January 24, 2014
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO executive director

Tony DiGiovanniI and the LO staff are continually inspired by the significant time and resources members give to their LO family. I have wondered why some members, who by all accounts are independently wealthy, continue to renew their membership when their business is thriving.

Conversely, I have witnessed struggling companies choose to renew their dues, even though it is a major sacrifice. Have you ever thought about why you are a member? I have witnessed four general and interrelated reasons individuals join.


I know members who have saved decade’s worth of dues by taking advantage of the discounts. See www.horttrades.com/mst for more information.

I also know members who saved thousands of dollars because other members shared their experiences. I once attended a chapter meeting in Waterloo, where one of the members told me he received over one million dollars worth of sales because another member from a different chapter was looking for someone to share a sizable maintenance contract from a multi-national chain.

There are also significant financial benefits derived from some of our government relations work. At one time, the WSIB rate for the landscape industry was almost ten per cent of payroll. It is now less than half what it used to be, based on our collective government relations and education work. This has saved the industry millions of dollars. We were successful at getting the statute of limitation on slip and falls down from seven years to two years. We worked to eliminate sales tax on various nursery products and equipment. This has also saved millions.

In addition to saving the industry money, we also raised significant dollars for research and innovation activities. In the last few years we easily raised over $5 million to invest in our industry.

Membership: What’s in it for you?

  • Financial
  • Networking
  • Education
  • Legacy


The life of a business owner is lonely. You have the burden of cultivating sales wherever you can. You are responsible for all aspects of the business including the employees, loans, processes, customers, operations, etc. Many members join because of the support they receive from other members. Social interaction is a human need. It gives depth to life. The networking that happens before, at and after meeting and events is a major benefit of membership.


Many members join because of the hundreds of opportunities to learn. Learning at Landscape Ontario happens in a formal and informal setting. We have hundreds of courses, seminars, chapter meetings, events, etc., where knowledge is shared and where professionalism is enhanced. LO provides the infrastructure for this to happen.

A lot of it happens by sharing. I remember a meeting where a member shared an idea that could easily be used by a competitor sitting in the room. I asked the member afterwards why he was so open to sharing ideas. He told me the math was in his favour. He shared one idea. There were 10 others in the room. He went home with nine other ideas. So did everyone else.


Many of our members support the association so they can be part of something bigger. Their motivation is to build a better industry, even though the fruits of their labour will benefit someone they don’t even know sometime in the future. They want to pay it forward. They are inspired by building a prosperous, professional, ethical, valued and contribution oriented industry.   

I find that many of the members participating on committees, boards and sector groups are motivated by making a positive difference. LO is largely successful because the pioneers of the association were inspired to make a positive difference for others. Our current membership is doing the same.

At a recent Waterloo Chapter meeting, I asked everyone in the room to describe in as few words as possible why they were members of Landscape Ontario. Here are the responses:
Lobbying and advocacy
Long term prosperity
Product knowledge
Education and training
Supporting the industry
Opportunity to lead
Know that they are not an island
Opportunity to meet important people
Social interaction
Saving money
Keep current
Listen and learn
Mutual benefit
Pursuit of excellence
Part of a larger group
Safety in numbers

Thank you for being part of the Landscape Ontario family.
Tony DiGiovanni may be contacted at tony@landscapeontario.com, or at 1-800-265-5656, ext. 304.