Happy Holidays!
FOCA Elert ~ December 2022
Make sure you see all the updates -
you're at the end when you see this image again:
image: Kirk Doughty
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
event recap: FOCA Fall Seminar held November 19, 2022 by webinar

Our annual Fall Seminar for Lake and Road Associations had 170 registrants, and was packed with important updates. The theme was "Gathering Momentum" and all FOCA members are invited to login to the members-only section of the event webpage to download a copy of the extensive Event Summary which includes links to the slide presentations. Or, purchase digital access to the full 3-hour recording. (Members only)
FOCA Association 'Toolkit': NEW Road Association Resource
At the Fall Seminar, we announced the release of a new member resource: a FOCA publication called "Starting & Building an Effective Road Association" that is the result of the efforts of our Board Working Group on rural road issues over the past two years. This new resource is a spin on the earlier FOCA publication, "Starting & Building an Effective Lake Association". Both versions are available for member download in digital format from the website: https://foca.on.ca/toolkit-overview/
Reminder: A Holiday Appeal
Thank you to everyone who has already generously given gifts to FOCA in our Holiday Appeal!

Your kindness makes us warm, even on a cold winter day.

If you missed our message last week, or haven't yet heard why we're asking you to make a gift to FOCA this December, you can read the message and reach the donation link here: https://conta.cc/3uSF3vQ
FOCA's Gold level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government
FOCA and our Provincial Partners
FOCA was at Queen's Park in November for an Invasive Species Awareness event to inform elected officials about the looming threat of invasive species and the need for continued vigilance to prevent and manage these threats to our lakes, rivers and watersheds. In addition to meetings with the Parliamentary Assistant and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, we co-hosted a reception that saw 75 MPPs, the Minister and their staffs attend to speak with FOCA and our invasive species partners. Learn more about invasive species prevention, and get links to further information about particular invasives, from our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/invasive-species/
pictured: Minister Smith at the event
FOCA and our Federal Partners
Also in November, FOCA met with MP Michelle Ferrari and other environmental partners (pictured below) to discuss federal issues affecting our members, including the oversight and operation of Historic Canals (the Trent Severn Waterway and the Rideau Canal), the Canada Water Agency, and climate resilience.
Municipal Governments Sworn In
We have just completed the latest opportunity to shape our local political landscape with the 2022 Ontario municipal elections, held on October 24th. Voting is important, but now the real work begins: it's time to introduce yourself and your issues to the local decision-makers. Learn how your Association can leverage municipal relationships in FOCA's Municipal Engagement Guide, available for member download from our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/municipal-engagement-guide/
Bill 23
Following up on our report in the November Elert, FOCA and many other concerned organizations submitted detailed commentary on Bill 23 - the so-called "More Homes Built Faster" Act that was introduced to the Ontario Legislature in late October. FOCA expressed concern about proposed Planning Act and Development Charges Act changes. This new legislation overrides some municipal powers related to planning of their own communities, lessens protections for natural heritage and wetlands, and may increase our exposure to flooding. Access a copy of FOCA's analysis from our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/land-use-planning-overview/
Despite widespread environmental and public outcry, the Bill was passed on an accelerated timeline in late November.

Two days later, as part of the release of her 2022 Annual Report, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk warned of the need for more climate change adaptation, noting the Province does not have effective systems and processes in place to reduce the related risks of flooding. She also warned of threats from development (including Minister's Zoning Orders) on protected lands such as those in the Niagara Escarpment.
FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living
Hydro One Rate Classes are changing
As FOCA has been informing our members for a number of years (learn more: https://foca.on.ca/electricity-pricing/) Hydro One is eliminating the Seasonal rate class, at the instruction of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
The time for this change has now arrived. In the coming weeks, customers will be notified of their new rate class with an estimate of their new monthly bill.

Extensive public input was led by FOCA's 2021 "Power Line" campaign that succeeded in getting nearly 2,000 homeowners to contact their MPPs about the negative financial impact of this change. As a result, in the OEB's final decision they stipulated that bill impacts would be limited to a maximum of 10% per year; thus, the increase you see on the next bill will be just the first of many annual increases.   
Boating Safety developments
Transport Canada (TC) has indicated that work continues towards modernizing the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORR), which will include a 2021 proposal to introduce a new schedule for wake surfing restrictions. Additionally, TC is collecting feedback from industry, safety and police organizations around possible regulatory amendments for mandatory wear of Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs). Get updates and follow these issues here: https://foca.on.ca/boating-overview/
NEW FOCA Report: Short-Term Rental in Cottage Country
From a FOCA survey earlier this year, overall less than 10% of respondents are renting their waterfront property. However, those who have owned their property for less than 5 years are more than twice as likely to have rented, and are renting for more days each year.

FOCA's Board Working Group on Short-Term Rental (STR) has complied a new summary report about STR in cottage country for our member Associations and our municipal partners. The report contains an overview of the issue, what problems are being experienced by neighbours, examples of municipal responses to public concerns related to STR, and examples of educational materials that might help to bridge some knowledge gaps for visitors new to rural living. Members can download a copy of the 16-page report from our website: https://foca.on.ca/rental/.

Municipal partners are encouraged to contact the office to access a digital copy.
Ice Safety
It is extremely important to be careful on the ice, which is just beginning to form on our lakes and waterways. Review important tips about ice safety here.

FOCA's President of the Board, Ian Crawford, reported a remarkable story that happened earlier this week in his bay on Whitestone Lake: a deer went through the ice, and a rescue was launched. Read the story and find out what happened.
image: Sue Turner
FOCA's Silver level sponsors
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FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers
Biodiversity on the World Stage
COP15 (also known as the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, taking place in Montreal from December 7-19, 2022) brings together countries to agree on targets to ensure the survival of species, and stem the collapse of ecosystems across the world. COP15 is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to halt destruction of the natural world. Many scientists agree that biodiversity is at a tipping point, and decisions we make now may be our last chance to conserve the natural world and our existence as we know it. Waterfront property owners have a role to play, in our property management decisions, in our consumer choices, and in how we vote. More about FOCA and biodiversity: https://foca.on.ca/ontario-biodiversity/
The Science Behind Vegetated Shoreland Buffers
FOCA is on the Steering Committee of the Planning For Our Shorelands (PFOS) project with Watersheds Canada. As was presented at the FOCA Fall Seminar, the Committee is very pleased to have created several digital resources for homeowners and municipal partners about shorelands, including the newest guide, "The Science Behind Vegetated Shoreland Buffers: why the ribbon of life matters" (pictured at the side). Access this report, other resources about shoreline naturalization planting, and a regulatory guide that includes existing municipal by-law, policy and Official Plan examples worth emulating, from FOCA's Healthy Waterfronts webpage.
Thank You, Volunteers!
International Volunteer Day was celebrated last week, and FOCA takes this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who make our waterfront communities great.

  • Thank you to the hundreds of Lake Partner Program volunteers for your ongoing water sampling efforts.

  • Thank you to the dozens of Green Shovels and IsampleON program volunteers for helping to prevent the spread of invasive species in cottage country.

  • Thank you to FOCA's great volunteer Board of Directors who support this organization throughout the year.

Partner Updates & Regional Notices
event recap: Fall Cottage Life Show
November 11-13, 2022: FOCA was back in-person at the 2022 Fall Cottage Life Show! Terry Rees spoke on the main stage about short-term rentals with Michelle Kelly, Editor of Cottage Life Magazine, and FOCA's colleague Peter Lillico discussed cottage succession planning, among many featured talks. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth to say hello.

If you missed Terry and Michelle's live talk, you can revisit their August 2022 podcast discussion, and get related links and information here: https://foca.on.ca/rental/
Haliburton Police Services News
As reported in a recent Cottage Life article, the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed to Haliburton County in early November that they are considering making the existing Haliburton detachment into a satellite location of Lindsay in the Kawartha Lakes, over an hour's drive south. Read about it online.
Great Lakes Progress Reports
As part of its responsibilities under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the International Joint Commission has released progress reports on each of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. For an overview by lake basin, see their online summaries about Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and the Great Lakes basin-wide.
event recap: Ontario Woodlot Association
December 7, 2022 - FOCA participated in the Annual Seminar of the Ontario Woodlot Association (OWA), titled "Global Environmental Challenges COP15 Challenge of Loss of Biodiversity: Responding in Southern Ontario and Worldwide." FOCA spoke on the topic of "Protecting the biodiversity of Ontario's lakes and rivers and adjacent woodlands." Enjoy the recording of the talks, posted to the OWA YouTube channel.
Lake of the Woods: Walleye Catch Limits
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) are proposing changes to the recreational catch limits and size limits for walleye in Lake of the Woods in order to address risks to the quality of the fisheries. The MNRF monitoring data on Lake of the Woods indicates that the walleye population is vulnerable to continued high-levels of harvest to the point where the current harvest poses a risk to the quality of the walleye fishery. The comment period ends January 9th, 2023.
Walleye image: Kirk Doughty
Speaking of fish...
The 2023 Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary is now available for download from the provincial website: https://www.ontario.ca/document/ontario-fishing-regulations-summary. This is the annual guide to the rules and regulations for recreational fishing in Ontario. It contains information about recreational fishing licences, open seasons and catch limits, and up-to-date fishing regulations for each fishing zone.
FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Final Thoughts
Making the Most of Every Season
Looking for a short read? Check out this recent article from The Guardian titled, "Bad weather is good for you: take a walk in the wind and rain" that searches for the good side of bad weather. Enjoy the great outdoors!
FOCA's Holiday Hours
The FOCA office will be closed for the holidays from December 24th, reopening on Tuesday, January 3rd.

On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors, we wish you and your families the very best for the season and a happy and safe New Year!

See you in 2023...
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years.
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