September 15, 2023
LO Growers Group Newsletter - September 2023

graphic1. Summer barbecue: Owners need to register!

Make sure you register for the barbecue on Thursday, October 5 at Winkelmolen Nursery. There will be nursery tours from 3-5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and at 7 p.m. we will have a serious discussion with the owners on the way forward with the Growers' Group. While the event is free, we ask you to please register by September 25 so we can arrange the right amount of food/beverages.Register here.

2. SCAP funding — Bio-security enhancement initiative

While we anticipated a bio-security project intake, we received information on September 15th that a new, more general cost-sharing opportunity is available effective immediately. Eligible Ontario producers can now apply for cost-share funding under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) to accelerate the adoption of best management practices (BMPs) supporting soil health, water quality and productivity benefits. The intake will close September 28, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET. Program information can be found here. Be sure to carefully review the Program Guide for program details, including eligibility requirements before applying.

3. Recognized employer pilot - TFWP

Don't forget to apply for the new pilot program and can benefit from a simplified Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, longer validity for approved LMIAs, etc., starting in September 2023. Find out more through the ESDC.

4. Heat stress and air quality - new regulations coming

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) is proposing new regulations to protect workers from heat stress and poor air quality. The implications to farms could be substantial. For heat stress, humidex values (as measured with a wet bulb globe temperature device) and the intensity of the task must be evaluated on farm over all the activities and then a heat stress response plan must be developed and implemented. For air quality, a policy for protecting workers needs to be developed where there are mitigation measures for employees working outdoors in times of poor air quality (i.e., when forest fire smoke and particulates could impact their health). We have an opportunity to respond to these two regulatory changes and are asking for an extension until October 6 so we have time to formulate a proper response. Please reach out by text/email if you are able to discuss this with Jeanine. More information on regulations regarding heat stress and air quality.

5. Spotted lanternfly

iNaturalist had an interesting report a couple weeks ago — a couple crossing the Peace Bridge on their way back from New York state had the windows of their vehicle open and an adult spotted lanternfly flew right into their car! Fortunately, they recognized the insect, killed it, and reported it. So this pest is literally at our doorstep, although not yet confirmed in Canada.

6. Protected Agriculture Stewardship (PAS)

REMINDER: As of January 1, 2024, farms wishing to purchase pesticides labelled for greenhouse use will either need to be certified (Category 1 - closed-loop irrigation facilities) or have a waiver in place (Category 2 - open irrigation systems where chemigation liquid is not captured). If you recycle your water, you will need to go through the audit process for Category 1 which will take several months, so make sure you are getting started on this process! Register here.

7. Box tree moth

BTM adults are flying (if you haven't noticed already!) and we have approval from OMAFRA and CNLA to support a mesh exclusion trial at the University of Toronto with Alex Rimmer. We're looking forward to seeing the results — we want to know what is the largest mesh opening that will prevent adults from passing through while allowing the most amount of light and air for boxwood production.

8. Training opportunities from GROW

The folks from LO's GROW teamed wanted to remind our nursery growers about some fantastic (and FREE!) training opportunities available this fall. The Employers of Choice Program led by Jacki Hart will teach you how to properly recruit and retain the best possible team for our business. The Supervisory Training Program allows you to select and nominate two of your staff for customized training that helps prepare them for a supervisory role/advancement within your company. Spaces are limited. Sign up today!

9. Out of office, but accessible

A reminder that I am in England helping my daughter get set up, returning at the latest September 25. The time difference is about five hours, so I will have my phone and laptop with me and will be available by phone until about noon each day (ET) if there are urgent issues. Then I'm heading to B.C. for the BCLNA 70th Anniversary and will be back in Ontario around October 1. This is a work trip, so I will be available by phone/email, noting a three hour time difference going the other direction.  
This report is provided by LO’s Grower Technical Analyst, Jeanine West.
Please contact Jeanine for more information: or 1-705-796-8812.
We need your feedback! If there are items you wish us to include in these updates, please let Jeanine know.