FOCA Elert - April 2018

FOCA Year in Review - now available!

2017 was one of FOCA's busiest years, yet. Read about our advocacy efforts, support for lake associations, citizen science connections, and community-building efforts in rural waterfronts across the province. 
Access the digital edition here:

Please share with your local association members this summary of the important work being done by FOCA and our member associations.  Contact the FOCA office if you would like print copies of the 4-page summary or full 12-page report, for your association meetings this summer!

Awards and Nominations

Reel Green Film Festival 
FOCA's 2017 video, " Lake Associations," was selected for inclusion in the Reel Green Film Festival in Manitoba on March 21st. Review FOCA's film, here:

Also, see the two latest releases from FOCA in this video series: " Citizen Science Matters," and " Lake Associations in Action" posted on YouTube:
Citizen Science Matters
Citizen Science Matters
Lake Associations in Action

Thank you again to Chelsie Xavier-Blower, a graduate of the Fleming Environmental Visual Communication Program, for helping FOCA to create these compelling narratives about the important work being done by lake community volunteers.  Please share these video resources widely!

FOCA's Gold-level Sponsors


Cottage Life
CottageLINK Rental Management
Sponsors support our work. Please, support them!
Policy & Programs Updates

OMB No More
On April 3rd, 2018, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the quasi-judicial body that deals with development proposal appeals, became the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). Learn more about what these changes mean to planning decisions and your rights of appeal, here: 

Environmental Registry Revamp - Have your say
Pictured: FOCA attended the Queen's Park celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Ontario EBR in February 2014 with Ministers of Environment Jim Bradley (1985-90), Bud Wildman (1993-95) and Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller (2000-15)
The Environmental Registry is a valuable website that provides public access to a database of environmental proposals and decisions made by the Ontario government. The Registry, created under Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) is an important tool for public participation in decisions being made on environmental issues, by allowing you to:
> be given notice of a range of government proposals and decisions re: environmental matters (policies, regulations, etc.)
> provide your comments on those issues.

After many years, the Registry has been recently updated with a new look, better search capabilities, and clearer information. Try it out, and provide your feedback on the new ("beta") site! Visit to read and comment on new and proposed policies, acts or regulation notices. 
Note: Notices for instruments - e.g., permits, approvals and orders - are still posted on the old registry site, but will be coming to the new site, soon.

Smart Prosperity
"Conserving and valuing nature" is one of 5 key actions for building a stronger, cleaner economy. FOCA has signed on to the  Smart Prosperity Leaders' Initiative letter for conserving and valuing nature. Protected areas and effective policy is part of the solution; so is good private land stewardship! Learn what you can do at your own waterfront property: 

Noise Bylaw
On March 8, 2018, the Georgian Bay Township council passed a contentious bylaw, banning noisy behaviour at Myers Lake, 24-7.  Click to read about it on The article notes the bylaw has implications for cottage rentals, and also provides a link to video of the council session. 

Lake Environments

The State of Ontario's Watersheds 
Here is a fantastic new
online story map, filled with information you can explore about the state of southern Ontario watersheds. (Results are drawn from the 2018 Conservation Authority Watershed Report Cards).  View it online, here: 

Bob's Lake graph at Apr.13, 2018
Water Management InfoNet
April 4 - Parks Canada has launched the Ontario Waterways Water Management InfoNet, containing tools for reviewing Trent Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal water levels as graphs. See: "In the News - April 4, 2018" here: 

Waterfront Living

Great Lakes Nutrients
March 2018 - The International Joint Commission (IJC) has released several "News on Nutrients" articles, in response to public concern during the Triennial Assessment of Progress meetings of 2017. See IJC articles about algae, the role of fertilizer, binational wetlands monitoring, and managing Great Lakes ice

Stats: Canadians & the Outdoors
March 2018 - StatsCanada has released a new infographic about the ways Canadians enjoy the outdoors.  How many of these do you do? 
  • fishing
  • canoeing
  • snowmobiling
  • mountain biking...
View the infographic, here:  

Funding Opportunities

FOCA 2018 Invasive Species Program
"Call for proposals coming soon!" 
Begin the conversation NOW with your association, about projects you could champion at the lake this summer, to prevent the spread of invasive species in cottage country. FOCA will send a notification to Association Executives next week, for project proposals. 

For information about association projects funded in the 2017 program, see page 10 of the latest FOCA Year in Review.

FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors


Safety & Risk Management

NEW Mobile Phone Emergency Alert System for Ontario 
FOCA is pleased to advise that Ontarians now have a mobile-friendly emergency alert system to notify them of local emergencies, be that fire, flood or other nearby emergencies that require them to take action. Learn more, about " Alert Ready" here: 

FOCA notes that, to function as intended, your wireless device must be 4G LTE, wireless public alerting (WPA)-compatible, and be connected to an LTE cellular network at the time when the emergency alert is issued. This may limit the system's functioning in some areas.
(See: "Tackling Cellular Dead Zones" in the 2016 FOCA Newsletter, here:


Fire Costs
The Ontario Conservation Officers Association posted to social media earlier this month that an Ontario man was ordered to pay $7,700 (fine + fire suppression costs) for failing to extinguish a campfire he had lit in August 2016 which resulted in a fire on the shore of Sams Lake, Peterborough County.  Read more, and get important fire safety tips, here:
Events Attended

Cottage Country Planning Seminar
April 5, 2018 - Bracebridge. FOCA participated in the Cottage Country Seminar Series: Planning and Environmental Issues. Topics for this all-day event included: the District of Muskoka Official Plan Review; a review of different types of environmental planning reports; discussion of regulating short-term accommodation; the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal replacing OMB, and more.
OOWA Annual Conference
April 15-17, 2018 - Huntsville. With 50,000 member families who rely upon onsite wastewater systems, FOCA's Executive Director participated in the Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association's Convention and Expo this week. For the latest information about septic systems, including a video overview, visit: 

Upcoming Events

Country Living Show - Kawarthas
April 27-29, 2018 - Fenelon Falls. Enjoy FREE admission to the Kawartha Lakes Country Living Show, with over 100 booths and a complimentary pancake breakfast on the Saturday (10am-2pm). Get info here: 

Strengthening Stewardship Networks - Lake Simcoe Watershed
May 2, 2018 - Bradford. FOCA will be participating in this meeting, a result of the ongoing  " Simcoe Social Network Analysis " including a survey of almost 50 agricultural and environmental stewardship organizations in the Lake Simcoe watershed. The public session & lunch are free. Get details by clicking here. (PDF, 1 page)

Sudbury Septic Social
May 3, 2018 - Sudbury. FOCA Supporter Group, the Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance (GSWA), is hosting a "Septic Social" on Thursday, May 3rd, from 7 to 9:00pm at Lockerby Legion, 2200 Long Lake Rd. Learn about the pros & cons of different types of private sewage treatment systems, the "do's and don'ts" of maintaining an effective sewage system, the inspection and regulatory responsibilities that all homeowners carry, and the potential environmental effects of ill-functioning systems. There will be beverages and snacks, great door prizes, and an opportunity to meet contractors and ask those in-the-know your burning questions about sewage treatment systems. For more, contact: Richard Denton, Chair - GSWA. ( or 705-642-5324) 

Muskoka Summit on the Environment
May 24-25, 2018 - Bracebridge. Plan to participate in the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, " Restoring our relationship with the natural world." FOCA is pleased to be sponsoring this event, once again. Register here:  

Septics & Invasives Information Session
June 23, 2018 - Hold the date for this Hastings Highlands event about septics, where FOCA's Executive Director will speak about the value of septic system maintenance. Download the event notice, here. (PDF, 1 page)

Cottage Succession Seminar Series
FOCA is on-the-road again this summer, with estate lawyer Peter Lillico, helping your family start the conversation about how to "keep the 'family' in the family cottage." Get more information about event dates and locations, here:  

FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors


Dock in a Box

Cottage Dreams

Canadian Canoe Museum
Nature Clean New Logo 2013
Regional Notices

Bridge Work - Trent Severn Waterway
Parks Canada has announced bridge work that will cause some temporary swing bridge closures or maintenance delays prior to boating season. Read the online article from KawarthaNOW, by clicking here.

Rainy Lake water level target adjusted for April
Based on input from stakeholders and a review of current basin conditions and forecasts, the Water Levels Committee of the International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board has directed the operators of the international dam on the Rainy River at Fort Frances-International Falls to adjust the April water level target range for Rainy Lake. The revised target range provides some additional capacity in the lake for early spring snow melt and rainfall. Read the announcement. (PDF, 1 page)

image: PPH Media Release, March 28, 2018
Well Water Testing Program - Trent Lakes
Starting April 3, 2018, Peterborough Public Health (PPH) and the Municipality of Trent Lakes are partnering to provide free well water sample drop-offs for county residents. "Water quality changes over time," notes the PPH Manager of Environmental Health Programs. "That's why we recommend testing private wells 3 to 4 times a year to prevent health risks." Read the notice. (download PDF, 2 page)

Beyond well testing, FOCA is asked regularly by our members about various other kinds of water testing, and why it might be done. 
Find out more in FOCA's newest digital publication: A Guide to Citizen Science at the Lake. Download your copy, here:  

Casting Inquiry: CBC's The Stats of Life
The CBC program, "The Stats of Life" is looking for cottagers across Canada who would be interested in participating in an upcoming edition of the show. Read the details of our correspondence with the Casting Director, by clicking here. (download PDF, 2 pages)

Municipal Corner

Garbage/Recycling Success!
April 2018 - The Township of Douro Dummer announced a 40% reduction in garbage tonnage (over the same period, last year), since the implementation of mandatory clear garbage bags in January 2018. Concurrently, recycling volume is up. Read their Media Release. (PDF, 1 page)

Does YOUR Municipality Do This?!?
The Township of Selwyn is taking steps to engage their residents in the Municipal Election process. On Thursday, April 26th, 2018 at 7pm they are holding a session titled, "So you want to run for Council? FREE Candidate Information Workshop!" Get details, by clicking here. (download PDF, 1 page, excerpt from Selwyn March 29th eNewsletter)

News from our Partners

New Executive Director for the GBA
The Georgian Bay Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Rupert Kindersley, currently GBA President, as Executive Director of the Association. Rupert replaces Bob Duncanson who is retiring after ten years of exemplary and much appreciated service. Rupert brings to the role his extensive knowledge of the Bay and a familiarity with issues of importance to GBA's members. John McMullen, GBA Past President, has kindly agreed to step back in as President for the coming year.

FOCA looks forward to continued productive relations with the team at GBA!

Boating Survey
Boating Ontario, the recreational marine trade association, is conducting an extensive survey about recreational boating in Ontario, to better understand boat use and the needs of boaters in the province. Interested in providing your input? Click here to link to the online survey.

Sharing Cottage Dreams
image courtesy Cottage Dreams Newsletter
The 2018 program season is gearing up for the Cottage Dreams Cancer Recovery Initiative. Their program goal this year is to place 250 applicants and their families in donated cottage stays. 
How can you help? Please contact Debbie at   for more information! 

Association Tools

ONCA Update 
The Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) reports that the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act (ONCA) is scheduled to be proclaimed in January 2020. Organizations will still have 3 years after that date, to comply with the new Act. ONN continues to
 recommend NOT making changes to your bylaws until the regulations are complete, "unless you have pressing concerns that require you to."  FOCA recently received 2 new Infographics from Community Legal Education Ontario, about ONCA timelines and impacts, which FOCA members can review on our webpage:

You asked, FOCA answers
A member group recently asked, "How can our Association best use our FOCA membership and the great wealth of info that comes with it?"
Click to read FOCA's answer, (PDF, 1 page) with Top Tips for your own Association!

In related news, we extend a "thank you" to all our other great member Associations who regularly re-purpose FOCA materials in their own print and digital newsletters. Looking for ideas? Search here: 

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
the voice of the waterfront for over 50 years     |    705-749-3622    |  
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