January 29, 2019
LO AGM at Congress 2019
Landscape Ontario’s 2019 Provincial Board of Directors at the AGM on Jan. 9.
Strong turnout at Landscape Ontario’s Annual General Meeting is consistent with continued strong member engagement. The meeting took place Jan. 9, in conjunction with Congress.

LO president, Warren Patterson recognized board members, past presidents, honorary life members and milestone members. Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) representative, Alan White, reported on activities of the national association. He is turning that role over to Paul Brydges after serving six years.

Patterson devoted his report to a presentation on LO’s latest strategic plan. This time around, facilitator Nathan Helder helped members distill LO goals down to a simple, one-page document; download it at HortTrades.com/strategic-plan.

The plan summarized LO’s purpose and core values as: community, professionalism, leadership and stewardship. The association’s two-year goal is to be the hub for creating sustainable careers. Investments and strategies related to that goal include:
  • Establish a profitable hiring hall model; promote apprenticeship and launch a Top 100 employer awards program.
  • Train members in their communities.
  • Develop a strong careers marketing and communication strategy, with special focus on youth and new Canadians.
  • Audit LO’s CRM, marketing software and website interface technology through outside consultation.
  • Improve communication channel engagement; boost membership by 10 per cent and renewal rate to 98 per cent.

Some items require new investment on top of regular budgets; those expenditures are currently under consideration. Patterson is committed to accomplishing the goals in his next three years of service.

LO executive director, Tony DiGiovanni cited strategic plan renewal as one of the most important 2018 activities. The labour crisis dominated the year, and members continue to struggle with profitability — working too hard for too little. Details of LO’s 2018 activities are in the Annual Report, published in the December 2018 issue of Landscape Ontario magazine and available online at HortTrades.com/annual-report. He also mentioned LO staff members choose a guiding word for each year, and the word for 2019 is “renewal.”

DiGiovanni also referred members to the financial summaries in the Annual Report, on behalf of treasurer Ed Hansen, noting LO is on solid financial ground.

Haig Sefarian spoke on the new site plan for LO’s home office, currently undergoing major renovation. A team of member landscape architects is developing the plan, using Appeltern in Holland as a model. He presented the conceptual master plan, featuring a strong view from Hwy. 401, and a west-side bus drop-off with boardwalk along the water retention pond. Planners envision a series of outdoor rooms, allowing members to showcase landscape design and craftsmanship. The site’s 10 acres of wetlands present a unique educational opportunity, and Seferian says government authorities are willing to work with LO towards best use of the wetlands. “They look to us as the experts,” Seferian said. The design team will be seeking comments from all LO groups during upcoming months.

The makeup of LO’s Provincial Board of Directors remains the same as 2018; Blake Tubby and Jeff Olsen were selected as Members at Large for 2019.