FOCA Elert ~ March 2023
Make sure you see all the updates -
you're at the end when you see this image again.
(image: arriving at the FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar on March 4, 2023)
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
FOCA's 60th anniversary Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Spring Seminar for Member Associations was held on March 4th, as we "came out of our shells" and returned to more in-person events - despite Mother Nature's best efforts to keep us from travelling due to intensely snowy weather!
For this event we had over 200 participants, both digitally and in-person. In addition to the business of the AGM, we had a full slate of speakers on cottage country hot topics including fire safety, Lyme disease and ticks, land use planning in a Bill 23 world, biodiversity and more hot topics. The extensive Event Summary (and links to all the slides presented) is available for all members to download, here:

If you need help with the member login, contact us for assistance during business hours.
Get your cottage ready with reliable and fast internet
Spring is here! Stay connected at the cottage with powerful WiFi coverage and reliable Ignite Internet, powered by wireless home internet technology.

Visit to view packages and check availability at your address, or visit the Rogers booth at your nearest cottage show. See you there!
Orillia Home Show Apr 22nd - 23rd
Barnfield Point Recreation Centre, 500 Atherley Rd, Orillia, ON L3V 1A1
Bay of Quinte Home Show Apr 28th - 30th
Trenton Arena, 240 RCAF Road, Trenton, ON K0K 3W0
FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living
Mandatory PFD Wear Under Consideration
Over the last 12 years of OPP marine unit statistics, of the 289 boaters who have died on the water, 88% of them were not wearing a PFD (personal floatation device), and more than 85% were in vessels shorter than 6 metres in length. As part of making the boating experience safer, FOCA has long encouraged everyone to wear a PFD when on the water, as have our colleagues at the Lifesaving Society, Canadian Safe Boating Council, Boating Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police and others.
This Spring, Transport Canada will be seeking input on proposed changes to Small Vessel Regulations which would require all boaters and passengers to wear a PFD on boats. The public review will take place through the Let's Talk Transportation website likely starting in April.

In the meantime, tell FOCA what you think: Should PFD wear become mandatory?

Please take FOCA's quick anonymous survey by April 15th, 2023, and share the link with others:
Spring Freshet Safety
The “freshet” is the annual spring thaw of snow and ice in our watersheds. Quick melts and heavy rain can contribute to flooding, as ground that is still frozen does not absorb extra moisture easily. Even if your current watershed conditions are not suggesting higher flood risks, conditions can change quickly, and bring the potential for near-shore flooding; being prepared is the best possible approach for waterfront property owners.
Learn more about being prepared, and find links to flood messaging, on FOCA's Water Levels webpage.

Also, read how Ontario Power Generation is using simulated scenarios to prepare their teams for the spring freshet this year.
TSW Seasonal Water Level Notice
In related news: with the onset of snowmelt and a significant amount of rain forecasted coupled with warm temperatures, flows and water levels are expected to increase at all locations across the Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW), as the rain and melting snow work their way through the system. The TSW Management Team will be active throughout, and changing conditions will be closely monitored. Any watershed conditions updates will be released by your Conservation Authority or local Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources district.
upcoming events: FOCA Cottage Succession Seminars
FOCA is thrilled to be on the road again with estate lawyer Peter Lillico, helping families to plan for the intergenerational transfer of the cottage! We hope you'll join us at one of our 2023 events, or speak with us about becoming a host for an event for your member Association (a few 2023 spots remain!). Here's the event calendar, so far:
  • March 22, 2023 (completed) by webinar for the Sunny Lake Cottage Association
  • Sat., June 3rd in-person for Hastings Highlands FOCA member groups including the Baptiste Lake Association, Diamond Lake Cottage Owners Association, Kamaniskeg Area Property Owners, Lake St. Peter Property Owners' Association, Mink Lake Property Owners Association, Papineau Lake Cottagers Association, and the Salmon Trout Property Owners Association
  • Wed., June 7th by webinar for the Bennett & Fagan Lakes Association
  • Wed., June 14th by webinar for the Severn River Assoc. of Property Owners
  • Wed., June 21st by webinar for the Farlain Lake Community Association

Learn more about the topic, purchase access to a digital recording of a previous session, and get event details on our webpage:
FOCA's Gold Level Sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA 2022 Achievement Award
Congratulations to the Wolfe Lake Association Westport in South Frontenac, recipients of the 2022 FOCA Achievement Award! This annual Award celebrates the successes of the FOCA community and encourages us all to share success stories and best practices among member associations.

The Wolfe Lake Association is celebrated for their “Let’s Get the Lead Out” initiative.
Over 170 pounds of lead fishing tackle was collected in 2022, keeping this source of contamination out of the waterway. Neighbouring lake associations joined the initiative, and a grant from South Frontenac Township helped to fund $10 vouchers for those who turned in lead fishing tackle. Learn more:

The award was presented by FOCA Board President Ian Crawford to Margie Manthey of the Association, who was one of the project leads on the Lead Tackle Buy-Back Program.

FOCA also awarded a number of Honourable Mentions for 2022 Association accomplishments: Kamaniskeg Area Property Owners, Menominee Lake Association, Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners Association, Talpines Property Owners Association.

Congratulations, all! Learn more about each of their association success stories:
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
CLEO survey: Nonprofits' Legal Needs
FOCA's colleagues at Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) have launched an Ontario-wide survey to get a picture of the legal needs of nonprofits relating to governance, employment law, and privacy/record keeping. The survey is anonymous and has 15 questions that will help CLEO tailor future legal supports, but may also help your association become aware of related documents and tools that might be available to you. Click here to take the survey. Members: Please forward this information to the appropriate representative in your association!
TIP: Have you consulted these FOCA member resources?
FOCA wants volunteer associations to thrive! FOCA is the hub of a network of 525 member Associations with critical first-hand information about governance practices, engagement, success stories, and shared experiences. There is no need to “reinvent the wheel” when there are handy resources to be shared among FOCA members.
First, login on the FOCA Association Governance & Best Practices webpage for access to these materials and more:

  • digital download: Starting & Building an Effective Waterfront/Lake Association, or Starting & Building an Effective Road Association
  • webinar recording: how incorporated associations can comply with the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act by the deadline in 2024
  • templates for creating a full Association Welcome Binder, or a handy one-page visitor etiquette and information sheet.
Next, visit the Economic Impact webpage for access to FOCA's 2022 report on the $11.44B annual spend by waterfront property owners (WPO) in Ontario, including a breakdown (see the appendix) by upper-tier municipality of numbers of waterfront properties, and associated annual spend & local job impacts.

Then, learn about how to leverage this information, raise your political voice, and engage effectively with your municipal partners, on FOCA's Municipal Government webpage.

Don't have or can't recall the FOCA member login?
Contact us for assistance during business hours.
Sharing Member Success Stories
Ongoing Haliburton Work to Understand Eurasian Watermilfoil
FOCA member group, the Drag and Spruce Lakes Property Owners Association, has undertaken a longer-term study on the impacts and potential controls of Eurasian watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive plant. They hope others will be able to benefit from their experience. Review their work in a short video (also the source of the image at the side), which is posted here:
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government
Underused Housing Tax Update
Are you an affected owner of residential property in Canada that needs to file the Underused Housing Tax form to the Canadian Revenue Agency by April 30, 2023? Find out who is affected, get updates about filing penalties, and a link to the tax form on FOCA's webpage:
Floating Accommodations
FOCA has made official comment on the public consultation about Floating Accommodations. The original proposal underwent wording amendments in response to concerns raised by the boating community that, as written, it could change or limit boat mooring access. The Environmental Registry public comment period continues to April 11, 2023. Get information and read FOCA’s submission on our webpage:
Parks Canada - Waterway Investment
March 22, 2023 - The network of protected areas administered by Parks Canada received an announcement of approximately $74 million over three years, for projects related to critical infrastructure improvements along the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site, which welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year. This investment will include repairs to the Kirkfield Lift Lock and recapitalization at Lock 42 - Couchiching, as well as Little Chute Dam "G" near Port Severn, and Healey Falls Locks 16 and 17, among other undertakings. Read more from Parks Canada (download PDF, 3 pages).
FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers
new funds: Green Shovels - Invasive Phragmites Projects
Following successful projects by FOCA member Associations undertaken in 2022 with Green Shovels Collaborative funding, FOCA is pleased to issue a new call for funding proposals from our member Associations for on-the-ground projects focused on invasive Phragmites, to start this summer and be completed by February 2024. Apply by May 1st for up to $4,000 in funding. Access the application form on our webpage:
Celebrating World Water Day
March 22, 2023 was World Water Day, and FOCA posted to Facebook about how blessed we are in Ontario, bordering on 4 of the 5 Great Lakes, and with over 250,000 named inland lakes that all need our care and attention. Thanks to everyone across our province who works tirelessly on behalf of the future generations that will enjoy these beautiful waterways because of your commitment to stewardship!

Have you connected with us on Facebook yet? Please do.
Celebrating 60 Years of FOCA
Our Shared History
On January 7th, 1963, 125 people representing 40 cottage associations met and decided the time was right to form a provincial association. By the spring of 1963, the organization was called The Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations. Today, FOCA represents 50,000 families in more than 525 lake, road, river and residents' associations.
Were you involved with FOCA in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s?
We have few photographs from that era of our organizational history. If you have images of past FOCA events or directors, historic pictures of your own lake Association in action through the decades, or images that capture the essence of cottage country, please share them with FOCA this year.

CALL-TO-ACTION: We're looking for your help identifying FOCA Directors and volunteers from the 1960s. Please reach out to us if you can help us to verify the identity of individuals and organizations that were involved in the early days of FOCA, so we can invite them to share in our Silver Anniversary celebration later this year!!
YOUR NEXT ROLE: Upload your images to our community photo project: "Ontario Cottaging through the Decades." Please use this link and share it with other cottage country enthusiasts:

Each month throughout 2023, we'll share some of the submitted photos in the Elert.
Here's another amazing submission:
This photo, submitted by Jane Bunnett, is believed to show the first cottage built on Lake St. Peter (Hastings Highlands) in the1930s with pine logs cut from the property by Allan McCormack (pictured) who was Jane's grandfather. Jane and her husband Larry still own the property today, and have kept the original cabin on the property. Thanks for sharing this with us!
There are many ways YOU can contribute to FOCA's 60th anniversary celebrations:

  1. submit pictures to our archival photo project
  2. hold the date & plan 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 Silver Level Sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Partner Updates & Regional Notices
2023 Spring Cottage Life Show
March 23-26, 2023: FOCA was busy at the Spring Cottage Life Show last week! It was wonderful to see everyone in person, and to browse the aisles looking for this year's cottage essentials and temptations.
Peter Lillico, the estate lawyer who delivers FOCA's Cottage Succession Seminars, spoke on the Cottage Life Main Stage each day to standing-room-only crowds about tips for passing the cottage to the kids. (Remember to register for an upcoming session with Peter, or check out his video recordings.)
Saugeen Valley Watershed Report Card Released
The Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA - including Bruce, Dufferin, Huron, Grey and Wellington Counties) has released its comprehensive summary of the state of water quality, forests and wetlands in the Saugeen Valley from 2017 to 2021. Prepared in partnership with Conservation Ontario every 5 years, this "report card" offers essential insights into the current conditions and trends in the watershed. Get details online here from SVCA.
Thunder Bay Area Workshops & Guided Hikes
The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority is leading a series of workshops and guided hikes as part of their 2023 Watershed Explorer Programs running from April through September this year. Sign up for an "Owl Prowl", "Birding 101", "Spring Photo Workshop", "Fall Mushroom Hike" and more! Find details and links to register:
Muskoka Water Quality Report Released
Our member group, the Muskoka Lakes Association, has released their 2022 water quality report as part of 20 years of volunteer-driven data collection. The report includes data about Lakes Muskoka, Rosseau, Joseph, as well as nearby affiliated lakes and river courses. Get details about the 2022 regional results online here:
upcoming webinar series: Freshwater Stewardship Community
Our colleagues at Watersheds Canada are hosting 4 webinars:
  • April 5, 2023 - "What Makes a River 'Healthy'? exploring the health of the Upper St. Lawrence River
  • April 10, 2023 - "Biomonitoring & project STREAM" using DNA metabarcoding to analyze bulk samples of benthic macroinvertebrates from rivers across Canada
  • April 17, 2023 - "Community Climate Data Tracking in Prince Edward Island"
  • April 27, 2023 - "Bank Swallows" by Birds Canada
Get details about each event and register on the Watersheds Canada website.
(also the source of the image above)
upcoming webinar series: Baseline Coastal Habitat Survey for the Canadian Great Lakes
April 19-20 and 26-27, 2023 - Register to attend a webinar series about a novel baseline coastal habitat survey for the Canadian Great Lakes that was recently completed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Existing coastal habitats including wetlands, shorelines, inland lakes and ponds have been catalogued, classified, mapped and surveyed. Click to download an overview (PDF, 3 pages) which includes the link to register for all 4 sessions.
FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA is Building Capacity & Growing the Network
Water Canada Advisory Board Appointee
We're proud to announce that FOCA's own resident water expert, Executive Director Terry Rees, has been named to the 2023-24 Water Canada Advisory Board!

Learn more, and link to Water Canada's extensive online resources, here:
FOCA's Board of Directors
At the 2023 AGM, we thanked 5 outgoing FOCA Board Directors for their volunteer service to our organization!
  • Terry Beettam
  • Tony Lepine
  • Barb LeVasseur
  • Wendy Lyttle
  • Daryle Moffatt
We are also pleased to welcome two new Board Directors:
  • Mo Jansons
  • Michael Peterson

Learn more about all our Board and our Staff on this webpage: Our Team
Final Thoughts
Stewardship Bingo
We each have an important role to play, in the health of the Ontario waterfront. The choices we make at our waterfronts - from naturalized shorelines to maintained septic systems - have a direct impact on water quality and healthy and happy rural communities.

Are you a "Stellar Steward"? A "Water Winner"? A "Potential Protector"? Download FOCA's Stewardship BINGO card to find out (PDF, 1 page). Give yourself 1 point for each action you've taken, then tally up your results. How'd you rate? Then share this BINGO card with a friend.
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years.
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