FOCA Elert ~ June 2021
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for nearly 60 years.
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government
Border woes
FOCA is aware that many property owners from outside Ontario have struggled with the inability to enter the province to access their properties, due to the ongoing pandemic. Mindful of the need to keep everyone safe, FOCA has written to both the Province and the Canadian government, asking for direction on the plan to get our friends and neighbours back to the Ontario waterfront, as quickly as it is safe to do so. While FOCA was pleased to see the provincial borders open on June 16, we remain concerned there is no plan in place to allow U.S. owners of Canadian property to access and isolate at their waterfront homes. Read FOCA’s letters to the Premier and the Federal leadership (see June 4th posting), and get updates on the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our communities, here:
Electricity Pricing
This week the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) responded to Hydro One's submission of late May 2021 (which had provided responses to common customer questions about the elimination of the seasonal rate class), by asking for more clarification from Hydro One on certain aspects of the proposed implementation plan. For a summary of the outstanding details, and a link to the OEB's full letter, visit FOCA's webpage:
FOCA's Gold level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
Read about your provincial association
2020 was a unique and challenging year, but FOCA and our waterfront communities emerged stronger and more committed than ever before. Find out how we did this, and learn more about our strategic priorities and how we serve you, including feedback from your fellow members about FOCA's important role:

Please share this digital resource with everyone in your waterfront community!
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 member benefits. Get the details (and login for information about the access codes), here:

FOCA branding
A member Association recently asked: Can we use the FOCA logo on our Association communications to members, media, government, or partners?

Our response: Thanks for your pride in our organization! FOCA's logo may be used with positioning words such as "member of" to clarify that the statement being made is from your Association, not necessarily FOCA. Where practical, please also include a link to our website:

For any co-branding requests, copies of the FOCA logo, or other marketing materials for your website, newsletter or social media posting, please connect with contact our Communications Coordinator:
FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers
Lake Partner Program updates
The 2021 sampling season is underway, and the 2020 data has been released by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. If water samples or Secchi readings were submitted for your lake last year (many were not, due to COVID-19), you can access the results from links on our webpage:
Webinar: Invasive Phragmites
Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at noon

Last call to register! Join FOCA and Brooke Harrison from Georgian Bay Forever for a discussion about invasive Phragmites: its characteristics, its spread and its controls. 
Missed a recent webinar? Members can access recordings:
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.
Past Webinar: Invasive Species
& Boater Pathways
June 1, 2021 - A discussion with FOCA and the Invasive Species Centre about boats as a potential pathway of spread for invasive species, and the current review of the Invasive Species Act including the regulation of the movement of boats between waterways. FOCA Members can access the webinar recording here:
Past Webinar: DataStream
June 16, 2021 - A discussion with FOCA and the Gordon Foundation about the Great Lakes DataStream open access hub for sharing water data, set to come online this Fall. If you participate in water quality data collection in the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence region, you'll want to hear about DataStream and the map and visualization tools that will make it easy to explore results and see where else monitoring is taking place around you. FOCA members can access the webinar recording here:
Past Webinar: Creating a Cardiac Safe Cottage Community
April 21, 2021 - A presentation about emergency preparedness in rural and remote areas, and the importance of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), from our partners at Action First Aid. FOCA members can access the webinar recording here:
Natural Shorelines Matter!
Wondering about the reasons behind our love of "natural" shorelines and what we mean by that? Spend a couple minutes with FOCA's Terry Rees in this video about the role of shoreline plants in water quality, fish habitat, goose deterrence and erosion control:
Planting a Natural Edge
FOCA is often asked for native planting suggestions for cottage country. There are lots of great resources, and one of them is The Natural Edge online Plant tool, which has a "Zone map" prompting you to find the hardiness zone of your property, to generate a shortlist of appropriate plants, bushes, and trees! The Natural Edge is a project of Watersheds Canada.
FOCA Champions Affordable & Safe Rural Living
Cottage Succession
FOCA and estate lawyer Peter Lillico have been teaching families about cottage succession planning for the past decade! Our traditional in-person events have shifted to digital for 2021:

  • PAST: June 15, 2021: “Targeting Tax” webinar for the Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners Association
  • PAST: June 23, 2021: “Cottage Succession A to Z” webinar for the Mazinaw Property Owners Association
  • August 14, 2021: “Cottage Succession A to Z” webinar for the Chaffey's Area Lakes Association and the Buck Lake Association.
  • TBD: "Cottage Succession A to Z" webinar for our Thunder Bay area associations (more news coming soon!)
  • TBD: "Trusting the Cottage" webinar about trust techniques; this session will be open to ALL FOCA members, later this year.

Thank you to our member associations who are the local hosts of these seminars. The events are free as part of your Association's annual membership in FOCA. For info & recordings of past seminars, visit:
Lyme Disease - be aware
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the corkscrew shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. In Ontario, these bacteria are spread by the bite of blacklegged ticks.

Get a link to the updated map of risk areas across Ontario (pictured at the right), and more information about lyme disease risk prevention, here:
Fire Safety
The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management reminds everyone that it will soon be July, when the top fire safety concerns are:
  • barbeques
  • cottage fires
  • smoking-related fires
  • forest fires.
Learn about all kinds of summer safety in the Summer Smart handbook from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority. Download that handbook, as well as the Fire Marshal's printable Cottage Fire Safety tips, from our webpage:
Boat Wake
Our waterways are busy again this year! FOCA has heard from members concerned with the impacts of boat wake, and questions about signage that can be posted to remind boaters of their wake impact. Two great recent examples of signs created by our member Associations, along with other resources, are featured on FOCA's webpage:
left: Baptiste Lake Association; right: Muskoka Lakes Association & Safe Quiet Lakes
Gypsy moth
Gypsy moth is a non-native forest defoliating pest that is found in Ontario. Outbreaks occur every 7 to 10 years - and many parts of south central Ontario are in the midst of one now. Get information, resources, and link to a recent webinar on the topic hosted by the Ontario Model Forest and Ontario Woodlot Association from FOCA's webpage:

FOCA's webpage also includes member access to our Gypsy moth webinar held last year, as well as an extensive "Q&A" list of common questions and concerns around management of the pest.
Rental Boat safety
There has been an update from Transport Canada (TC) about earlier proposed changes that would no longer recognize the Rental Boat Safety Checklist (RBSC) as a form of proof of operator competency. Following public consultations, TC announced it is NOT rescinding the RBSC, but another proposal will be considered for rentals of personal watercraft (PWC) to those under the age of 25. Details are posted on FOCA's Safe Boating webpage (see June 9th posting).
FOCA's Silver level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Partner Updates & Regional Notices
Great Lakes water levels
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported in May that precipitation over the Great Lakes basin was generally below average for six months in a row, leading to significant declines in water levels. The lake level forecast for each of the Great Lakes has been released, with water levels still above the long-term average, but much lower than the record highs of the past few years. Review the details, including graphs (Michigan-Huron is shown here), in the online article from Michigan Live.
Upcoming webinar series:
Ontario Biodiversity Summit
Find out more about how nature can help us address climate change and biodiversity loss at the 2021 Ontario Biodiversity Summit! Virtual sessions run through September. FOCA's Terry Rees will be moderating a session about 'Restoring Aquatic Biodiversity' that is now scheduled for Thursday, July 15th.
Source Protection Volunteer
The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region is seeking a Source Protection Committee member interested in protecting municipal drinking water sources in the Mississippi and Rideau Valley watersheds. The committee is looking for one public sector representative for multi-year involvement, to liaise on behalf any of the following seats: environmental, non-governmental organizations, First Nations and general interest. Get general information and apply online by July 4, 2021.
Fish Hatchery Fundraiser
The North Hastings Community Fish Hatchery thanks those who contributed in 2020 to their fundraising efforts, and asks for your support again this year, as COVID-19 has curtailed their traditional fundraising events. This year will feature an on-line auction in July. Details are in in this information flyer.
Boater Education Opportunity
FOCA's recent webinar on Invasive Species and Boater Pathways (above) included mention of a new Water Steward Program led by the OFAH's Invading Species Awareness Program with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation's Grow Grant. The program is looking for volunteers in Durham, Haliburton, Kawartha, and Pine Ridge regions to be trained to engage boaters at your local boat launches on Clean + Drain + Dry messaging. Interested volunteers should complete an online survey to start the process!
Water Funds
Kawartha Conservation reports that property owners in the City of Kawartha Lakes, or Townships of Scugog, Brock, or Clarington can apply for financial assistance through the Scugog Water Fund (for 2021), Kawartha Water Fund (for 2022), or the Kawartha Community Grant for projects that contribute to the health of the watershed (including tree planting, shoreline naturalization, well/septic system stewardship and more, depending upon the particular grant/fund).
Bat Talks
The Willis Bat Lab at the University of Winnipeg is offering nature clubs, stewardship and naturalist groups across Ontario free bat webinars! Bats in Ontario face threats, including white-nose syndrome, and need to be better understood and protected. You are encouraged to participate in the Neighbourhood Bat Watch to report bats in Manitoba, Ontario or Quebec. Contact the Lab directly about availability for talks for your community:
email or call 204-786-9433
SQL survey: Your Lakes, Your Views
Safe Quiet Lakes (SQL), in partnership with Algonquin College and local lake associations, invite those who use and love the waterways in the Muskoka and Georgian Bay regions to participate in their latest survey. Past survey data has been shared with Transport Canada, municipalities, the OPP, and boating organizations. Add your voice before Monday, July 12, 2021. Click here to reach the survey.
Lakes Appreciation
The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) reminds everyone to celebrate "Lakes Appreciation Month" in July. They've released the spectacular student poster contest winners for 2021! Check it out, plus get ideas for planning a local event (shoreline clean up? lake paddle or hike? septic system information blitz? it's up to you!):
FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Partner Highlights
30 years of CSBC
Congratulations to our partner organization, the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC), which held its 30th Annual General Meeting this past month. That's three decades of promoting safe and responsible boating across the country. The alliance was originally formed to prevent boating injuries and drownings. Their projects include championing Safe Boating Awareness Week each Spring, presenting the annual Canadian Safe Boating Awards, and managing the SmartBoater website. Check out for lists of legally required & recommended safety equipment by boat type, together with rules, regulations, and aids to navigation.
Also, the new "Weather to Boat" app has just been launched by CSBC! It is available for FREE download in online app stores. Powerful, dynamic ... and it could save your life. In addition to marine and local weather forecasts, it provides pre-departure checklists, geo-referenced marinas and boat launches, video tips, and much more.
FOCA Staff Updates
Award received
FOCA congratulates Dr. Liz Favot, our Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator, who was part of a team whose lead author, Branaavan Sivarajah, was awarded best student paper at the recent 2021 Interdisciplinary Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms Workshop. Their paper, Eutrophication and climatic changes lead to unprecedented cyanobacterial blooms in a Canadian sub-Arctic landscape (published in the journal Harmful Algae) documents long-term environmental changes preceding a rare observation of recurring cyanobacterial blooms in a lake in Yellowknife, NWT over the last decade. Conclusion: both nutrient pollution and climatic changes could contribute to the manifestation of blooms.
FOCA Fosters Community
"New to cottaging" video resource from FOCA
We know lots of folks are having their FIRST cottage country experience this year, and may be thinking about buying or building a cottage. FOCA has created a video with key information about choosing an area, understanding the nature of your property, considerations for buying or building, and ways to get the most out of the experience including connecting with the local lake association! Click the image below to view:
The video link is:

Please post and share this information to help those in the early stages of their decision-making to start their waterfront experience sustainably and in harmony with their new community and the environment.

This, and other important information for new cottagers is available on FOCA's new webpage: - share this!

Final Thoughts
A message from FOCA:

While we have heard some communities are changing July 1st events, FOCA has not heard of a wholesale or widespread cancelling of events among our members.

FOCA recognizes that many people feel a celebration of our country needs to be "reimagined" and we would encourage all our members to consider the best way to recognize our country and the many peoples who call Canada home.


Planning some reading time over the holiday? Enjoy this recent article from The Walrus:
Blue Space is the new Green Space: Why being near water can be a boon for our health and wellness.
Find out more about YOUR ROLE, today.
Connect with our channels:
Did someone forward this message to you? Join 12,000 fellow subscribers:
Click here to get free FOCA Elerts delivered to your inbox, monthly

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.