The Ontario Landowners Association – A Year in Review by Shirley Dolan

Published January 1, 2022
Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan

Another difficult year has passed and the restrictions to our civil rights are becoming increasingly difficult to bear. With the appearance of yet another variant of the Covid virus, Omicron, most of Canada was effectively closed. These restrictions have made it difficult to keep an eye on government and what they are doing. It has also been difficult to engage with our members as in-person meetings are all but prohibited. Despite this, the OLA has had a busy year.

  • In January, we announced that a new website was available for those wanting to support and follow the gun ban challenge. http://fightthegunban.ca/ This is a project which the OLA supports.
  • Our OLA Speaker Series continued into the new year with speakers Sylvia Rhodes who worked as a grass roots volunteer with United Shoreline Ontario to “spread the message of the IJC’s (International Joint Commission) policy failure” and to hopefully garner support for the countless Lake Ontario shoreline property owners who had lost acres of land as a result of IJC’s policy. In February, we heard Jean-Serge Brisson speak about our rights as a person, how to defend them, and why he joined the OLA.
  • Also in February, the Carleton Landowners Association heard about the City of Ottawa’s attempt to introduce a Gold Belt designation into their new Official Plan. President Tim Mount spread the word (many had not heard of the new designation) and the Gold Belt was removed, following a barrage of calls and emails to City council and staff.
  • In April, we learned that municipalities were updating their tree-cutting bylaws. OLA Director of Research, Elizabeth Marshall updated her report on the subject. First published in 2012, the report explains that the Municipalities need to consider other pieces of legislation, prior to implementing the “tree cutting by-law” and how limited municipal by-laws must be. See the report here https://ontariolandowners.ca/product/tree-cutting-by-laws-what-municipal-councils-need-to-know/.
  • In May, we published an article called “What to do BEFORE They Come for You” https://ontariolandowners.ca/news/what-to-do-before-they-come-for-you-by-the-ola/, a guideline more important than ever in the uncertain times introduced by governments in the hope of controlling COVID. No matter where you stand on these restrictions, especially in Ontario, of lockdown measures and the removal of civil liberties, it is a good idea to know your rights if/when an unwanted visitor comes knocking on your door.
  • Also in May, the Carleton Landowners Association started an information campaign to let rural residents know that the City of Ottawa was planning for the installation of 710 Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) on agricultural land in rural Ottawa. The campaign resulted in the City finally, in November, banning the IWTs on prime agricultural land. The fight to save our rural lands continues.
  • In June, the federal liberals were once again voted in with little change to the seat count. Also in June, the Ford government did a cabinet shuffle which placed David Piccini as minister of Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks. OLA President Jeff Bogaerts wrote to Minister Piccini to congratulate him on his appointment, saying: “We look forward to continuing our working relationship with your Ministry and the Ford government to reach a balance between the needs of the people and the needs of the environment”.
  • In September, Co-Vice President Donna Burns wrote about new information on legal non-conforming rights. https://ontariolandowners.ca/news/new-information-about-legal-non-conforming-rights-submitted-by-donna-burns-ola-eastern-vice-president/
  • In October, the OLA continued its Back Off Government sign campaign. This campaign has been very successful and is still in effect. For more details, see https://ontariolandowners.ca/news/signs-of-fall/
  • In November, came the news that the Supreme Court of Canada has granted intervenor status to the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA) in the Annapolis Group Inc. v. Halifax Regional Municipality court case. What this means is that the OLA will be arguing, along with the appellant, that a municipality cannot just take away your right of ownership. “This case is significant in that it may potentially result in a formulation of the test for government expropriation of Private Land that is more generous toward the Landowner”, said Jeff Bogaerts, President of the OLA. “Government regulatory expropriation of Private Land must be compensated. Leaving the Landowner in a position of owning the land but being unable to use it is unfair and presents a financial burden.”
  • And last but not least, the OLA has continued to publish our bimonthly Landowner Voices online magazine and our monthly OLA ENews. See https://ontariolandowners.ca/news/. The OLA also has a Facebook page.

Our Wish List

We are looking forward to a time when we can meet again in person. The Ford government had signalled that the province may fully open on March 28, 2022. Given the current Omicron situation, this now seems doubtful. Nevertheless, the OLA Executive is discussing the potential for an in person OLA Public meeting in 2022.

In the meantime, we are considering having a booth at the 2022 Ottawa Farm Show. The show is scheduled for March 15-17, 2022 at the EY Centre, Ottawa. We’ll let you know if this is a go! We’d love to see you at our booth.

Our very best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2022 from the OLA Executive to all our members and supporters. We could not do what we do without you.

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