June 28, 2023
Joe SalemiLandscape Ontario plays a vital role in advocating for the interests and well-being of the landscape horticulture community in Ontario. One key aspect of this work involves engaging in government advocacy to influence policy decisions and create a favourable business environment.

Amplifying the collective voice

Landscape Ontario brings together businesses and organizations with shared interests and concerns. By pooling our resources, expertise and influence, we effectively amplify the collective voice of our members. Through government advocacy efforts, we communicate your needs and priorities to policymakers, ensuring your concerns are heard and considered during the decision-making process. This collective strength allows associations to advocate for policies that promote growth, innovation, and sustainability within your respective sectors.

Shaping public policy

Landscape Ontario engages in government advocacy to actively shape public policy that affects the landscape horticulture trades. We provide policymakers with valuable insights, research, and data-driven analyses that inform policy creation. By engaging in dialogue with government officials, Landscape Ontario helps craft regulations, legislation and initiatives that are fair, balanced and responsive to the needs of your members.

Promoting economic growth and job creation

Government policies have a significant impact on economic growth and job creation. Landscape Ontario plays a crucial role in advocating for policies that foster a supportive business environment, promote entrepreneurship, and facilitate job opportunities. By working with governments, Landscape Ontario influences policies related to taxation, trade, infrastructure development, research and development funding, and workforce development and training, among others. Such policies can have a direct and positive impact on the growth and competitiveness of industries, leading to increased investment, innovation and job creation.

Protecting member interests

Landscape Ontario acts as an advocate and guardian of your interests. Through government advocacy, we address issues such as regulatory barriers that may hinder your ability to operate effectively. By proactively engaging with policymakers, Landscape Ontario prevents the enactment of detrimental policies and regulations, and instead, works toward a regulatory framework that supports fair competition, consumer protection and industry sustainability.

Ensuring effective regulation and compliance

Government regulations are essential to safeguard public interests, protect consumers and ensure industry accountability. Landscape Ontario, through our government advocacy work, contributes to the development of effective regulations that strike a balance between protection and fostering industry growth. We provide industry-specific knowledge and expertise to help policymakers understand the potential impact of proposed regulations and identify any unintended consequences. Landscape Ontario also assists you in understanding and complying with regulations, thus promoting responsible business practices.

Shaping a sustainable future

The government advocacy work of Landscape Ontario is of paramount importance in shaping policies, driving economic growth, protecting your interests, and ensuring effective regulation. By representing your collective voice, we become powerful catalysts for positive change, advancing the landscape horticulture trades for years to come. Our ability to engage with governments, influence policy decisions and drive sustainable development is instrumental in creating a conducive business environment that benefits society as a whole. As we recognize the critical role of Landscape Ontario in government advocacy, it becomes imperative to support and value your work as key stakeholders in shaping our future.

Current government advocacy work

Landscape Ontario is presently engaged in several direct interactions with federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. These include:
Snow & Ice Management Liability Crisis
Landscape Ontario’s Snow & Ice Management Sector Group is actively advocating for standards, accreditation and regulation of the snow and ice management industry in Ontario. We have hosted industry consultations. We have met with the Premier’s office, MTO and MECP to date. We are presently planning a day at Queen’s Park this coming October.

City of Burlington permitting process
Over the last few weeks we have heard from several professional landscape business owners in the City of Burlington who were experiencing permitting delays in excess of 16-18 weeks. Through consultation with the landscape community, we developed a list of the specific issues and crafted a series of solutions that we were able to present in a meeting with Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Deputy Mayor Kelvin Galbraith, and City Manager Tim Commisso among many other Landscape Ontario members and city staff. The meeting was generously facilitated by Terry Caddo and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Meed Ward and City of Burlington representatives were all in agreement that the process needs to get better and offered their support to create a working group to address these complex issues.

City of Kitchener landscape contractor business license requirements
In 2018, the City of Kitchener announced they would be rolling out a landscape contractor business license requirement. Late in the 2022 season and through this spring we have heard from members that the City of Kitchener is now enforcing that requirement. To obtain the landscape contractor business license you must produce a criminal background check and demonstrate proof of business liability insurance, which includes adding the City of Kitchener as an additionally insured on your policy. We have engaged with the City of Kitchener licensing manager to allow for an exemption of Landscape Ontario members, which was met with resistance. A small working group is being formed to develop a strategy to go directly to the City of Kitchener Council and the Mayor’s office, and to partner with the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.

Employment Insurance
We have attended regular meetings and consultations with the Business Liaison Group within the EI Commission, chaired by Nancey Healey, EI Commissioner for Employers advocating for a seasonal classification for our related NOC codes. Especially as it relates to when landscape horticultural technicians are laid off in the winter months and Service Canada tells them to "get a real job." By having a seasonal designation on the ROE, it would flag Service Canada to encourage those people to pursue training in their field rather than leave the industry for other work.

Joe Salemi CAE
LO Executive Director