Association Governance & Best Practices

Lake Associations are the backbone of waterfront communities across Ontario. FOCA wants volunteer associations to thrive!

FOCA’s network of member associations has combined knowledge on a variety of topics important to volunteer waterfront and road groups! There is no need to “reinvent the wheel” when there are handy resources to be shared among members.

FOCA is the hub of a network of over 525 member Associations across the province. This network has key peer information to share about governance practices, engagement, success stories and shared experiences.

Check out this video highlighting “Associations in Action” created by FOCA and posted on YouTube. Please share this in your own member news, as part of a membership drive, or on social media.

November 2023 – important update from Service Ontario for Ontario Incorporated Associations:

“The Government of Ontario is changing the way users access secure government services. Services that previously used ONe-Key credentials are switching to a new My Ontario Account service that allows for increased security and authentication, while providing an improved experience to users.”

“NOTE: ONe-Key is no longer available for access. If you previously used ONe-Key to log into your Service Ontario Account, you will need to migrate your ONe-Key over to a My Ontario Account. Create or use an existing My Ontario Account and select “yes” when prompted about migration. If you do not have a previous ONe-Key account, you can create a new My Ontario Account to access ServiceOntario Account services.” 

Looking for new Board Members for your Association, or volunteers for a one-time project or annual event? Consider posting the job on Charity Village. First, create a free account as a nonprofit “Employer”, then “Post a Job” and choose “Volunteer” as the category. (Tip: search “Board volunteer” or other terms to see existing job postings by others, for ideas about what amount of information a posting should have.) We hope you find your dream candidate!

A reminder to any of our Member Associations that are incorporated in Ontario:

September 30, 2023 is the final date to hold your board meetings or member meetings electronically, if your bylaws prohibit this. During COVID-19, the province temporarily suspended this condition, allowing associations to meet electronically even if their bylaws said otherwise.

(Note: member meetings of incorporated associations cannot be held via email, as two-way communication must be allowed.) For more, visit: https://nonprofitlaw.cleo.on.ca/recent-changes/ and consult the member materials below about good governance and ONCA compliance.

Use the resources on this webpage, and then share your own success stories with FOCA, so your peers can benefit from your knowledge and experience!

You Asked: “How can we best use FOCA resources and show our members the value of our FOCA membership?” Click to download FOCA’s answer (PDF, 1 page), including links to our top tips for Associations.

banner image: Association Toolkit

Member resources related to good governance:

We refer to these resources as a ‘Toolkit’ for volunteer associations like yours.

Here are some highlights about what current Association Members can access below:

  • tips for starting & building a successful Lake Association or Road Association (just starting an association? Contact the FOCA office for assistance!)
  • governance guidance (annual filings, meetings, taxes and more), including tips for managing during the pandemic, and what incorporated associations need to do now, in order to comply with the Ontario Non-profit Corporations Act that comes into full effect in 2024
  • samples of a “welcome sheet” for the lake, a template Association Binder you can customize
  • sample by-laws
  • tips for finding and engaging more members & volunteers
  • risk management & insurance considerations for volunteer groups
  • help with digital communications (website, social media, virtual meetings)
  • and much more… 

You're missing members-only content!

The following governance resources are only available to members of our Member Associations & current Friends of FOCA (our annual supporters).

If you are already registered on the FOCA website, please login below with your Username and Password.

Need help with your login? Contact us for assistance during business hours. Not yet a Member Association? Find out why you should be!

Make sure you’re using all your Association membership benefits and services!

Here are more Member Association resources, and links to additional webpages:

You're missing members-only content!

The following resources about ONCA are only available to members of our Member Associations.

If you are already registered on the FOCA website, please login below with your Username and Password.

Need help with your login? Contact us for assistance during business hours. Not yet a Member Association? Find out why you should be!

The following is members-only content!

“Welcome” information, to help new property owners and visitors to understand the in’s-and-out’s of life at your waterbody. 

Choose from short samples, or a full binder template that you can customize:

You're missing members-only content!

The following resources about welcome sheets, etiquette tips and renters' guides are only available to members of our Member Associations.

If you are already registered on the FOCA website, please login below with your Username and Password.

Need help with your login? Contact us for assistance during business hours. Not yet a Member Association? Find out why you should be!

You're missing members-only content!

The following resources about managing a volunteer association through the pandemic are only available to members of our Member Associations.

If you are already registered on the FOCA website, please login below with your Username and Password.

Need help with your login? Contact us for assistance during business hours. Not yet a Member Association? Find out why you should be!

You're missing members-only content!

The following resources about Board & Volunteer recruitment and retention are only available to members of our Member Associations.

If you are already registered on the FOCA website, please login below with your Username and Password.

Need help with your login? Contact us for assistance during business hours. Not yet a Member Association? Find out why you should be!

The following information is available to FOCA Members and Annual Supporters. Need help with your login? Contact us! Not yet a Member or Annual Supporter? Find out why you should be!

Insurance & Risk Management considerations:

Consult the FOCA Association Risk Management manual for extensive risk management information for volunteer groups like yours.

Member Associations access a member rate on insurance offered through the FOCA Liability Insurance Program administered by Cade Associates Insurance Brokers. NOTE: this paid coverage also includes unlimited access to a Legal Helpline for your Association.

Access these resources puls additional tips and information on our related webpage: Risk Management.

Help with Digital Communications:

FOCA wants our member Associations to thrive and find ways to stay digitally connected! If your Association does not yet have a website or a Facebook page, FOCA can help: