FOCA Elert ~ October 2022

On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, FOCA wishes you and your family health and happiness. We are thankful for our beautiful Ontario waterfronts and the family memories created there.

The FOCA office will be closed on

Monday, October 10th, 2022 for the long weekend. 

FOCA Events

Register: FOCA Fall Seminar on Saturday, November 19, 2022 by webinar 9:00am - 12:00pm

Our annual Fall Seminar for Lake and Road Associations will be held by webinar this year, and the theme is "Gathering Momentum."

Ensure someone from your association is registered to join us for the release of a significant report about the economic impact of waterfront property owners across Ontario, updates on FOCA's top priorities, results from our recent surveys about cottage country's Top Issues, usage trends during the pandemic, and more. And, get a sneak peak at our revised FOCA website with a new login process for members-only benefits and resources. Also: association tips for engaging with your incoming municipal council as they head into their next 4-year term, with an emphasis on land use planning issues.

Register now or ask the office if anyone from your Association is registered yet.

FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living

Carbon monoxide safety

It's that time of year when we start running indoor heating devices. Whether you heat with gas, oil, propane or wood, or if you use a portable generator or have other gas appliances, you need to have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home(s). This year, Health Canada is reminding everyone to check alarms for a recognized certification mark to ensure they meet Canadian performance standards; otherwise, you're putting your family at risk. Learn more, and get a link to certification information, on FOCA's webpage:

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

Get Ready to Vote

With the Ontario municipal elections only a few weeks away, many all-candidates meetings are taking place in townships across the province. Remember: in municipal elections you are entitled to vote in each municipality where you or your spouse owns or rents property. Get all the details, and links to find out more about your own local candidates, on FOCA's webpage:

Short-term Rental developments

The Council of the Town of Collingwood, where short-term rentals have been banned in-town for several years, is reviewing the local by-law, expressing concerns about effective enforcement, given available resources. In other news, Minden town Council rejected a recent short-term rental's application to rezone as a resort. Get links to these and earlier news items on FOCA's webpage:

FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations

apply now: FOCA Achievement Award - Nominate your association for the 2022 Award!

The FOCA Achievement Award is presented annually to a FOCA Member Association to celebrate the successes of the FOCA community, and to encourage peer sharing of best practices. Large or small associations can apply, and accomplishments should be current, but can include long-standing efforts.

Apply by November 30th. The award will be presented at the FOCA Annual General Meeting of Members, scheduled for Saturday, March 4, 2023. Get details, the application form, and  information about past recipients on our webpage:

Remember to check out all the current member benefits for your Association, and our member families, here: If you need help accessing your benefits, email us.

FOCA's Silver level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.

Welcome our newest sponsor!

Bionest Wastewater Treatment

Do you need a new or improved septic system? Bionest offers solutions to substantial environmental challenges. Over the past 20 years, the BIONEST technology has been widely recognized as one of the most trustworthy solutions in the domestic wastewater industry.

The ZENITH product line is Bionest’s second generation of technology and improves upon their patented media by providing an even simpler treatment process while maintaining the reliable and robust features that made Bionest’s notoriety. These products contribute to a reduced ecological footprint, based on highly efficient wastewater treatment processes. For a quick video overview of how the system works, click the image below.

About the ZENITH residential product line (BST-BTT models):

  • Meets CAN/BNQ 3680-600 standard, class B-IV
  • Simple, reliable and robust technology
  • Permanent media
  • Compact and completely underground
  • Various configurations
  • Gravity fed
  • Low operating cost
  • Year round or seasonal use
  • Outstanding customer service

Promoting Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers

event recap: Great Lakes Public Forum

September 27-29, 2022 - FOCA was pleased to participate virtually in this year's Public Forum, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1972 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States.

The countries committed to establish a Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem target of net habitat gain.

Review performance indicators of the health of the Great Lakes in the "State of the Great Lakes 2022" report, posted online here

New By-laws: Tree Preservation & Site Alteration

September 14, 2022 - Muskoka Lakes Council has approved two by-laws that have been under consideration for many years: a tree preservation by-law and a site alteration by-law which apply to lands within 300 feet of a navigable waterway in the designated 'Waterfront Area' of the municipality. There are exemptions for certain situations, with permits required for the rest, with increased penalties for work done without permits. The by-laws are posted on the Township website, and background from the extensive consultation process is archived here.

By-law: Reducing Fertilizer, Herbicide & Pesticide Inputs

Another by-law worth mentioning to your own municipality was passed earlier this year by the Village of Sundridge in Parry Sound. The by-law aims to protect water quality by regulating chemical fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide inputs to prohibit their use within 50 metres of Lake Bernard. Read the bylaw posting.

Public Input on Great Lakes Water Quality Progress

The International Joint Commission (IJC) wants public feedback on the latest Great Lakes progress report of the Canadian and American governments. Read the notice from the IJC (PDF, 2 pages) that explains how to add your comments to the process.

Upcoming Events & Regional Notices

Kirkfield Lift Lock closing early

Parks Canada which administers the locks on the Trent Severn Waterway contacted FOCA with a notice advising that the Kirkfield Lift Lock will close for the season this Friday, October 7, 2022 (while the remainder of the locks will be open as usual through Monday, October 10). Mechanical failure early last month resulted in the Kirkfield closure. Since then, Parks Canada team members have been on-site working to transit vessels to their home ports that cannot be trailered. If you are affected, you must contact them today (October 6). Get important details in the notice (PDF, 1 page) 

register: Lake Links webinar

Saturday, October 22, 2022 from 10am to 12:30pm

FOCA is once again pleased to be a sponsor of this annual gathering of lake association representatives. Traditionally held in person in Perth in eastern Ontario, this year's event will be held by webinar and is focused on: Challenges and Solutions for Lake & River Health – how Associations have recognized threats on their lakes and rivers, and what steps they have taken to address themRegister for free here.

discount: Fall Cottage Life Show

November 11-13, 2022 at the International Centre, Mississauga. FOCA will be pleased to have a booth in-person at the Fall Cottage Life Show for the first time since the pandemic! And, you can use our access code FOCA22 for a $3 discount on the price of General Admission. Buy your tickets online here by November 10th to access this offer.

FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Dock in a Box

FOCA is Growing Capacity

FOCA's Annual Supporters 

In our September survey about cottage usage trends, we learned that those who are FOCA’s Annual Supporters are nearly twice as likely to be year-round residents at their waterfront property, and are also more likely to be long time (multi-generational) waterfront owners, with 2/3 saying their property had been in their family for 25 years or longer!

Whether seasonal or permanent waterfront enthusiasts, we thank our hundreds of Annual Supporters for your important contributions to our organization. FOCA encourages everyone to be a member of their local Association. We also appreciate the additional personal support of individuals and families who make annual contributions to FOCA.

Have you considered lending your extra support to FOCA? If you in a position to do so, please consider the options:

Final Thoughts

Shifting Baselines: forgetting what once was

Every generation is handed a world that has been shaped by their predecessors – and then seemingly forgets that fact.

In a short-but-influential paper published in 1995, legendary UBC fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly argued that this 'blind spot' meant scientists were failing to account fully for the slow creep of disappearing species. He coined this effect the Shifting Baseline Syndrome. Since then, the shifting baseline effect has been observed far more widely than the fisheries community; it takes place in any realm of society where a baseline creeps imperceptibly over generations.


Appreciating and protecting our rich Ontario waters and shorelines isn’t just a nostalgic effort, it is essential to better understand change over the long term, and to do our part to retain the resilience and future health of our lakes and rivers, so our kids and grandkids can experience the lake as we did.

With notes from our friends at the

Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia 

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

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