information for local restaurants, groceries and more. This special offer includes the free digital app version for planning anywhere, plus a free 1-year subscription to Canadian Yachting. Members can login to access the offer from FOCA's Benefits webpage: (scroll down to "Benefits for Individuals & Families").
Association Members: Do your members know about ALL their FOCA benefits?
All members of our Member Associations are entitled to access a series of discounts, special offers, and other benefits. Get an overview (and login for information about the member access codes), here:

You'll need your FOCA Member login for this and other member materials on the website. Don't have, or can't recall, the login? Email, and we'll reply during business hours.
FOCA Year in Review
Read the 2021 FOCA Year in Review for our reflections on the year that was, FOCA’s enduring role in waterfront Ontario, and what's next: FOCA Year in Review (download PDF, 12 pages). Please share this information with everyone at the waterfront!
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Final Thoughts

The FOCA office will be closed on Friday, April 15, 2022.

We wish you and your families well on this early Spring long weekend! Be safe and enjoy the outdoors.
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years.
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