September 5, 2023
Lindsay Drake NightingaleI recently had the privilege of being an observer at the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) meetings in Winnipeg, Man. Watching how the CNLA board of passionate, committed volunteers and CNLA staff move national issues through the committee structure and bring them to the forefront of our Canadian government and/or international governments is awe inspiring. 

The Growers Canada committee is tackling multiple issues  (such as new plant species, pest and diseases, borders, and more) and working hand in hand with researchers and CNLA’s Government Relations committee in order to keep our borders open for the movement of ornamental horticultural products. 

The boxwood issue is a prime example of the work and commitment of both the staff and volunteers at CNLA. With the box tree moth infestation, all movement of boxwood from Canada to the U.S. has stopped — leaving an estimated five million plants to be thrown out or not produced. There are presently no infestations in British Columbia, but sales to the U.S. are still not permitted. The British Columbia Nursery Landscape Association (BCNLA) and the government are working to try and maintain an open border for the sale of boxwood, but with limited success. The Government Relations team is in constant communication with partners to the south to get the flow of goods moving. 

Insurance is on everyone’s mind in Ontario and across the country. The committee work being done to bring together a cohesive plan for the Snow and Ice Sector is being spearheaded by Landscape Ontario. That means all eyes are on us to achieve a national strategy of education and certification with the goal of managing risk, decreasing claims and thereby lessening insurance premiums.

Garden Centres Canada (GCC) has also had a great achievement rolling out their virtual staff training program. They have grown their Facebook peer group to 145 members — triple the number it started with a year ago. Finally, GCC had a very successful Summit in Vancouver, B.C., with delegates coming from as far away as Australia. The 2024 summit will be held in Niagara, Ont.

Volunteers are key to all that we and our partner organizations do. The CNLA is looking for members for various committees, including Climate Change Adaptation, Professional Development, Growers Canada, and Industry Human Resources. At Landscape Ontario, we, too, need your valuable input and we’re looking for committee members for the Grounds Management sector group, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB), Chapter Engagement, Growers Group, and at the chapter board level. The role of the volunteer committee member is to bring forward their insight and knowledge from their respective businesses and from their peers to better the entire landscape profession. If you have a strong passion for all things green and you can volunteer six to 12 hours of your time per month, we would love to hear from you. Call one of our membership engagement specialists at 800-265-5656; they would be pleased to direct you to the correct sector or chapter.

As always, I welcome your conversations and feedback.
Lindsay Drake Nightingale
LO President