March 15, 2017
Paul Brydges
LO President

Paul BrydgesHaving just returned from my first Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) national meetings in Toronto, I am impressed to see so many initiatives in Ontario have the same energy and impact across the country. Even though Landscape Ontario members make up the largest percentage of CNLA, the smaller provinces also have amazing staff and volunteers who carry out just as many projects as we see here at home.

After many years of working behind-the-scenes on a foundation to support our initiatives, Alan White had the joy to see CNLA universally endorse the Green Cities Foundation. Congratulations and thank you Alan, for seeing this through. Now projects such as St. James Park (and many more) can be considered a registered charitable project. This foundation opens up many doors for marketing to members of the public who may also wish to assist in many of our public outreach initiatives.

Timing on the CNLA meetings was amazing as it was announced the Canadian Landscape Standard (CLS) was accepted by the government for procurement of services on government sites. Going forward, tenders will be referring to, and taking into account, companies that are aware of the standards and adhere to them. This is a great starting point for the CLS, but there is still a lot of work to do. Efforts are ongoing to get the standards into all municipal and provincial government offices, as well as into the curriculum of all post-secondary environmental-based design programs.

I have been travelling around the province via an invitation from Unilock to speak to their contractors about the value of LO and collaboration. I was surprised to see at each of these meetings, (some with over 100 attendees), that less than 50 per cent and sometimes as little as 20 per cent of the people attending were members of LO. I have heard the statistic from home office that only about 10 per cent of “landscapers” in Ontario are members of LO. I know we, as members, see the incredible value we receive with our membership, but I find it amazing so few others choose to join LO. I would not expect everyone to be a member, but 10 per cent is just a starting point. Our firm pushes contacts we know are non-members to join and are happy to say we have initiated several new members this way. I think if we all make a conscious effort to ask contacts and colleagues if they are members, and if not, why not?, we will see more uptake in the coming years.

As more professions become affected by government regulation, it only makes sense to be bonded together as one group to share a voice to raise concerns and applaud success. With amazing attendance at Congress this year, perhaps those non-members who attended will start to spread the word about the value of collaboration.

Every meeting I have been to, both within LO and outside of it, has either had the theme of collaboration or at least a strong emphasis on the value of it. This theme is not just in horticulture, but in all aspects of professional practice. We all rely on specialists to assist us in our daily lives. Ron Koudys spoke at the Designer’s Conference about engineers and doctors being specialists within their own profession. We too are specialists in what is becoming a broader field of practice. In order to put together our many diverse projects we collaborate with colleagues on a daily basis.

With the busiest winter on record for LO meetings and business continuing for our members I know a prosperous 2017 is within sight. Here’s to an early spring.
Paul Brydges may be reached at