July 15, 2015
Sector Groups active in industry issues
The 2016 version of the Lighting Symposium will take place on Feb. 8, at the Teatro Conference and Event Centre in Milton
Landscape Ontario has ten groups to address the specific needs of green industry sectors. Each group of volunteers meets regularly to deal with sector-specific issues and initiate solutions.

In this issue we will highlight some issues facing each sector, and the plans and events involving those members.

Groups include Garden Centre, Grounds Management, Growers, Interior Plantscapes, Irrigation, Landscape Contractor, Landscape Design, Lawn Care, Lighting, and Snow and Ice Management. A Hardscape Committee has also been created.

Garden Centre

The Garden Centre Sector Group now oversees Garden Expo, which has become part of Thrive ’15. The event also highlights the Sector Group’s annual Awards of Excellence announcements.  

Entries for the Awards event open July 1 and close July 31. For a detailed explanation on categories, go to http://gfl.me/x2zq. Entries may be entered online at LOawards.com.

Another big event for the group is the International Garden Centre Association’s International Tour 2017. Garden Centre Sector Group chair, Michael Van Dongen CHT, is co-chairing the event. It involves 250 to 300 people, speaking 15 different languages. The tour is a mix of cultural and industry events, including a visit to around ten Landscape Ontario member garden centres.

The Sector Group also helped to develop a training video for garden centre employees. The video may be accessed at horttrades.com/garden-centre-online-training.  

It is also expected that the new Landscape Industry Certified Retail Horticulturist exam will soon be available. 

Grounds Management

The Grounds Management Sector Group works to raise awareness of Landscape Ontario professional members to the industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-residential community.

The group works each year to support the trial garden and open house at Landscape Ontario home office. More information on that project may be found on page 8.  

A big project for this sector group was the Landscape Maintenance Guidelines for Property Managers. This document assists property managers select contractors for basic services, along with a complete menu of green options and extra services. To download the Guidelines, go to http://gfl.me/x2l3.  


The Growers Sector Group has a busy agenda each year, including the Short Course, Industry Auction, Annual Dinner, tours and a number of research projects.

The next Short Course will take place on Feb. 3, 2016 at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The Sector Group is currently working on is the Ontario Grown Program for Municipalities. It aims to to create a strategy to raise awareness for the benefits of using Ontario-grown plant material. Other projects include a nursery directory and research.

Interior Plantscapes

The Interior Plantscapes Sector Group works to promote the interior industry to other sectors and to the public.

It works closely with The Plantscape Institute of America (PIA), which advocates the use of living plants in interior landscapes to enhance human well-being. Many LO members take part in PIA seminars throughout the year.

Landscape Contractors

A project on Benchmarking is near completion, following data collected through surveys. Once the benchmarking document is finished, the group will develop a communication plan.  

The Landscape Contractors Sector Group has also created a labour rate card containing suggested charge out rates for the most common tasks and skill rates within the sector. To view the card, go to http://gfl.me/x2zr.

Two other big events for the Landscape Contractors are Canada Blooms and the annual Landscape Lecture Series. In 2016, the Lecture Series is scheduled for Feb. 24 at the Mississauga Convention Centre, while Canada Blooms will take place Mar. 11-20 at the Direct Energy Centre.

Landscape Design

The two major issues that the Landscape Design Sector Group deal with this year were conference and Certified Landscape Designer.

Along with updating the certification process, the group set a provision for grandfathering certification candidates who meet or exceed the certification requirements.  

The group also created a new website promoting the Certified Landscape Designer program, http://certifiedlandscapedesigner.com/.

Next year’s Landscape Design conference will take place on Jan. 11 at the International Plaza Hotel.   

Lawn Care

The Lawn Care Sector Group had a busy year, dealing with promotion of the sector, government relations and IPM.

Part of the promotion process involved Canada Blooms, where a very popular display garden, called Surf and Turf, attracted many visitors to the unusual undulating lawn.

The Lawn Care Group also continued its government relations work with the other turf groups.    

This year was a special for the IPM Symposium, marking its 50th anniversary, with over 350 operators, owners and related professionals in attendance.

The 50th IPM Conference featured keynote speaker Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons. Two awards were handed out for the 50th anniversary. The IPM Leadership Award went to Pam Charbonneau, and a special IPM Recognition Award was given to Monica van Maris.

Next year’s Symposium will be held on Jan. 11 at the Toronto Congress Centre.


Two key areas that the Lighting Sector Group focuses on are its annual conference and relations work with Electrical Safety Authority.

The Landscape Lighting conference has been growing in attendance for the last few years, with great speakers and a vibrant trade show. The 2016 version will take place on Feb. 8, returning to the Teatro Conference and Event Centre in Milton.


The Irrigation Sector Group is presently celebrating Smart Irrigation Month. The event is the U.S.-based Irrigation Association initiative to increase awareness of the value of water use and grow demand for water-saving products, practices and services.

Whether your business is big or small, focused on agriculture, turf/landscape or golf applications, there are many ways to participate in the Smart Irrigation Month campaign. For tips, go to horttrades.com/smart-tips-for-smart-irrigation-month.

Chair of the Sector Group, Steve Macartney, says, “Smart Irrigation Month is a great opportunity to help promote the importance of water efficient products, practices and services in our community.” The campaign is also used to highlight new irrigation products and to promote rain sensors to customers.

Many of those who belong to the LO Sector Group are also members of the Irrigation Association. IA promotes efficient irrigation and long-term sustainability of water resources for future generations. It advocates sound water management, and works to grow demand for water-efficient products and services. For more information, visit www.irrigation.org.    

Plans are already underway for next year’s Irrigation conference. It will take place on Jan. 14, 2016, at the Toronto Congress Centre.

Snow and Ice Management

The Snow and Ice Management Sector Group has been working on salt research over the past number of years. It is also preparing for the Snow Symposium on Sept. 16-17 at Thrive ’15.

The Sector Group is also looking at expanding Smart about Salt Council activity across Ontario and Canada.

This Sector Group has developed the Landscape Ontario Standard Form Snow and Ice Maintenance Contract, which contains terms and conditions that can generally apply to all projects. It may be found at horttrades.com/standard-form-snow-and-ice-maintenance-contract.

Hardscape Committee

The Hardscape Committee is presently organizing its 2nd annual golf tournament on Sept. 10 at the Carlisle Golf and Country Club. This year, the committee is serious about providing a fun-filled event.

For more information on the event, go to http://gfl.me/h2wX.