FOCA Elert - August 2020
Laughing Child Banner
FOCA Cottage Country Survey

Help shape the future of Ontario's waterfronts - have your say
Make sure your local lake issues and other concerns are represented in FOCA's 2020 survey.

Tell us about your cottage country priorities, and help direct and inform the future work of your provincial association. Responses are anonymous, and your open and honest input is very much appreciated.

Thank you to the hundreds of you who already completed the survey! 
Add your voice by Monday, August 24th. Click below to reach the survey:
FOCA's Gold-level Sponsors


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

Province passes Environmental Assessment redesign
Following up on our report in the July Elert, FOCA and our partners at the Canadian Environmental Law Association and elsewhere remain alarmed about Ontario's new COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act (Bill 197), an omnibus Bill which received Royal Assent on July 21, 2020. You can read more about the details and what changes are included in this Act, here:

Cormorant hunt begins September 15
Ontario has introduced a new hunting season for double crested cormorants. For more information visit FOCA's biodiversity webpage:

New Federal Aquaculture Act being considered
Learn more, and comment on the proposed federal legislation, here: 
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for the environmental regulation of this sector. Note that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also issues licences and regulates the sector in this Province; see:
Webinar recap: Gypsy Moth

In response to member concerns across south central Ontario, FOCA held a webinar with Gypsy moth experts on July 30th. The presentations provided an overview of the moth's life cycle, preferred habitats, forest implications of infestation, and treatment considerations. 

This webinar, free to FOCA members, was brought to you by FOCA and our event sponsor, Zimmer Air Services Inc.

FOCA Members can access the webinar recording from FOCA's Invasives webpage - look under the "News" heading, here:

NOTE: you will need your FOCA Member Login for this, and other members-only resources. Don't have, or recall, the Login? Contact us and we'll reply during business hours. 

Also on FOCA's Invasive Species webpage above, see additional documents provided by our expert presenters, and a combined "Q&A" developed from questions posed by members, during and after the webinar.  
Next FOCA Webinar: Targeting Tax
More Cottage Succession Planning 
Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 7:00pm

Following on the popularity of the FOCA Cottage Succession introductory webinar in June, estate lawyer Peter Lillico has agreed to speak again, this time taking a deeper dive into a significant part of the cottage succession process: targeting tax. Find out how capital gains tax works; how to avoid it; techniques to reduce or defer it; and planning approaches to fund it. 

Peter will speak for about 1 hour, and then take questions for an additional 20-30 minutes. Questions can be submitted ahead of time, or during the webinar.

This webinar is free to all FOCA members, but pre-registration is required. 
Not yet a member? Consider becoming a FOCA Supporter to receive access to this, and other benefits.

To register for the webinar: email [email protected] with the words "Targeting Tax" in the Subject Line, and remember to include your FOCA affiliation (e.g., Association or Supporter status) in your message. 

Registered members will receive an email with the event link in early September.
FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors


Cottage Life

Waterfront Living

Cottage Country Crush
Maclean's released statistics this month about Canadians' vacation travel plans and the dramatic changes that have occurred since the pandemic, compared to the same period in 2019. In particular, Ontario cottage country visits of 8 days or longer DOUBLED from mid-March to late-April. Find the link to the article under the "News" heading on FOCA's COVID-19 webpage:

Rural Cell & Internet Service
The pandemic has highlighted the increased demand for rural services, including internet and cell service in areas that were already struggling to deliver. 

FOCA's 2018 waterfront property owners' (WPO) economic development report confirmed the grim reality that access to reliable high-speed Internet is the number one barrier to a greater economic role for WPO families, many of whom are multi-generational residents that would love to make their rural properties a bigger part of their life, as cottage-country business owners and entrepreneurs (and now also as digital employees, and with children in need of access to online education).

In July 2020, FOCA wrote the Federal and Provincial governments in support of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network's (EORN) Gigabyte proposal, noting:
...The EORN Gig Project would tackle a major barrier to economic development in these communities, from attracting visitors and tourists, to converting cottagers to permanent residents and local business owners. 
In August 2020, FOCA wrote the Province in support of Xplornet's new proposal, the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program of substantial broadband infrastructure improvement for central and northeastern Ontario. 
For links to FOCA's letters of support, and more on these topics, see the "Internet" section of FOCA's "Rural Utilities" webpage, here:
Invasive Species  

Asian carps
Great Lakes Members: Did you know coastal wetlands are valuable nutrient sinks that help reduce eutrophication in lakes? If large populations of Grass Carp become established in the Great Lakes, they could degrade vegetated wetlands, resulting in the loss of ecosystem services including the nutrient cycle control. Learn more about Asian carps, here:
Regional Notices & Event Updates

Last call to apply for LOWDSA position!
FOCA's largest member group, the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA) is seeking to hire a new Executive Director to work on behalf of their members, and accountable to the President and Executive for the Board of Directors. The ideal candidate will:
  • thrive on having a diverse mix of responsibilities, tasks and projects
  • seek a work environment with autonomy, room for creativity and one that encourages new ideas
  • seek opportunities to collaborate with other environmental organizations, communities, lake associations, government ministries and businesses
  • enjoy connecting with LOWDSA members
  • be committed and passionate about the Lake of the Woods region
Refer to for more information. Submit resume and cover letter as soon as possible via email including the subject line: Executive Director opportunity.

Boating collisions follow-up from MLA
After a July boat tragedy involving a PWC and a rower, our member group the Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) is working to prevent collisions through a pilot project which is an expansion of Safe Quiet Lakes' (SQL) Wakes and Speeds Traffic Calming project. "NO WAKE" signs (similar to the image at the side) have been designed and will be distributed in limited quantities to MLA members. Find out more, here.

In related news, Safe Quiet Lakes is hosting a public webinar on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 4:00pm. The theme is "Signs and Buoys" and will include 2 guest speakers from Transport Canada who will discuss allowable signs and buoys, VORRs, and the municipality's role. Register for the webinar here.

Lake Simcoe Watershed Protection
RLSC - What is the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan?
Lake Simcoe Protection Plan
Learn more about the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan in a short animated video, released this summer by the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition. Click the image at the side to view the video.  

In related news, on July 17th the Ontario government announced an investment of over half a million dollars for four projects aimed at reducing pollutants such as phosphorus from entering Lake Simcoe. Read more, including a link to the Minister's 10-year Lake Simcoe report, in Water Canada's article.

Lake Scugog Enhancement Project 
In late July, the Greenbelt Foundation announced funding for 4 projects that prioritize climate-resilient communities and natural infrastructure, including a collaborative project involving our partners at Kawartha Conservation (KC), the Township of Scugog, and the Scugog Lake Stewards (our
 member group that received an Honorable Mention Award from FOCA in March 2020). Learn more about the wetland ecosystem project, intended to bring the lake back to health, from KC's website.

Ash collection resumes in Muskoka
Ash Muskoka has announced that ash drives, which were previously on hold due to the pandemic, have resumed as of August 15, 2020. The most recent event collected over 1,600 kg (2,600 lbs) of wood ash! Those who have saved their ash can deliver it to help restore calcium levels in Muskoka forests and lakes, at events scheduled from now until mid-December. ASHMuskoka is a Community Environmental Program by the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed. Get all the details, here: 

Blue Green Algae Webinar - Lake of the Woods
Wednesday, August 26 at 7:30pm - the LakeSmart Team has invited Dr. Scott Higgins, Research Scientist from IISD-ELA, to speak about issues surrounding a recent blue-green algal bloom in an area lake. Register for the webinar here.
FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors

Canadian Canoe Museum


Dock in a Box

FOCA Member Services & Success Stories

New Member Benefit: Legal Helpline for FOCA Associations
    an update from Cade Associates Insurance Brokers
If your Association is insured through the FOCA Association insurance program, we are delighted to announce that you have free access to a Legal Helpline! Provided by DAS Legal Protection Inc., this helpline provides your Association with free, easy, unlimited access to a lawyer to discuss legal issues for which you may need guidance. Available 8am to midnight, 7 days per week, the lawyer can help answer your questions and provide you with assistance in determining your legal rights under provincial or federal laws - at no charge.

To request information about how to access the Helpline, please ask one of your Association executive or board members to send an email, including your Association's full name, to:

If your Association is not yet taking part in FOCA's Association insurance program, we invite you to request a quote by clicking here or calling the Cade team of Brokers at 416-234-9980.

A testimonial: "Thanks, FOCA"
We were all smiles after receiving the following message in FOCA's Inbox this week, from our member group the Golden Lake & Bonnechere River Property Owners Association (GLPOA):

GLPOA successfully held its AGM on 1 August 2020 - via Zoom!
We want you to know that we managed this with the help of FOCA.
Our President and VP sat in on the FOCA webinar regarding corporate governance, and it gave us very good guidance for basics we needed to cover at a virtually held AGM. ... The AGM this year was completed in about 30 minutes - quite a change from our previous AGM gatherings of two hours ... The Zoom format was a different experience for some of us more senior Board members - but we got there ...
All that to say we are extending a very big thank you to FOCA for providing us with yet another valuable resource for our lake association. We promote our FOCA membership as an excellent benefit to members, and a well spent part of the annual membership fee.  

Thanks, GLPOA! 

Need some resources for your own Association? 
FOCA posts tonnes of member materials here:

Virtual Successes: inspiration for your next event...
Congratulations to the Gloucester Pool Cottagers' Association for hosting a successful virtual Kids' Fishing Derby from July 4th-8th. Families fished independently, to maintain physical distance, and uploaded images of their catches and fish-themed creativity. Here's what the Association reported: 
Thank you to our sponsors, volunteers and participants! We had 42 kids plus family and friends participating in this GPCA event. Thank you for the wonderful photos, stories, video, song and art! 

FOCA was glad to receive this update from our member group, the Soyers Lake Ratepayers Association (SLRA), who created a new 'Music on the Water' event in place of their long-standing 'More than a Corn Roast' August gathering. They wrote:

We hosted a very fun COVID-safe event last Saturday that we thought might make for positive reading for other Associations, and maybe even provide some inspiration!

On August 15th, numerous families on their docks and 45 socially-distanced vessels including kayaks, paddle boards and even swimmers with noodles gathered for some live music. With the benefit of spectacular weather, all rocked and sang to the energizing music of the talented Chris Collins Trio from Peterborough. 

Earlier in the summer, the SLRA held a contest inviting members to write lyrics for a Soyers Lake song that could become a new tradition for the lake. The band played a broad range of upbeat songs, and led a sing-along of the winning Soyers Lake song, 'DayDream'.

It was heartening to have a memorable event that allowed our SLRA members to come together as a community and enjoy some much-needed fun, in the face of the challenges this year.

Way to go, SLRA!

Please keep sending us your updates about how your association is nurturing community spirit this year. Send pictures and details to [email protected]. Keep up the great work, everyone.
Lake Stewards Newsletter

Read and share the digital edition of FOCA's 2020 Newsletter:

This year's edition includes articles about Eurasian Watermilfoil and Starry Stonewort, water level management, what Associations need to know about crown land forestry, and much more. Please share this resource with everyone at your waterbody!

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. 

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 to others:
Get on the Elert list for free cottage country updates from FOCA:

This is one of many member benefits. For more, visit:
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
the voice of the waterfront for over half a century

 [email protected]    |    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.