December 12, 2018
By Myscha Stafford
LO Membership and Chapter Coordinator

Myscha Stafford2018 was a whirlwind of a year. The only certainty was the uncertainty of the weather, As I look back over the past 11 months, a number of memorable topics/events captured the headlines. Here are my Top Eight association topics of 2018:

The move

In late spring, Landscape Ontario’s staff were told the major renovations planned for the home office in Milton would start in July. Our dream of providing a revitalized hub to better serve members would become a reality. LO staff packed up (and sorted through decades worth of stuff!) and moved out, into temporary offices on the other side of Milton, at 470 Bronte Street South. While in our close quarters with some interesting neighbours, we anxiously await the unveiling of our newly renovated building in 2019.

Bill 148

Major changes to employment laws in the province took effect on Jan. 1, 2018, then slowly reverted as the year progressed (and will continue to do so in 2019). The hype around the new legislation began in 2017, came to a head early in 2018, and within a year is planning to be scrapped. With the new, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, minimum wage has been held at $14 per hour, along with changes to paid days of absence from work.

Salt shortage

In summer, while most of us did not even want to acknowledge the eventual arrival of snow, LO’s Snow and Ice Management Sector Group was faced with finding a reliable supply of salt, increased costs for any they could secure, and communicating that reality to clients. Winter arrived earlier this year, making the lack of available salt products even more of a challenge. For a list of articles and resources on the issue, visit

Cannabis legislation October saw the legalization of cannabis in Canada. While a zero tolerance policy exists for the workplace, employers must also make special accommodations for employees who have a prescription for medical marijuana. Templates for dealing with possible impairment in the workplace can be found at Legalization of cannabis has impacted the green profession in many ways. Licensed growers need suppliers, labour and most importantly, greenhouse space. Why grow poinsettias when you can grow pot?

LO Awards of Excellence

The responsibility of running LO’s annual Awards of Excellence program has returned to staff of the association’s Membership Department. We had a record number of entries this year, with over 300 submissions. Our judges were impressed with the quality of work and creativity demonstrated by year’s entries, and we can’t wait to unveil the winners at the awards ceremony on the Tuesday evening of Congress (Jan. 8).

Highway of Heroes Living Tribute

This year at Canada Blooms, the provincial government, under Premier Kathleen Wynne, pledged $1 million in support of the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute campaign. By the end of the year, 90,000 trees will have been planted along the stretch of highway from Trenton to Toronto. The campaign continues to grow toward its goal of planting two million trees. Why not gift a tree for Christmas? A $150 donation will get you a Hero Tree, which will be planted in honour of a Canadian soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and you also get a certificate which can be provided in the name of a loved one on your shopping list.


Finding and retaining quality staff has been at the forefront of every business owner’s mind this year. Ontario’s Horticultural Technician Apprenticeship Program is a great way for employers to retain quality staff while also benefiting from available grants and tax credits. The Apprenticeship program saw solid growth this year, with the highest enrolment numbers since LO committed the resources of a full-time staff member to help members register for the program. If you have questions about the program or have staff you would like to register, please contact Alex Gibson at


The Landscape Ontario community continued to grow throughout 2018. While the many financial discounts are an attractive incentive to join, the feedback we have received from our new members is that the networking and professional development opportunities are actually the main reasons they decide to join our LO family. Your membership team will continue to provide new and exciting programs in 2019.

As we look toward a new year, I would like to thank all of the Chapter Boards and volunteers for working so hard to plan wonderful meetings and events for our members. Thanks also to all of the members who attend and support these events, and continue to support Landscape Ontario. It has been incredible to see the hard work of our members, not only in their own businesses, but also in the countless projects they have dedicated their time and efforts into making them a success. Thank you!

For upcoming chapter events, and member benefits, visit or contact me at the LO office.

Happy holidays and I hope to see you at Congress.
Myscha Stafford can be reached at or 1-800-265-5656 ext.2333.