December 1, 2023
Joe Salemi It’s been a little over a year since I was provided with the privilege of serving as your Executive Director. It's hard to believe that my first full year as Landscape Ontario's Executive Director has flown by, and honestly the time has vaporized before my eyes. The days have been long, the weeks have been hard, the months have been quick, and the year has gone so fast. I have loved every moment, even the challenging times (which were many).

Through this past year I have learned so much, for instance, I have long known the importance of building and fostering a people first culture but what I learned is that it will be tested and that the most important part is staying true to your values and foundational principles. For me, that's doing what's right for our people first. Being fierce about sticking to that in all that we do. I have also long-known the value and importance of building a network through nurtured relationships. What I learned is that it is ok to lean on that network from time to time, they are there to support you as much as you are there to support them.

There are many highlights that I can draw on from my first year as executive director with Landscape Ontario, but what I smile about is the incredible staff team and culture we have built, the staff leadership team who all have each other’s backs. Watching that in action gives me goosebumps. Going to a Landscape Ontario event and seeing our membership, workforce development, communications, and workforce development staff all come together to seamlessly pull off literally hundreds of events is inspiring. Seeing our volunteers, all 200+ of them across the provincial board, committees, chapters, and sector groups come together to accomplish what they have this past year has me in awe.  

I’m honoured to be connected with you all, I am humbled by your generosity as you give back to the industry/profession/trade you work in and for everyday. Here’s to many more years!!

Government relations

City of Burlington Pool Permit Issue

  • Permitting process as taking 16 weeks on average
  • Struck working group with city staff
  • Working through 10 specific issues
  • By March 2024, expectation is that we’ll have reduced the average processing time to four weeks
  • Delegated at council meeting - November 2, 2023

Snow & Ice Management Liability Issue & Lobby

two men shaking hands
City of Kitchener - Contractor Licence Requirement

  • April 2018 City of Kitchener announced a requirement for contractors to obtain a licence - must do a criminal background check and show proof of liability insurance
  • Reached out to licensing department
  • Proposal submitted to allow Landscape Ontario members to bypass criteria - was denied

Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development

Apprenticeship announcement

  • We were invited to a big announcement with Doug Ford, Peter Bethlenfalvy, Stephen Lecce, and Monte McNaughton at a high school in Pickering
  • Grade 11 students who don’t feel like the traditional classroom setting is right for them may enter into the apprenticeship pathway full-time. Upon completion they may apply for their high school diploma.
  • The details of the announcement are found here

Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks
Excess Soil Regulation Update

  • Amendments announced
  • Requirement for all loads of soil that are removed to have a hauling record
  • Staffer from MECP presented at LO Golden Horseshoe Chapter meeting

Enbridge Announcement Update - $200 per locate fee

  • Over 120 emails, text messages, phone calls, tagged social media posts
  • Significant concern over this announcement and its timing
  • Heard you loud and clear
  • I found out who the executive team is at Enbridge Gas Canada and connected with all of them
  • Met with two Enbridge officials yesterday
  • Were they ever embarrassed over how badly written the announcement was
  • “Third Party Excavator” was supposed to read, Third Party Excavator hired by the utility to do work on their behalf.
  • And should have been followed up with, “any excavator doing work on behalf of a property owner is not subject to the per locate fee”
  • Any excavator doing work on behalf or contracted by the municipality is subject to the per locate fee
  • They also said,  unofficially, that I should stay tuned because it is VERY likely that they will be hitting the pause button in the very near future

Canada Blooms

  • Difficult decision was made to discontinue the show after several financial forecasts and models showed how this event is no longer viable
  • The $1 million subsidy from BILD no longer happening

Canadian Trees for Life

  • Next chapter from the Highway of Heroes Tree Planting Campaign
  • Significant funding from Natural Resources Canada - 2 billion Tree Program
  • Two plantings this past month
  • One of  which, Minister of Environment Conservation and Parks - Andrea Khanjin joined - provided opening remarks and planted trees herself
  • Excellent at public promotion and fundraising
  • Recently approached Landscape Ontario to have a stronger partnership
  • Through LO’s president, Lindsay Drake Nightingale, we have struck a Trees for Life committee
woman planting a tree

Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging

Reconciliation Grove

  • Launched on National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
  • Several educators, members reached out in support
  • Some criticism
  • Committee created

DEI Consultant - Lisa Langley and Jeff St. Denis

  • Terms of reference completed
  • Strategic plan being developed

Canadian Nursery Landscape Association - Plants Love You Campaign

plants love you
Landscape Ontario Congress Trade Show & Conference

  • Attendance record of 17,662 people over three days
  • Revenue exceeded budget by $400k
  • It continues to be the homecoming event of the year for the professional landscape horticulture trades community

Workforce Development

  • Professional Development Series - delivered over 140 seminars in person and hybrid
    • Over 2,200 people attended
  • GROW
    • Over 200 people recruited, trained and employed in the landscape horticulture skilled workforce
  • Apprenticeship
    • 125 apprentices registered and nurtured through the process


  • Chapters - all chapters engaged and hosting locally relevant events
  • Snowposium
    • 350+ snow professionals
    • Very successful event
    • Kudo’s to LO’s events and membership team for their tremendous work
  • LO Golden Horseshoe Chicken Roast
    • Just over 550 people
    • Incredibly successful
    • Great work Golden Horseshoe Chapter board and membership team
  • Sector Groups - most sector groups engaged - Growers, Grounds Management need some help
  • Membership team put on over 200 in person events this past fiscal year
  • Finished the year with 3,100 members
  • KSMI Weather Launch
    • All members get access to this very good weather service included with membership - participation is high and

Landscape Ontario Communications

  • Landscape Ontario magazine and Landscape Trades magazine are looking the best they ever have with advertising revenue up year on year
  • Our digital offerings continue to grow and be our main driver to disseminate association related information
  • Our social media accounts have strong followings and even better engagement


  • Completed fiscal year with $662,000 surplus
  • Continuous approach to streamlining workflows, finding efficiencies, looking at every expense no matter how small
  • Landscape Ontario recently completed a full bylaw review and finalizing new set of updated bylaws to be compliant with recent Ontario Not For Profit Corporations Act
  • Undergoing a complete governance review - LO Governance Committee overseeing

Association Management System (AMS) Update

  • Moving forward with a needs assessment with 108 ideaspace the foundation of our new AMS will be Salesforce

Staff update

Respectfully submitted,
Joe Salemi, CAE
Deputy Executive Director 2022-2023