An Introduction to the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA)

Published August 1, 2020

Who are the Ontario Landowners and where did we come from?

Well, to understand how this movement got started, we would have to say that if government and their agencies had been doing their job of helping people solve their problems, supporting and encouraging new building and local businesses, and serving the public as they are paid to do, then the landowner movement would have died on the drawing board.

Unfortunately, this is not the case and because of this failure at all levels of government, the landowner movement is growing across Ontario. Our early start was in 2003 in Lanark, when disgruntled landowners received no assistance from authorities when deer destroyed their crops. Their frustration spread across the province and resulted in new landowner groups forming, all fighting similar issues, all suffering under the increasingly heavy weight of oppressive rules and regulations, fines and court challenges, and all ready to say, “enough is enough”. We hope that you will join this chorus for change with the goal of encouraging a more compassionate and caring government that returns to its mandate of “serving the public”.

The Ontario Landowners Association, which formed in 2005, has chapters across the province, each with its own President, Vice-President, treasurer and secretary as well as many volunteers and supporters. Flexibility is a necessary quality in these people because most of us have other jobs, many are farmers, and all of us have busy family lives. Because we are volunteers, we all do what we can, when we can. The Ontario Landowners Association has a President, two co-vice-presidents, and four governors, who keep in touch with monthly conference calls and meetings. The OLA Annual General Meeting is a public meeting and open to all who are concerned with private property rights. The AGM is held in a central location each Fall and often involves an overnight stay for those who have travelled some distance. Each Spring, there is a Directors’ Meeting, an opportunity for the chapter representatives to meet face-to-face with the OLA Executive to discuss local issues and share experiences. Each county group sends a delegate to these meetings to represent the local landowners.

Our focus comes from property owners and their stories of injustices. For example, Conservation Authorities have assumed too much power over private land. We are working on taking back what is ours. The Ministry of Natural Resources is another body that likes to assume power over private property, and we are trying to assist landowners who have been charged for doing what they should be doing on their land such as cleaning ditches or improving the landscape. Municipalities across the province have forgotten the rights that were granted to the citizens of this province: the right to life, liberty and use and enjoyment of property. They have assumed power they don’t have and seem bent on discouraging landowners from obtaining building permits or doing work on their property. Hefty fines, unreasonable demands and an unwillingness to work with the property owner for a mutually beneficial outcome, have soured many citizens. As the Midland Free Press noted in its May 2000 article regarding the Roundtree and Tiny Township court battle over beach usage “If you don’t own it, you cannot plan for it”.

We encourage you to follow us along the path to regaining the freedom we once had and in doing so, to honour the fallen soldiers who died in battlefields far away and the early pioneers that built this land, so that Canada would remain strong and free. Let us not forget that.

How to keep in touch

The OLA has a website www.ontariolandowners.ca and a Facebook page. Look for Ontario Landowners Association on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OntarioLandownersAssociation. On our website, you can sign up for our FREE monthly E-Newsletter which is delivered to your inbox on the first of each month. We also have a FREE online magazine called Landowner Voices. Published every two months, LV can be read, downloaded, and printed from our website.

We encourage you to buy an annual membership for $60. You can sign up online at https://ontariolandowners.ca/product/ola-yearly-membership/ or  use the downloadable mail in form https://ontariolandowners.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/OLA-Membership-Application-06202019-2.pdf.

You can also join by contacting your local OLA chapter https://ontariolandowners.ca/ontario-landowners-association-ola-chapters/.

Here’s how it works: $25 of the membership fee stays with the OLA (our head office), $25 goes to the chapter, and the remaining $10 is put into our litigation fund www.fixthelaw.ca. The litigation fund is used to support court challenges that could help improve private property rights.

The OLA uses the membership fees to host their website and to cover expenses for their AGM and Spring Directors’ Meeting.  Our last AGM was held in October 2019 in Arnprior, Ontario with guest speaker Tom DeWeese from the American Policy Centre. More than 80 people attended. Costs for the conference were by the OLA, Carleton Landowners Association, and the Renfrew Landowners Association.

Elizabeth Marshall, our Director of Research has written many reports on Conservation Authorities, Municipal planning and by-laws, Crown Land Patents. The reports are free for download on our website at https://ontariolandowners.ca/ontario-landowners-association-ola-chapters/.

We are all volunteers. We do this because we believe in private property rights and want to share what we know about your rights with you!

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