Welcome to the Canada Day Long Weekend!

FOCA Elert ~ late June 2023

We have tonnes of news! Make sure you see all the updates -

you're at the end when you see this image again:

Register now to Celebrate with us in September

A message from the Executive Director

Spend a minute and a half catching up with Terry Rees, FOCA's Executive Director, in this video address about the Canada Day long weekend, fire safety, and our upcoming 60th anniversary celebration event this September:

Connections: Celebrating 60 Years

Plan to join us at FOCA's 60th anniversary celebrations, on Saturday September 23rd, 2023 in Peterborough at the Market Hall!

We're looking forward to a fun gathering with friends, the FOCA Board of Directors (current and past), some music, memories, and more. The theme of the event is "Connections": to community, to each other, and to the water!

Come for the full experience including a cocktail reception with the Board, or join just in time to participate in the silent auction in support of the next 60 years of FOCA! We're looking forward to celebrating with you. Registration will open in early July. Visit our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/60-years/

Get your cottage ready with reliable and fast internet

Stay connected at the cottage with powerful WiFi coverage and reliable Ignite Internet, powered by wireless home internet technology.

Visit rogers.com/WHI to view packages and check availability at your address, or visit the Rogers booth at your nearest cottage show.

FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living

Ontario Wildfire Conditions

We're only at the start of forest fire season, but we've already surpassed the previous annual record (from 1989) for sq.km. of forest burned! Read more in this National Observer post.

Many parts of Ontario remain under fire bans, with outdoor burning regulations in effect. In addition, smoke warnings have been issued widely, and travel/use and access restrictions are in place for some regions, to protect the public and enable fire services to conduct their work. Be fire safe, and get the links to important resources here: https://foca.on.ca/fire-safety/. (image credit: Thomas Moline via Ontario Forest Fire Twitter post June 28, 2023)

Fireworks during a Provincial Fire Ban?

QUESTION: With large parts of Ontario currently under a provincial Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ) - that is, everything in the accompanying map that is "hatched" in this image from 11:00am on June 29/23 - does that mean fireworks are also prohibited this long weekend?

Get the answer on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/fireworks-flying-lanterns/#news

Forest Fire Safety

An important related message from our partners at Ontario Forest Fires (a Twitter account of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry):

"It is illegal and dangerous to fly drones (also known as UAVs or RPAS) within 9 km of any active woodland fire. Doing so puts the lives of pilots, firefighters and emergency personnel at risk."

Please, stay clear of forest fires and let the fire service do their jobs. Learn more here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/drones-waterbombers-restricted-airspace-during-forest-fires

EORN announces more Cell Gap Project services

June 14, 2023 - FOCA's partners at the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN), together with the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure, Infrastructure Canada, and Rogers Communications announced that improved cell service is now available for the first time in nine underserved eastern Ontario areas. This is part of EORN's ongoing Cell Gap Project, a $300 million public-private partnership to improve and expand cellular services across rural eastern Ontario. Read more about developments in this area and others, and about how tower siting decisions are made, on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/rural-internet/

SaveStations Placed by FOCA Members

In early June, our members from the Lake Rosseau North Association celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony for an automated external defibrillator (AED) at the Rosseau General Store. There are now 3 AEDs in the village, and 2 others at the waterfront and sports field. One was used over the May long weekend! Learn more about this and other community "SaveStation" placements, from our partners at Action First Aid (source of the image above).

If you missed FOCA's webinar about cardiac safe communities in May, you can catch up by watching the recording on our Emergency Preparedness webpage.

FOCA Cottage Succession Seminars

FOCA is thrilled to be on the road again with estate lawyer Peter Lillico, helping families plan for the intergenerational transfer of the cottage! We hosted four events in June for member families, including an in-person event in Maynooth for over one hundred Hastings Highlands area members. (source of the image at the side)

We'll have a few more sessions coming up this fall, including:

  • Wed. Sept. 6th webinar; host: Big Basswood Lake Property Owners’ Assoc.
  • Thurs. Sept. 14th webinar; host: Four Mile Lake Association

Learn more about the topic, and purchase access to a digital recording of a previous session, here: https://foca.on.ca/cottage-succession/

NEW - BetterBoater app

Our colleagues at the Canadian Safe Boating Council have released a new safety app called BetterBoater.

The app includes a digital, searchable version of Transport Canada's Safe Boating Guide, along with a video library of boating tips and safety information on various boat types and boating scenarios.

Whether you are new to boating or a seasoned boater, learn more and download the app today:


reminder: Underused Housing Tax

Associations: have you informed your American members about the Underused Housing Tax (UHT) yet? Those who owned some types of residential property in Canada on December 31, 2022 and are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents must file a UHT return with the Canadian Revenue Agency by October 31, 2023 (a special extension for this inaugural year; the filing date will revert to March 31st in subsequent years), even if the property qualifies for an exemption from the tax. Non-Canadians who need to apply for an Individual Tax Number (ITN) from CRA as part of this process should do so as soon as possible; we've learned it can take up to 8 weeks to get an ITN. Details and important links are posted on our Taxation webpage.

FOCA's Gold Level Sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government

Floating Accommodations

After the close of a public consultation period on the issue, on June 23rd the Province of Ontario issued a statement clarifying restrictions on "floating accommodations" including a prohibition on their docking overnight on provincial waterways, effective July 1, 2023. According to the Province's wording, the prohibition applies to rafts and barges that contain buildings or structures equipped for overnight accommodation, but that - unlike watercraft - are not primarily designed for navigation. However, this will not address areas under jurisdiction of other governments and ministries, such as the Trent Severn Waterway. Separately, efforts continue to get Transport Canada (TC) to change their designation of these structures from "vessels" to "float homes" following the example already set in British Columbia. Get a link to the Province's statement, links to templates of letters to TC, and background on this issue here: https://foca.on.ca/floating-accommodations/

Short Term Rental

The subject of short term rental (STR) is a hot topic on many municipal agendas throughout the province this year. At the moment the Township of Muskoka Lakes is wrapping up a public survey period (respond by July 4th, 2023), while French River is in deliberation; Port Colborne, the City of Kawartha Lakes, the City of Orillia, Seguin Township and Gravenhurst have all made recent decisions about whether to license, charge annual fees or fines, or prohibit STR altogether in their neighbourhoods.

FOCA members and municipal partners can access FOCA's 2022 Report on STR with an overview of the issues, municipal options and templates for educational resources to better educate rural renters. FOCA is also quoted in a recent CBC News article on the topic of STR and municipal responses. Get links to all these items and more, on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/rental/

Minden Emergency Room has closed

As we reported the breaking news in last month's Elert, Haliburton Highlands Health Services has now closed the Minden hospital emergency room effective June 1st, citing "serious staffing shortages". After public pressure, on June 20th the Province announced it will open a summer weekend "urgent care clinic" at the site, but emergency cases will still need to travel to Haliburton, 25 minutes away. Read updates on this and related news on our Rural Services webpage. (image: HaliburtonEcho.com)

Risk Management for Associations

FOCA and our partners at Cade Associates Insurance Brokers, who administer the FOCA Association Liability Insurance Program, are quoted extensively in this recent Cottage Life article, about municipalities that are now requiring cottagers to have liability insurance for a wide range of uses and activities. Members can learn more here: https://foca.on.ca/risk-management-insurance/

FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers

Green Shovels - Invasive Phragmites

FOCA's Executive Director was in Kenora in northwestern Ontario last week, visiting with our largest member group, the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA), and talking about regional programming to prevent the spread of invasive Phragmites. This regional coordination is in addition to FOCA's support this year of several member lake groups who are taking on-the-ground actions to manage invasive Phragmites. (pictured: Kenora District MP Eric Melillo, LOWDSA President Garth Collier, FOCA Executive Director Terry Rees)

Phragmites is an aggressively spreading grass that has become one of the most significant threats to wetland habitats in Ontario, where it drastically reduces plant and wildlife diversity and threatens species at risk. Learn more about Phragmites, and the work of the Green Shovels Collaborative, here: https://foca.on.ca/phragmites.


FOCA is very pleased to announce that the IsampleON 3.0 program is underway for 2023! Volunteers have been selected at dozens of lakes across Ontario's ecoregion 5E, and soon the sampling kits will be sent out for water sampling to take place later this summer. This year's samples will be tested for European water chestnut and water soldier, using cutting-edge eNDA testing. Learn more on our program webpage: ttps://foca.on.ca/isampleon/

July is "Lakes Appreciation" Month

As a proud member of the North American Lakes Management Society (NALMS), FOCA is pleased to celebrate the 25th annual Lakes Appreciation Month alongside partners across Canada and the US. Now is the time to organize a local shoreline cleanup, or a boat, hike or biking event with a focus on your own lake. Please share pictures of your lake appreciation activities with FOCA! NALMS posts a range of ideas to draw from, here: https://www.nalms.org/lakes-appreciation-month/

event recap: 2023 Water Canada Summit

June 7-9, 2023 (Ottawa) - FOCA participated in the "Water Connects" summit to network with partners in the national water community and attend technical sessions and panel discussions on policy and industry innovations related to drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and more. See video, photos, and the winners of the 2023 "Waters Next" Awards here: https://watersummit.ca/. (pictured at the Summit: Terry Rees of FOCA; Meredith Brown, Ottawa Riverkeeper emeritus; and Jonathan Riberdy of the Zhiibaahaasing First Nation)

Clean + Drain + Dry!

BOATERS: we have a shared responsibility to keep our waterways safe and clean! In Ontario, it's the law: you must clean, drain and dry your boat before moving it between lakes (or rivers). This helps prevent the spread of invasive species like Zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny waterflea and many more.

Be part of the solution! Learn how and then spread the word: https://foca.on.ca/invasive-species/

FOCA's Silver Level Sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Partner Updates & Regional Notices

Chandos Lake: Launch of Boat Cleaning Station

June 19, 2023 - FOCA's Executive Director was in attendance at the opening launch of a CD3 boat cleaning station at a public boat launch on Highway 620 on Chandos Lake in the Kawarthas. The cleaning station was obtained through a partnership between the Chandos Lake Property Owners Association and the Township of North Kawartha, through their matching grant program. This free-to-use waterless wash station will help to prevent the introduction of invasive species into the lake. Learn more about these systems from our partners at CD3: https://www.cd3systems.com/

Alliance Meeting of Kawarthas area Organizations

June 24, 2023 - FOCA's Manager of Communications, Michelle Lewin, participated in a meeting of two dozen regional environmental organizations, lake associations and municipal representatives in Lakefield. This is an opportunity to share success stories, hear about emerging issues and ongoing challenges, and build communications channels!

Timmins: Tent caterpillars

As reported by our colleagues at Cottage Life on June 15, 2023, forest tent caterpillars (Malacosoma disstria) are severely defoliating forests around Timmins, Ontario. Ontario's forest health monitoring program reports that this is the second year of infestation, and some forest surveys show losses of 75 to 100% of the trees' leaves. For tips on how to identify these caterpillars, and tips for managing them (hint: think honey or soap rather than insecticides), read the Cottage Life article (source of the image above, credited to Dan Rowlinson of the Ontario forest health monitoring program).

Muskoka Planning Activity Map

The Township of Muskoka Lakes has launched an online "Planning Activity Map" on the Muskoka GeoHub. It currently includes in-progress and completed applications for minor variances and, where available, related official decision documents. The intent is to eventually include applications for Official Plan and Zoning By-Law Amendments as well. Access the map here.

Residents of the District of Muskoka should also take the opportunity to shape their future through the District's consultation on a new Strategic Plan: https://www.engagemuskoka.ca/strategic-plan

Havelock: Water Solder Watch Day

Thursday, July 13, 2023 at 10:00am on Seymour Lake (boat launch by the Cenotaph on Monument Road, south of Havelock) - join our partners at the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) to monitor and track the spread of invasive water soldier in the Trent-Severn Waterway. Volunteers with small boats, canoes or kayaks are needed. Interested? Contact nic_love@ofah.org or call 705-748-6324 ext. 241 (Please remember to tell them FOCA sent you!)

Lake Huron Shoreline - potential erosion changes mapped

As reported by CBC News on June 22, 2023, a new study from the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority in southwestern Ontario suggests Lake Huron's shoreline will look dramatically different in 100 years, due to wave erosion and less lake ice that usually protects the coastline from winter storm damage. The maps they've created are for municipalities and the county to have better information for future planning. Read the CBC article. (image at the side taken from the MVCA 100 Year Erosion Potential maps)

Haliburton Highlands Land Trust events

Our partners at HHLT invite you to participate in their upcoming July events:

  • Thurs., July 20th at 7pm (Minden) - learn about The Highlands Corridor and how you can help to protect it.
  • Sat., July 22, 2022 at 8pm (Dahl Forest) - "Go Batty" on a late evening walk with special bat listening devices.

Pre-registration is required for each event. Learn more, and register on the HHLT website.

FOCA is Building Capacity

Welcome to our newest Board Directors!

Please join us in welcoming the two newest members of our volunteer FOCA Board of Directors:

  • Richard Peters of the Sunny Lake Cottage Association (Gravenhurst)

  • Harry Kim of the Loon Lake Property Owners Association (Haliburton)

We offer our gratitude to you for dedicating your time to our organization! Your contributions are welcomed.

Learn more about all the Board and the FOCA staff, on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/about/team/

Celebrating 60 Years of FOCA

There are many ways YOU can contribute to FOCA's 60th anniversary celebrations:

  1. submit pictures to our archival photo project
  2. register to join us for our 60th anniversary celebration event on Saturday, September 23rd in Peterborough, Ontario
  3. make a donation today to support the future of FOCA's work on behalf of waterfront Ontario
  4. PSSST! Pass it on. Be part of our campaign to refer a friend or an association to become a new FOCA Member, and you could win a prize this year.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Volunteers like you make this organization strong.

FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Dock in a Box
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations

Congratulations, KLRA!

FOCA's Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator, Gavin Vance, delivered well wishes and a celebratory certificate from FOCA to our member group the Kahshe Lake Ratepayers Association on the occasion of their 100th anniversary, at their AGM held on June 24, 2023.

If your Member Association is celebrating a milestone this year, please let FOCA know!

upcoming webinars: Nonprofit Governance & Recordkeeping

Our partners at Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) are holding two July webinars that may be of interest, especially to our incorporated member associations:

Friday, July 7, 2023 from 11:00am to 1:00pm - Introduction to Nonprofit Governance, exploring the rights, duties and liabilities of members, directors and officers of a nonprofit organization, including different ways to structure membership and boards. Register here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 from 11:00am to 1:00pm - Introduction to Privacy Law and Recordkeeping for Nonprofits: what records are nonprofit corporations required to keep, and who has a right to access them? Plus, an overview of privacy law and when to to whom it applies. Register here.

Each webinar is free and will include an extensive Q&A session, so bring your individual association questions!

ASSOCIATION TIP: Give a Report About FOCA at your AGM
Help your fellow members understand the work that FOCA does year-round on their behalf, and the benefits they have access to because of your Association's annual membership in FOCA. Contact the office to ask for a short set of slides: "About FOCA" and a script you can use to explain in 5 minutes why your annual contribution is money well spent!
Final Thoughts

Happy Canada Day Long Weekend!

We hope you get to spend the holiday weekend

with the people you love, in the place you love best.


FOCA Office Hours:

Please note the FOCA office will be closed on Monday, July 3rd, 2023 in lieu of the July 1st statutory holiday.

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years.
Connect with our channels:
Facebook  Twitter  Youtube  
Find out more about YOUR ROLE, today.
Did someone forward this to you? Join over 19,000 fellow subscribers:
Click here to get 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.