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OGWA president’s message: Ontario association as an information hub

Harm can come when information is read incorrectly

October 6, 2023  By Dwayne Graff, President

Dwayne Graff President

As President of OGWA, I’m often called by our staff and OGWA members to sort out issues caused by others that can, without immediate intervention, become costly mistakes for the landowners if not jumped on right away.

Ontario is a vast territory with cities, large swaths of agricultural land, and northern areas with a widely scattered population. The tasks for organizations like ours become more complicated because of this large geography. OGWA members are held to strict regulatory requirements, and we take it seriously when we find out something is not right.

That’s why the use of OGWA, as an information hub for OGWA members, is so important.


One recent example shows the harm that can come when Information or laws are read wrong. One misreading of the Act could raise costs for a landowner or hinder our work in providing clean water to landowners, farmers, and industries.  

Recently, a building official misinterpreted a section of the Building Code Act, and if not fixed, would have cost the landowner more money. When our OGWA member became aware of this mistake, they phoned the head office of OGWA and described what happened. OGWA staff contacted me, and I was able to phone our member back and talk about what the Act actually says. The issue was fixed in a day.

OGWA’s members have regular contacts with a wide variety of the Ontario public. Municipalities, conservation authorities, various ministries, landowners, etc. These contacts can be positive, negative, or just for information.

Regardless of the outcome, this information needs to be shared with our members.  If one meeting results in a negative or positive outcome, our members should know. And if a member learns new information that helps OGWA members, this should also be shared.

Our members are doing great work, but the press, and sometimes members of the public, aren’t always informed about this. Bad news seems to take precedence.

OGWA is an important information hub. Members sending a short text/email/phone call to OGWA allows staff to summarize the issue and keep all of our members up to date. Quick action, and sharing of knowledge is one of the great benefits of OGWA.

Details are important in our business, and with 600-plus members working together, it improves everyone’s technical abilities, reduces downtime for owners, and allows new approaches and science to be adapted quickly. Information is an asset, whether we use email, phone, or meet in person. It is an asset our membership uses wisely.  

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