February 4, 2020
Landscape Ontario’s Provincial Board of Directors recently voted to approve changes to the association’s existing membership categories. Those changes were then voted on, and passed, at the Landscape Ontario annual general meeting on Jan. 8, 2020 as required to amend the association’s by-laws.

The changes come as a result of an intensive, year-long review conducted by members of the LO Membership Services Committee, consisting of: Lindsey Ross, Kelly Keates, Chris Muller, Jamie Riddell, Blake Tubby, and Brent Vanderkruk.

With a daunting task at hand, the committee was able to rise to the occasion.After much debate, a multitude of ideas, plus careful planning and consideration, the committee was able to establish new categories that better suit the needs of current and future members of the association.

The LO board agreed with the committee’s proposal, which is also tasked by the association’s strategic plan to grow membership to 80 per cent of the landscape and horticultural industry in 25 years. The new categories will make membership more accessible for new businesses looking to gain professional credibility and education, and enhance recognition for seasoned and engaged members.

The changes are expected to roll out over the next few months. Nothing will change for current members of the association and they do not need to take any action regarding their existing membership status or category. Here is a summary of the changes:
 

Introductory Member

Not to be confused with the existing Interim member category, the brand new Development/Introductory member category is perhaps one of the biggest changes moving forward. This category provides an opportunity for a horticultural business that has never been a member to try out being a member for one full year to learn about the many opportunities, resources and benefits that come through membership in the association.

Once an Introductory Member, the company may choose to upgrade to the most appropriate member category at any time within the year.

The Introductory Member is designed to be a great member recruitment tool for the association, as well as a way to further connect suppliers and contractors with those allied to the industry. For example, an Associate member (supplier to the industry) can offer to pay for, or invite a customer or supplier to join this category to qualify for special member only promos or benefits.
 

Individual Member

The existing Horticultural membership category will be renamed, Individual Member to more accurately reflect who this category is designed for. Individual Member applies to a person/individual engaged in work allied to the horticultural industry. For example, a person employed by a golf course, municipality or parks and recreation department would be suited to this category if the employer is not a member company. A consultant or industry member who has retired can also benefit from this membership.

The other main change for this category is that all employees of member companies now also gain Individual Member status. The goal is to engage employees in the association and make them more aware of the many benefits and opportunities available to them via their company membership.
 

Member

Under the previous categories, a company in business for less than three years was required to become an Interim member until reaching the three-year requirement required to become an Active member. Both the Interim and Active categories will be merged into a new category called Member.

This category is for any horticultural business that is actively engaged in the industry and exhibits high integrity in business practices as demonstrated through the accreditation process. The change also eliminates the barrier previously in place for new businesses.
 

Professional Member

In addition to the Member category, three new categories for horticultural businesses will be introduced with various levels of criteria required for each category. The first of these, the Professional Member category, is for a horticultural business that has been actively engaged in the industry for at least two years and meets all of the criteria for the Member category, as well as demonstrating a commitment to ongoing professional development.
 

Certified Professional Member

A horticultural business that has been a member of Landscape Ontario for five consecutive years and can demonstrate proof of valid professional certification or equivalent and continuing education, will qualify for this top-level category.

The category places added emphasis on certification, post-secondary education and continued professional development that builds professionalism through membership.
 

Sole Proprietor Status

A sole proprietor business owner with no more than 1.5 full time employees that meets the accreditation criteria now has a place in the LO membership. Sole proprietors have unique business needs and this membership category is designed to create more networking opportunities and help owners to raise the level of professionalism of their business.

This new category addresses the needs of an area that was not previously served under the existing membership categories. The benefits to be enjoyed by the sole proprietor member are determined by which of the Member, Professional Member or Certified Professional Member criteria can be met (see chart).

For example, a Sole Proprietor member in the industry for at least two years and demonstrating a commitment to ongoing professional development would enjoy the benefits of a Professional Member, since those are the criteria for that category.
 

Associate Member

No changes will take place for Associate members of Landscape Ontario. These suppliers to the industry have far-reaching networks. Whether they are equipment dealers, manufacturers or suppliers, Associate members are now equipped with the new Introductory Member category to actively promote membership to customers who were previously not aware of the many benefits of membership, enabling them to actively improve their business and professionalism.
 

Other categories

In addition to the categories above, LO will still maintain the media, student, and Honorary Lifetime Member categories.
 

Implementation and timeline

Changes are expected to be phased in over the first half of 2020. Current Active, Associate and Interim members of Landscape Ontario do not need to do anything regarding their membership at this point. The new Introductory membership category is expected to launch mid-February, in time for members to actively promote and recruit during the season ahead. Further details about the new membership categories will appear in future issues of this magazine, in LO’s weekly enews, and online at HortTrades.com.
 

Membership Benefits

MEMBER BENEFIT INTRODUCTORY
MEMBER
MEMBER PROFESSIONAL
MEMBER
CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL
MEMBER
Advertising discounts  
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Awards of Excellence  
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Canada Blooms tickets discount
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Congress Exhibitor discounts  
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Consumer Promotion, Referrals and Online Member Profile    
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CNLA Endorsed Supplier
Cost Saving Benefits
 
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Free link to your website    
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Government relations  
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Membership certificate  
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Networking opportunities
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Member pricing on Professional Development Opportunities
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Promotional materials  
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Rental of membership list*
(mailing addresses)
 
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Subscription to weekly Enews, Landscape Ontario and E-ssentials, Landscape Trades magazines
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Use of logo    
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Attend Chapter meetings
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Legal advice program  
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Voting rights at AGM  
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Sit on Chapter/Sector Board of Directors  
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Sit on Provincial Board of Directors  
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If you have any questions about membership, please contact the LO Membership Services Department at 1-800-265-5656.

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