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FOCA Elert ~ April 2024

Make sure you see all the updates! You're at the end when you see this FOCA banner again.

FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government

Capital Gains Tax Change

FOCA is concerned about a change to Canadian capital gains tax announced by the federal government on April 16th, that will negatively impact the 150,000 seasonal cottage owners in Ontario alone, when it comes time for them to transfer the cottage to the next generation. Read FOCA's letter to the government on the matter in the "Latest News" section of our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/property-taxation-assessment/.

YOUR ROLE: Download a customizable template letter from the webpage above, to write your own MP and tell them how this change affects your family. Please copy FOCA on your letters.

Drinking Water Testing in Ontario

Despite recent media accounts to the contrary, it is FOCA's understanding there is no intention to end private drinking water testing in Ontario. Read FOCA's letter to the Premier, Minister of Health, and President/CEO of Public Health Ontario on the topic, from a link on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/source-water-protection/ 

Support FOCA's Advocacy Efforts

Help FOCA continue to support thriving and sustainable waterfronts across Ontario for future generations, through our government advocacy and education.

Become a Friend of FOCA or make a one-time or recurring donation today.

Your support matters!

FOCA Events - Register Now

upcoming webinar: Practical Tips for Creating Cardiac Safe Cottages & Communities

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 from 12-1pm - Join us for an important one hour FOCA "lunch-n-learn webinar" brought to you by event sponsor Action First Aid. This is a FREE public webinar for everyone interested in top tips for cottagers and lake associations to help create a cardiac-safe community at your lake. Come out and learn something that might save a life! Register here.

upcoming webinar: FireSmart Tips for the 2024 Ontario Cottage Season - increase your property's resilience to wildland fire

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 from 12-1pm - Join us for another one hour "lunch-n-learn webinar" with FOCA and our partners at the Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Memories of the 2023 fire season are still close at hand: a record-breaking 741 fires and 441,000 hectares of forests burned (almost three times the 10 year average!). Learn what individuals can do to make waterfront properties more resilient in the face of fire threats. This is a FREE public webinar. Register here.

(image: Sioux Lookout, late 2023 fire season @ONforestfires social media account)

upcoming webinar: Seize the Time or Take Your Time

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 from 7-8:30pm by Zoom webinar - Register to join FOCA and estate lawyer Peter Lillico for a “deep dive” into issues of timing for your family's cottage succession plan. This talk provides an overview of updated taxation considerations associated with transferring the cottage to the next generation, and funding solutions depending upon when the transfer will happen: now, later, gradually, or upon death of the cottage owner(s). The talk concludes with a deeper dive into the use of trusts as an asset protection plan. MEMBERS register for free here; remember to tell us your FOCA affiliation when you register!

Not a member, but still want to attend this cottage succession seminar?

  • Pay the $30 non-member fee per registrant, then register using the link above.
  • Or become a Friend of FOCA (our paid annual supporter category) to receive free access to all FOCA Cottage Succession events over the coming year, plus additional supporter benefits.

Rogers Connectivity

Get your cottage ready with easy, worry-free, 5G Home Internet!

Stay connected at the cottage this spring with new 5G Home Internet, powered by Canada’s largest and most reliable 5G network. Visit rogers.com/WHI to try it, risk-free.


Visit the Rogers display at these upcoming cottage country events:

  • Bay of Quinte Home Show (April 26-28)
  • Home & Cottage Expo, Owen Sound (May 11-12)
  • Haliburton Home Show and Cottage Show (May 31 - June 2, 2024)

Cade's Corner

our partners in risk management & administrators of

the FOCA Association Insurance Program and CottageFirst

Emergency Preparedness: Rain, Hail & Windstorms

In the face of unpredictable Spring weather, being personally prepared can make all the difference. Download and share a 2-page overview from Cade Associates, with some essential considerations and tips for braving heavy rainstorms, relentless winds, or destructive hail. From fortifying your home to assembling an emergency kit, there is lots you can do to help your family and your property weather the storm!  

FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living

Spring Water Levels & Safety

Despite low snowpack, an abnormally warm February, and an early freshet in some regions, there are current flood watches or warnings in place for several parts of the province this week. As one example, the City of North Bay is making sandbags available to residents in anticipation of shoreline damage due to rising Lake Nipissing water levels.

Remember that any waterway has the potential to be dangerous during extensive rain or strong wind events, as riverbanks become saturated and slippery. If you are out boating already, be #WakeAware as high water conditions mean more threat to docks, shorelines, and the loons that are returning to our waterways after their winter travels. Get links to important high water resources, including the Ontario flood map (source of the image at the side, from April 22, 2024), on FOCA's webpage: https://foca.on.ca/water-levels/

FireSmart at the Cottage

Spring is the perfect time to increase your wildland fire resilience. With some simple actions around your property, you can significantly reduce the risk of wildland fires affecting structures on your property. Start in the Immediate Zone and work out to the Extended Zone: download a 1 page poster.

Some additional tips and resources:

Short-Term Rental Updates

April 2024 - the City of Kawartha Lakes (CKL) is reminding short-term rental (STR) owners/operators that the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit considers them to be owners and operators of "Small Drinking Water Systems" under Ontario Regulation 319/08; as such, owners must conduct regular water sampling and testing, and maintain a log book of results and maintenance activities. As part of the CKL's STR education program, they have also posted a local "STR Information Sheet for Renters & Owners" and a related "Complaints Sheet". Get links to these and earlier news and related resources, from the "Latest News" section of FOCA's webpage: https://foca.on.ca/rental/

"No Wake" Signs?

A FOCA member was recently contacted by Transport Canada (TC) about a non-compliant in-water buoy in front of their property that stated "No Wake Zone". TC directed that the buoy be removed, as there is no such designation under TC regulations. Our member investigated further, read the TC Private Buoys Guide, and sourced a local company to design and print a new label suited to TC's standards. Members can login for more information about the sign design, costs, and list of potential buoy suppliers on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/boating/#shoal. Thanks to member Ken H. for sharing his research!

FOCA's Gold Level Sponsors

sponsors support our work, please support them

FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers

Lake Partner Program (LPP)

With early ice-off this year, the Lake Partner Program is already beginning to see spring water samples coming back to the lab. (1st and 2nd received are pictured at the side!) Meanwhile, the last of the 2024 kits are just being mailed out to the hundreds of volunteers across the province. Remember that volunteers from lakes on the Canadian Shield collect just one water sample for total phosphorus in May, while those off-Shield sample each month from May to October. Learn more about the important work of our volunteers who sample Ontario's freshwater inland lakes: https://foca.on.ca/lake-partner-program/

Boat Cleaning to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species - there's an APP for that!

CD3 Systems, one of FOCA’s valued Corporate Sponsors, has launched a new “Check-In, Check-Out” (CICO) boat cleaning instructions APP to help prevent the spread of invasive species. Learn about the free CICO Program and how you could use it at your local boat launch, from a link in the "Latest News" section of our boating webpage: https://foca.on.ca/boating/

New Study on Ballast Water & Aquatic Invasive Species

FOCA is often asked about the role played by ballast water from international freighters as a source of spread of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. A recent Michigan Sea Grant & Michigan State University study (source of the image at the side) investigated the efficacy of stricter ballast guidelines since 2006. Get a link to the study in the "Latest News" section of FOCA's webpage: https://foca.on.ca/invasive-species/

Earth Day

Monday, April 22nd was #EarthDay2024 and this year's theme is 'Planet vs. Plastics'. We hope you got to enjoy the great outdoors, hug a tree, pick up some litter if you found any, and learn about the threat posed to our waterways and our health by plastics. Read more: https://foca.on.ca/plastics/

Related Microplastics Research

A study was recently published by University of Waterloo researchers who have discovered a way to remove 94% of microplastics from water using a process called thermal decomposition, converting epoxy into activated carbon capable of removing nano-plastics. Next steps could involve ways to scale-up for testing in municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Read the article posted by Water Canada in March.

Lake Management & Community Engagement: a new paper

A group of international limnologists including Dr. Norman Yan of the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed who is well-known to FOCA followers, has published a scientific paper on a generic lake management framework for monitoring, restoring, and protecting lakes through community engagement. The writers of the paper include 14 authors from three continents. Access a link to the paper and a larger version of the framework diagram on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/lake-planning/

FOCA's Silver Level Sponsors

sponsors support our work, please support them

Partner Updates & Regional Notices

Love Your Lake Microgrants

Groups that have already participated in the 'Love Your Lake' shoreline evaluation program (of Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation) are eligible to apply for up to $500 per group for shoreline naturalization projects that contribute to lake health. Projects must demonstrate community involvement! Apply by June 3, 2024 for projects to be completed this year. Get the details here.

Oak Wilt

Because oak wilt has been found in Ontario (in the City of Niagara Falls, Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Township of Springwater), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (source of the images at the side) is strongly advising arborists, landscapers, and property owners not to prune oak trees from April to November, and is reminding the public not to move firewood. This will help prevent the spread of this potentially devastating disease that could seriously damage Canada's oak tree population. Learn the signs and symptoms of oak wilt, and how to report sightings.

For our Municipal Partners:

New Flood Risk Tool

A new tool has been developed by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation and the University of Waterloo that is intended to help municipalities better prepare for floods. Access the tool online here.

Investment in Simcoe Youth Stewardship

Last week the Ontario government announced funding for local projects to help restore and protect Lake Simcoe for future generations. The funds are for 3 projects that engage local youth and community members in environmental stewardship activities in the Lake Simcoe watershed. Read the Province's media release.

event recap: Spring Cottage Life Show

March 21-24, 2024 - Thanks to everyone who visited us at the FOCA booth at the Spring Cottage Life Show in Mississauga! FOCA also spoke on the Main Stage about natural shorelines and the invaders like Grass Carp that threaten them (below, right), and our colleague Peter Lillico spoke about Cottage Succession (below left).

FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations

Association Member Benefits

Membership in FOCA brings your Association and your member families many benefits.

Here's another one: FOCA Members get 25% off any Membership in the Canadian Canoe Museum. The Museum will be re-opening to the world in its new location on May 13, 2024!

FOCA members are encouraged to login on our Benefits webpage to access the discount code for this offer, and others from our sponsors and partners.

Not yet a member? Find out more about the many benefits of joining FOCA: https://foca.on.ca/member-services/

FOCA's Bronze Sponsors

Dock in a Box

sponsors support our work - please support them

Final Thoughts

And the title, 'Most Scenic Lake' in Ontario goes to...

We already anticipate this will result in a flurry of emails (and we invite your images, to settle the challenge!), but can you guess what Ontario lake was recently named among the top 5 most scenic lakes in the world for being the most photographed and viewed on TikTok and Instagram? Hint: the lake has its own social media account on X. Read the answer in this posting on blogTO (source of the image above) where you'll also find out which lakes around the world filled out the top 5!

If you love maps like we do...

...you're going to love this web link to Canadian Geographic Education's tiled maps. They are free, downloadable PDFs designed to encourage students to explore Canada - piece by piece. Teachers, parents and grandparents: have kids piece together a map to gain a larger perspective of their environment! Here's the link: https://cangeoeducation.ca/en/resources/tiled-map-overview-2/

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years. Find out more about YOUR ROLE.

info@foca.on.ca | 705-749-3622 | https://foca.on.ca

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