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FOCA Elert ~ May 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 - An Update

Following last month's top news item, FOCA has been copied on hundreds of your letters to MPs telling them how middle-class families will be negatively impacted by the increase in Canadian capital gains tax, proposed to come into effect on June 25, 2024.

Update: FOCA notes that the government has removed mention of the capital gains tax change from the rest of the budget vote tabled on April 30th (Bill C-69), although the Minister of Finance reiterated the government's continued support for the change, which suggests it may be tabled separately.

YOUR ROLE: Keep up your advocacy efforts, and pursue your MP if you haven't had a response to your letter! If you haven't yet written your MP, download a customizable template letter from FOCA's webpage: https://foca.on.ca/property-taxation-assessment/ and please continue to copy FOCA on your correspondence.

Bill 185 - FOCA Comments

FOCA submitted comments to the Province related to our concerns with Bill 185, the "Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, 2024". FOCA is strongly opposed to the current proposal to remove the public's appeal rights for the adoption or amendment of Official Plans (OP) and Zoning By-laws. In FOCA's opinion, there is no evidence that any housing supply issues are being caused by the public appealing OP or Zoning By-law decisions. Read FOCA's letter in the "Latest News" section of our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/land-use-planning/

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!

Underused Housing Tax (UHT) - Proposed Change

Also in the government's budget vote bill tabled on April 30th (Bill C-69) are proposed UHT changes for specified partnerships, trusts, or corporations, who would become "excluded owners" that would not need to file UHT returns starting in 2023, though the requirement for 2022 filing stands. Read analysis posted by Grant Thornton on this development, and get background on this issue on FOCA's webpage: https://foca.on.ca/property-taxation-assessment/#uht

Rogers Connectivity

Headed to the cottage? Take 5G Home Internet with you. 

Say hello to easy connectivity at the cottage this season with Rogers 5G Home Internet, powered by Canada’s largest and most reliable 5G network. Just Plug & Play to connect and get online in minutes with the Inseego MiFi X PRO 5G portable Wi-Fi. See rogers.com/5GHI-support for more details.


Visit rogers.com/5GHI to try it risk-free for 30 days. Returns are guaranteed.

FOCA Members: note that we have news about a newly-launched Rogers Preferred Pricing Plan, in the Association Member Benefits section, below!

FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations

FOCA is Hiring!

FOCA is seeking a Summer Student under the Canada Student Jobs program, to fill the role of ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT in our Peterborough office. Read the job posting (download PDF, 2 pages) and apply as directed by May 24, 2024.

Association Member Benefits

Membership in FOCA brings your Association and your member families many benefits. Here's an exciting new FOCA Member Benefit:

Rogers Preferred Program (RPP)

If you were at the 2024 FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar in early March, you heard us mention that big news was coming, and we're so glad to be able to finally share it! The Rogers Preferred Program (RPP) is now available to all FOCA Member Association families and annual supporter "Friends of FOCA". Enjoy significant savings on your primary line, additional lines, no-roaming plans in the US, device financing, and 5G home internet bundled with the above.

Members: login to the Benefits webpage for your FOCA Proof of Membership document to participate in the RPP, as well as the link to all the savings and offers!

  • You'll need your member login to access this offer. Don't have, or can't recall your Username? Contact FOCA for assistance during business hours.
  • .
  • Not yet a member? Find out more about the many benefits of joining FOCA: https://foca.on.ca/member-services/

About FOCA: Video Overview

Associations: have an upcoming AGM or e-news to your members? Share FOCA's new 10-minute video overview about our work - advocacy, programs, and communications - and the benefits your member families have access to, because of your Association's annual membership in FOCA! Share the link to the YouTube video: https://youtu.be/wyNWEIlV45c, or contact FOCA for access to a high resolution downloadable copy of the video file, together with a set of the slides and an overview script, in case you'd prefer to present this material live at your own event. Email: communications@foca.on.ca

FOCA on the Road

FOCA's new CEO, Lesley Lavender, hit the road earlier this month in order to meet with some of our members and partners, gaining valuable insights into what matters most to you. Her first road trip was to Muskoka and Haliburton. A big thank you to the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners, Muskoka Lakes Association, Muskoka Watershed Council, Friends of the Muskoka Watershed, and Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce for hosting her along the way! See a larger version of the composite image at the side, on our Facebook post about Lesley's travels.

Cade's Corner

A message from our partners in risk management & administrators of

the FOCA Association Insurance Program and CottageFirst:

Water Hazard Markers

Safety is always paramount when we enjoy the waters of Ontario! Many Associations volunteer to help their communities by placing markers on particularly dangerous rocks, shoals, and other water hazards. If your Association is marking water hazards or thinking about starting this new activity, read some important information to help with your risk management and planning: download an info sheet (PDF, 1 page).

Please note: the FOCA Association Insurance Program - administered by Cade Associates Insurance Brokers and underwritten by Aviva Canada - can accommodate water hazard marking operations, so give Cade a call (1-844-223-3178) or email your questions, or if you are thinking about starting this as a new operation. Enjoy the water and, as always, stay safe!

Sponsors support our work, please support them.

Learn more about all our valued Corporate Sponsors

FOCA Events - Register Now!

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 a 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 Cottage Succession webinar: Tax Strategies

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 from 7-8:30pm by Zoom webinar. UPDATE: Please note the originally-advertised topic for this webinar (Seize the Time or Bide Your Time) has been changed at the speaker's suggestion, in light of the pending capital gains tax change. We will revisit the original topic in a session later this year; stay tuned to the Elert for updates. If your registration was already confirmed, you should have already received a Zoom link for the June 5th event, and do not need to register again.

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. Then, you can register for this event at no charge.
FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living

Safe Boating & PFDs

May 18-25, 2024 is Safe Boating Awareness Week and FOCA wants to take this opportunity to revisit a surprising moment from our AGM & Spring Seminar in early March 2024. At the event, Sgt. Dave Moffatt of the Ontario Provincial Police spoke about safety statistics from last year's boating season. He was passionate to get out the message about how important it is to wear a personal floatation device (PFD) while on the water. See what happened next, in a quick video excerpt from the presentation that we've posted to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r6qOo7Tj-c. Thank you, Sgt. Moffatt!

Tips for Trailering & Launching the Boat

Are you approaching the first launch of the season? If it's been a minute since you last trailered your boat, consult the tips posted by the Canadian Power & Sail Squadron, including a checklist and link to a quick YouTube video that goes over the highlights. Access the tips and video here. And remember to "Clean + Drain + Dry" your boat if you move between waterbodies, to prevent the spread of invasive species. It's the law in Ontario! Get more information from our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/invasive-species/

Emergency Preparedness

May 5 to 11, 2024 was "Emergency Preparedness Week" in Canada and FOCA encourages you to take action so that you, your family, and your community are prepared for emergencies. In addition to having an emergency kit in your waterfront home and in the car, would a visitor to your property be able to describe to first responders how to get there in an emergency? Download FOCA's Emergency Response Locator template (Word document, 1 page), fill in the essentials, and then post it on the fridge or by the door!

event recap: Practical Tips for Creating Cardiac Safe Cottages & Communities

held May 8, 2024 by webinar - Learn what to do to help save a life in an emergency situation in a remote area, in this webinar from FOCA and our sponsor, Action First Aid. Do you know the difference between heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest? When should you use an automated external defibrillator (AED)? Get answers in the webinar recording, slides, and support materials posted on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/emergency-preparedness/#cardiac.

Remember: FOCA Members can access a discount on AED packages from Action First Aid. Details are posted under the member login on the Benefits webpage.

Related News:

During the May 8th cardiac seminar, speaker Deb Hennig mentioned a new Private Member's Bill (C-389) that has had first reading in Parliament, proposing to eliminate tax on the purchase of automated external defibrillators, kits containing them, and pads and accessories designed to be used with them. If you support this idea, please write your own MP and be sure to copy FOCA (communications@foca.on.ca) on your letters.

FireSmart at the Cottage

Did you know that Ontario updates the forest fire hazard map throughout the day, every day during the forest fire season? At Ontario.ca/forestfire you can find the latest updates on the current forest fire hazard, active fires, restricted fire zones, and weather station information through an interactive map. Before heading out to enjoy the outdoors in northern Ontario this summer, make sure you visit the interactive map to help you stay informed of the current fire situation across the province. If you’re planning a campfire, check the map as well as your local fire department to see if you’re impacted by a restricted fire zone (Province) or a local fire ban (municipality). Get more fire safety tips and links from FOCA's webpage: https://foca.on.ca/fire-safety/

Lyme Disease & Ticks

FOCA reminds everyone in southern and parts of northwestern Ontario to learn how to regularly check for, identify, and safely remove blacklegged ticks, in order to prevent Lyme Disease in humans and pets. Get information, links to ID resources, and the Province's 2023 Lyme Disease Risk Map (source of the image at the side), from our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/lyme-disease/

MPAC Assessment Stats - NW Ontario

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has released new statistics, including a list of the Top 10 northwestern Ontario communities with the highest growth in new assessments last year. Leading the list? Thunder Bay, with Kenora, Shuniah and Sioux Lookout not far behind. Click the image at the side to enlarge the data (copied from a tweet by @MPAC_Ontario on X late last month).

MPAC has also launched an interesting "Housing Inventory" digital tool that allows you to zoom in or out, click to select an area, and explore changes in valuation ranges from 2023, 2018, and 2013: https://www.mpac.ca/HousingInventory

FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers

funding opportunity: Phragmites Fund

FOCA encourages our member Associations to apply directly to our partners at the Invasive Species Centre by May 30th, for 2024 program funding from the Green Shovels Collaborative for local efforts to manage invasive Phragmites in near-shore environments, through the Invasive Phragmites Control Fund. Get a link to the details and to apply using the Good Grants portal, from the "Latest News" on FOCA's webpage: https://foca.on.ca/phragmites/.

While you're there on our webpage, check out video links to the 2-day Ontario Invasive Plant Council's webinars from March 2024, with experts providing information on invasive Phragmites management planning.

Lake Partner Program (LPP)

Our Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator, Gavin, is pleased to announce that the mailout of the 2024 LPP sampling kits is completed! If you are a LPP volunteer who has not yet received your kit, please reach out to Gavin by email: lakepartner@ontario.ca.

If you'd like to become a volunteer in the LPP, you can sign up until June 1st to receive a sampling kit for 2024. Interested? Send an email to Gavin, above, with your name, contact information, mailing address, and the lake you are interested in sampling.

Thank you to all the volunteers! Learn more about the important work of our volunteers who sample Ontario's freshwater inland lakes: https://foca.on.ca/lake-partner-program/

Partner Updates, Meetings & Regional Notices

Lake Erie Bloom Season Prediction

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced development with partners of new online tools to help the public understand harmful algal blooms (HABs), which occur annually in the Laurentian Great Lakes, particularly in the western basin of Lake Erie. Check out the data in a layer of the online tool 'Seagull', where you can click to see water currents, wind speeds and water temperatures for the Great Lakes - all of which are factors in predicting HABs.

NOAA's first 2024 Lake Eire HAB Early Season Projection predicts that Lake Erie will experience a moderate to larger-than-moderate HAB this summer.

Huron County Water Fund

For our members in Huron County: apply for funding from the Huron Clean Water Project for projects that improve and protect water quality in the County. Eligible ideas include projects that reduce erosion through buffer strip planting of shrubs, and community stewardship and educational undertakings. Get details and apply, here: https://www.huroncounty.ca/plandev/county-wide-projects/water-protection/

PFAS - "Forever Chemicals"

As reported this week by CTV News North about a March public information session held in North Bay, millions of Canadians have been exposed to potentially toxic forever chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances used in everything from stain-resistant carpets to cosmetics to take out containers and non-stick cookware). Get a link to the CTV News article from the "Latest News" section of our Pollution webpage, where you can learn more about PFAS: https://foca.on.ca/pollution/

Thunder Bay - Microplastics

The Province of Ontario announced in late April an investment of nearly $45,000 for a prevention-focused project designed to keep plastic pollution out of local waterways and Lake Superior, by reinvesting environmental penalties paid by polluters. Currently, over 70,000 pounds of plastic debris end up in Lake Superior annually. Read the release from the Province, posted in the "Latest News" section of our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/plastics/

Opening Weekend for the TSW & Rideau Waterways

Parks Canada has announced the navigation season for boating through the locks of the Trent Severn Waterway and Rideau Waterway began on schedule this year, today!, on Friday, May 17th.

event recap: Spring Lake Networking Group

On May 2nd, FOCA participated with lake association and Conservation Authority partners in the annual Spring Lake Networking Group meeting. Started by some of FOCA's colleagues and member associations in eastern Ontario, the webinar format has allowed farther-flung groups to participate in recent years, to share success stories and talk about common challenges.

Lake Simcoe - Award Nominations

If you know of a great individual or group in the Lake Simcoe area that has contributed to a more sustainable and healthier watershed, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) encourages you to nominate them by June 5, 2024 for an award! Get inspired by reading about past conservation award recipients here. (image: LSRCA.ca)

Lake Scugog Survey

If you live, work, or play in and around Lake Scugog, Kawartha Conservation wants your input in a short survey that will help inform the next Lake Scugog Environmental Management Plan. Participate in the survey until June 30, 2024.

Final Thoughts

Migratory Bird Day: recap

May 11, 2024 was World Migratory Bird Day. This year’s theme focused on insects and the important role they play in the migration and survival of birds.

So, if you’re opening the cottage and already cursing the black flies, remember: as larvae they are an important part of in-water food webs, and the adults are prey for birds. Learn more here: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/black-fly and then go find your bug hat... (image: Kirk Doughty)

Happy Long Weekend!

The FOCA office will be closed on Monday, May 20, 2024 for the Victoria Day holiday.

All the FOCA staff were together in the Peterborough office a few weeks ago, doing some Spring cleaning and strategizing for the cottage country season ahead!

Meet the team.

Doing your own Spring cleaning this weekend?

Remember to properly dispose of solvents, paint cans, aerosols, and other chemicals, to protect water sources from contamination. Check your municipal website for important household hazardous waste disposal information.

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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