Category Archives: Media Releases

2020 Conservation Officer of the Year

Posted on July 15, 2020.

July 15th, 2020

2020 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year  

Temiskaming Shores – The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Mike Schenk has been selected as the 2020 Conservation Officer of the Year. Mike is part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) North Bay Enforcement Unit working out of the New Liskeard office.

Mike has been employed with MNRF across Northern Ontario since the early 1980’s and been a Conservation Officer for over 20 years, the last 18 of which he has patrolled the Temagami area.  He has proven throughout his career to be an outstanding officer, widely respected and relied upon by officers and staff from internal and external organizations.  This is evident by the long list of people that supported his nomination.  “Mike is a very deserving recipient of this year’s award,” said OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, “Mike has been an invaluable asset to our profession over the years, both as a skillful investigator and as an instructor.  In the field, Mike is among the best officers we have at taking statements and conducting thorough investigations.  In the classroom, Mike is a captivating speaker who speaks from experience.” 

Mike is an accomplished investigator and instructor who has demonstrated his commitment to the job and to protecting the public and our natural resources.  Some of Mike’s career highlights include:

  • Conducting and assisting with many complex investigations and projects, including investigations into night hunting, forest fires, illegal black bear outfitting operations, illegal netting and commercialization of fish, moose hunting investigations with a focus on the inhumane killing of wildlife and projects with a focus on public safety related offences. 
  • Receiving two OCOA Life Saving Awards 
  • Receiving an OPP Commissioner’s Commendation
  • Developing and delivering training on a variety of topics to fellow Conservation Officers and other MNRF staff
  • Receiving multiple Appreciation in Motion awards from the MNRF
  • Delivering hundreds of natural resource related presentations to; youth/public groups, hunter safety classes, cottage associations, park visitors and angler and hunter groups
  • Being a dedicated volunteer, including:
    • Leading and supporting food drives for local food banks
    • Being a Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Lieutenant to instruct at the Army Cadet Corp in his community
    • 5 years as a Scout leader and 2 years as a Beaver leader with Scouts Canada
    • Participating in the Cops for Cancer fundraising campaign
    • Active member with the Temiskaming Anglers and Hunters Association and Temiskaming Bullseye Club

Upon learning he had been selected as the 2020 Conservation Officer of the Year, Mike said, “I am truly surprised and humbled by this award.  I was raised in a family environment full of outdoor adventure accompanied by terrific lifelong friends, so a career in natural resource management and enforcement was an excellent lifestyle fit for me.  I share this award with all the dedicated officers and MNRF staff that I have worked with over the past 36 years, we have effectively learned and supported each other in the pursuit of sound resource conservation.  It has been a privilege to be an Ontario Conservation Officer, I wish I could turn back time so I could live the adventure all over again.”

Mike was also awarded the MNRF Conservation Officer of the Year Award and he will be receiving the Shikar-Safari Club International Ontario Wildlife Officer of the Year Award, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Conservation Officer of the Year Award, and he has been nominated for the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association Officer of the Year Award.

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For more information contact:

Sean Cronsberry

President

Ontario Conservation Officers Association  

scronsberry@ocoa.ca

 

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2019 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year

Posted on September 11, 2019.

August 20, 2019

2019 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year

Owen Sound – The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Marco Grigio has been selected as the 2019 Conservation Officer of the Year. Marco currently works for the Thunder Bay Enforcement Unit.

The Conservation Officer of the Year announcement was made at the OCOA annual general meeting on Saturday August 17th, in Owen Sound.  “Marco is a very deserving recipient of this year’s award,” said OCOA Vice President Todd Steinberg, “Marco is a top notch field officer, he has been a coach officer and a mentor to many new and aspiring Conservation Officers and has been an integral part in shaping and delivering the marine training program for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Enforcement Branch and the Ontario Provincial Police.  He has been an instructor with the O.P.P. marine training program for the past ten years.” 

Marco is an accomplished team member and enforcement officer who has demonstrated his commitment to the job and to protecting the public and our natural resources.  Some of Marco’s career highlights include:

  • Being a Conservation Officer in Ontario for over 25 years while serving with professionalism, honesty and integrity
  • Being a Defensive Tactics Instructor
  • Being an instructor with the OPP Marine training program for the past 10 years
  • Helping develop and deliver the marine training program for the MNRF Enforcement Branch
  • Organizing and leading a number of successful projects targeting public safety related issues and offences
  • Being a long-time volunteer in his community as a coach, a trainer and a board member in his local youth hockey organization 

Upon learning he had been selected as the 2019 Conservation Officer of the Year, Marco stated, “We have the best job in the world.  Full of spice, challenges, fun, adventure, and most importantly, rewarding in catching those who cheat our resources.  All we have to do is care and everything falls into place.  I can honestly say that I have never met a CO who said “I hate my job”.  Sure there’s frustration, everyone has some, but it doesn’t come close to trumping all the good.  So, it’s for this reason, that this award is so special.  It comes from my peers, who enjoy and appreciate the profession as much as I do.”

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For more information contact:

Sean Cronsberry

President

Ontario Conservation Officers Association  

scronsberry@ocoa.ca

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Wild Turkey Hunting Season

Posted on April 19, 2019.

WILD TURKEY HUNTING SEASON IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER

The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to wish all of Ontario’s wild turkey hunters a safe, enjoyable, and successful hunt. The 2019 spring wild turkey season in most of Ontario opens on April 25th and is a result of the reintroduction of wild turkeys to Ontario in the late 1980’s. The subsequent growth of turkey populations allowed for a limited hunt that has expanded over the years as the number of birds continues to grow.

“Wild turkey season gives hunters a chance to get back out into the outdoors and enjoy nature in the spring”, says Sean Cronsberry, OCOA President and active turkey hunter. “Wild turkey hunters can expect to encounter our officers in the field as we conduct hunter inspections to ensure everyone is following the rules and to ensure that the sport of turkey hunting continues to be a safe sport.”

Hunters are reminded that the hunting and fishing licensing system in Ontario has seen some recent changes, this includes changes to the tagging requirement of certain harvested animals.  Hunters are encouraged to review the new regulations in the 2019 Hunting Regulations Summary which is available online at https://www.ontario.ca/document/ontario-hunting-regulations-summary. If hunters still have questions about the new regulations they are encouraged to contact their local Conservation Officer for more information.

“Hunters should also be aware that many of the set fines for offences under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act changed this year,” adds Cronsberry, “Safety related offences such as having a loaded firearm in a vehicle and shooting from a road way now have a set fine of $500 plus surcharge.”  A complete list of set fines for offences under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 can be found at http://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/how-do-i/set-fines/set-fines-i/.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related violation is encouraged to call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact their local CO directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-TIPS (8477).

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at http://www.ocoa.ca, or contact your local Conservation Officer.  And please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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For more information contact:
Sean Cronsberry, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
scronsberry@ocoa.ca

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Ice Fishing Season is Here

Posted on January 22, 2019.

Ice Fishing Season is Here

Many of Ontario’s thousands of lakes across the province are host to excellent ice fishing opportunities and many of Ontario’s angling enthusiasts are taking advantage of the great conditions after the recent cold weather. The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) would like to remind anglers and anyone venturing on to frozen water bodies to put safety first.

“Winter fishing is the time of year where many anglers are able to access their favourite fishing spots that are inaccessible during the open water season,” said OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, “but anglers need to be sure that ice conditions are safe and they have the equipment with them to deal with an emergency.  By following some simple safety measures, it could save your life, or the life of someone else.”

Ice safety tips:

  • Check ice thickness and conditions frequently
  • Clear ice should be a minimum of 10cm (4”) for walking and ice fishing, 12cm (5”) for one snowmobile or ATV, 20-30cm (8-12”) a car or small pickup, 30-38cm (12-15”) for a medium truck (source: Lifesaving Society)
  • Fish with a buddy
  • Be prepared for an emergency – wear ice picks or a floater/survival suit, and have a whistle and cell phone on hand
  • Let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return. This should include where your vehicle will be parked, what route you plan to take and any stops you plan to make.
  • Stay off rivers and away from locks, where ice is less stable.  Ice conditions in areas of moving water or spring fed lakes can be potentially unsafe at any time, ensure the ice is safe before venturing out.

“Conservation officers across Ontario regularly come across groups or individuals who are ill-equipped should trouble occur,” said Cronsberry. “We strongly encourage everyone out on the ice to be prepared and have a plan on how to deal with an emergency.  Should an accident occur, being prepared will greatly increase your chance of rescue and survival.”

Anglers are reminded to carry valid fishing, snowmobile and ATV licenses with them at all times. They should also be sure to review the 2019 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary, available online and at Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) offices.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence is encouraged to call the MNRF violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact their local Conservation Officer directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at http://www.ocoa.ca or contact your local Conservation Officer.

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For more information contact:

Sean Cronsberry, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
scronsberry@ocoa.ca                                         

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Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart, Hunt Sober

Posted on October 15, 2018.

Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart, Hunt Sober

With the upcoming legalization of Cannabis on October 17th, 2018 the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to take this opportunity to remind hunters to always practice safe, responsible and sober hunting.

“The handling of a firearm is a very serious matter and safe handling can’t be stressed enough” says OCOA President Sean Cronsberry. “Impairment of any kind, either by drugs or alcohol, can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences.”

In addition to hunting sober the OCOA would also like remind hunters to hunt safely and to remember ACTS and PROVE:

  • Assume every firearm is loaded
  • Control the muzzle direction at all times
  • Trigger finger must be kept off the trigger and out of the trigger guard
  • See that the firearm is unloaded – PROVE it safe
  • Point the firearm in the safest available direction
  • Remove all ammunition
  • Observe the chamber
  • Verify the feeding path
  • Examine the bore

“By practicing safe and sober hunting we hope everyone has an enjoyable and successful hunting season.” concludes Cronsberry.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence is encouraged to call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact their local CO directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).Facebooktwittertumblr

Fall Boating – It Takes a Little Bit More Care

Posted on September 17, 2018.

     

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fall Boating – It Takes A Little Bit More Care

September 17th, 2018 – Toronto, ON — Boating in the fall offers colourful vistas, quiet anchorages and excellent fishing but it is not without its challenges that necessitate self-sufficiency and taking some additional precautions to keep from running into trouble.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) want to remind all boaters enjoying the fall season on the water to follow these tips to ensure that their excursions are both safe and enjoyable.

Before heading out, be sure to check the weather forecast. The mixing of warm and cold air can quickly spawn high winds and waves making it treacherous for small boats.  Fog, too, is an issue at this time of year making visibility difficult.  Should boaters find themselves in a fog bank, they should proceed slowly and sound their horn at regular intervals to alert other boaters of their presence.

Well into October, daytime temperatures can occasionally be balmy but dressing for the water temperature will help slow the onset of hypothermia should the unexpected happen and the boater find himself in the water.    Accidental cold water immersion can be shocking, but people shouldn’t panic.  It may take a minute or so to get their breathing under control after the initial shock but they will have at least 10-15 minutes, even in very cold water, to affect self-rescue before they start to lose muscle control in their arms and legs.  This is where an approved life jacket, either inflatable or inherently buoyant, is an essential part of a boater’s wardrobe to keep them afloat after they can no longer swim.

In the fall, there are fewer other boats on the water to offer assistance, if needed. Boaters should be sure to leave a float plan with a responsible person on shore who will know what to do if they’re overdue.  A marine radio or cell phone will allow them to call for assistance should the need arise.  Having a few tools and spare parts aboard will also allow them to fix minor problems that might otherwise cause them to be stranded out on the water.

It’s important that boaters ensure that their boat and engine are in good shape and mechanically sound.   Ethanol-based fuel can allow water contamination in the tank.  The use of a fuel additive prevents water in the fuel line from freezing which could cause the engine to chug to a halt.  If the boat has portable fuel tanks, it’s a good idea to have a spare on board as a reserve.

When boaters head out, they should be wary of reduced water levels that can result after a long, hot and dry summer season.  Some of a boater’s favourite shallow water fishing holes may be inaccessible at this time of year.  Also, while underway, they should keep a sharp lookout for debris and chunks of ice that could penetrate the boat’s hull at speed.

“Spectacular colours, peaceful solitude and the crispness of the air make boating in the fall a wondrous experience,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “To make the most of this experience safely, however, boaters need to be extra diligent in their preparations before departing. Most important of these are checking the weather, dressing for the water temperature, wearing a life jacket and leaving a float plan with a responsible person on shore who can call for help should the need arise.”

“Our members always wear their PFDs when on patrol,” says OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, “I strongly encourage everyone to wear their PFD or life jacket while on the water, whether they are hunting, fishing or trapping, especially this time of year with the dropping in water temperature.”

“To Ontario’s hunters using a vessel to access their blind or stand and to the angler trying to catch a big fish may be the goal, but making it home safely should be the top priority when on the water.”

Now that fall is here, boaters should make the most of what’s left of the boating season before the cold weather hits. By exercising a little caution and an ability to be self-sufficient when out on the water, they can more fully enjoy nature’s splendour and quiet waterways.  Visit www.csbc.ca for more tips on boating safety.

– 30 –

For further information contact:    

Ian Gilson, Director
Canadian Safe Boating Council
905-719-5152
igilson@rogers.com

Sean Cronsberry, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
scronsberry@ocoa.caFacebooktwittertumblr

Fall Salmon Migration

Posted on September 13, 2018.

2018 Fall Salmon Migration Coming to a River Near You

The month of September symbolizes the annual fall migration of salmon up some of Ontario’s rivers.  Each year thousands of anglers descend on these water bodies in search of these magnificent fish.  The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to wish all Ontario anglers a safe and successful fall angling season.

“Each angler is responsible for knowing where they are and aren’t allowed to fish,” says OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, a Conservation Officer and canine handler based out of Guelph, “Conservation Officers will investigate reports of anglers trespassing for the purpose of fishing.  All anglers must get permission from the land owner before entering or crossing private property to fish.”

The OCOA would also like to remind anglers who will be fishing this fall:

  • Don’t litter, properly dispose of any garbage and unwanted items.
  • It is illegal to attempt to pierce or hook a fish in any part of the body other than the mouth. Fish hooked anywhere other than in the mouth must be immediately released.
  • Catch and possession limits are in place to protect our fish populations and ensure there will be fish for future generations.
  • It is illegal to sell angler caught fish or any part of the fish, including roe.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence is encouraged to call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact their local Conservation Officer directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at http://www.ocoa.ca or contact your local Conservation Officer.Facebooktwittertumblr

New Executive to Serve Association Members

Posted on September 1, 2018.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW EXECUTIVE TO SERVE ASSOCIATION MEMBERS

The Ontario Conservation Officers Association is pleased to introduce its new executive members for the 2018-2020 term.

Elections were held during the association’s annual general meeting held in Cornwall from July 26-28, 2018. The role of the executive is to manage the affairs of the association. The new executive began their term September 1, 2018.

Outgoing president Tim Rochette would like to extend his thanks to the public and members alike for their support during his term as president.

The following is a list of executive members, they may be contacted at:

President – Sean Cronsberry, scronsberry@ocoa.ca

Vice President – Todd Steinberg, tsteinberg@ocoa.ca

Treasurer – Randy Pepper, rpepper@ocoa.ca

Secretary – Mike Duncan, mduncan@ocoa.ca

Past President – Tim Rochette, trochette@ocoa.ca

For more information contact:

Tim Rochette
Past President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
trochette@ocoa.ca

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Hooked on Life Jackets 2018

Posted on June 25, 2018.

2018 Hooked on Life Jackets

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CSBC & OCOA Team Up To Keep Ontario Anglers Safe on the Water

June 25, 2018, Toronto, ON, — June 30th-July 8th marks National Fishing Week in Canada. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) want to remind anglers that wearing your lifejacket is even more important than wearing your ‘lucky fishing hat’.  But they do share one trait.  They both have to be worn to be effective!

According to the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the Lifesaving Society, 80 percent of recreational boaters who drown each and every year in Canada were not wearing a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Most of these drownings occur in small, open power boats, accounting for 60 percent of these preventable deaths. A majority of these victims were males between the ages of 19 and 35, out for a day of fishing. 

Many of those who don’t wear their lifejackets or PFDs believe that, since they are good swimmers, having them onboard and within easy reach is good enough. But a lifejacket stored under a seat or up in the bow will be of no help when the unexpected happens, like falling overboard while trying to net the catch.

“National surveys clearly show that more than half the recreational boats sold in Canada are used for fishing on a regular basis,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council.  “During National Fishing Week, the Canadian Safe Boating Council would like to remind all anglers not only to have their lifejacket onboard their boat, but to look after it and wear it.   If you happen to fall overboard, it will give you the time you need to calm down, catch your breath, assess your situation and effect, or help effect, a rescue.  In 2 out of 3 drownings related to boating, the victims were less than 15 meters from some form of safety.”

Many of today’s anglers are delighted with the models that are designed especially to suit their needs.  They’re rugged, allow for full freedom of movement to cast and are constructed with lots of pockets for gear.  Some even come equipped with an attachment from which to hang a landing net.  When choosing their lifejacket, anglers should also check the label to make sure it is Transport Canada approved, is the correct size and fits snugly.

“The Ontario Conservation Officers Association is excited about partnering with the CSBC to promote the Hooked on Lifejackets program,” said Tim Rochette, President of the OCOA. “Our organization is dedicated to the sustainable use of all of our beautiful natural resources in Ontario, which includes ensuring that all boaters stay safe and wear a lifejacket while enjoying our waterways.”

Fishing is a part of our Canadian fabric and an activity that’s easy to get hooked on. At this important time of year, the CSBC and OCOA are asking those who fish to ‘Get Hooked on Lifejackets too.

This initiative is made possible through support of Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.  

For a 30-second television & radio PSAs along with BRoll relating to impaired boating, visit www.csbc.ca.

– 30 –

For further information contact:

Ian Gilson

Director – Canadian Safe Boating Council

Tel: (905)719-5152    igilson@rogers.comFacebooktwittertumblr

Stretching the Season – Boating Safety Into The Fall

Posted on September 18, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fall Boating – It Takes A Little Bit More Care

September 18th, 2017 – Toronto, ON — Boating in the fall offers colourful vistas, quiet anchorages and excellent fishing but it is not without its challenges that necessitate self-sufficiency and taking some additional precautions to keep from running into trouble.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Conservation Officer Association want to remind all boaters enjoying the fall season on the water to follow these tips to ensure that their excursions are both safe and enjoyable.

Before heading out, be sure to check the weather forecast. The mixing of warm and cold air can quickly spawn high winds and waves making it treacherous for small boats.  Fog, too, is an issue at this time of year making visibility difficult.  Should boaters find themselves in a fog bank, they should proceed slowly and sound their horn at regular intervals to alert other boaters of their presence.

Well into October, daytime temperatures can occasionally be balmy but dressing for the water temperature will help slow the onset of hypothermia should the unexpected happen and the boater find himself in the water.    Accidental cold water immersion can be shocking, but they shouldn’t panic.  It may take a minute or so to get their breathing under control after the initial shock but they will have at least 10-15 minutes, even in very cold water, to affect self-rescue before they start to lose muscle control in their arms and legs.  This is where an approved lifejacket, either inflatable or inherently buoyant, is an essential part of a boater’s wardrobe to keep them afloat after they can no longer swim.

In the fall, there are fewer boats on the water to offer assistance, if needed. Boaters should be sure to leave a float plan with a responsible person on shore who will know what to do if they’re overdue.  A marine radio or cell phone will allow them to call for assistance should the need arise.  Having a few tools and spare parts aboard will also allow them to fix minor problems that might otherwise cause them to be stranded out on the water.

It’s important that boaters ensure that their boat and engine are in good shape and mechanically sound.   Ethanol-based fuel can allow water contamination in the tank.  The use of a fuel additive prevents water in the fuel line from freezing which could cause the engine to chug to a halt.  If the boat has portable fuel tanks, it’s a good idea to have a spare on board as a reserve.

When boaters head out, they should be wary of reduced water levels that can result after a long, hot and dry summer season.  Some of a boater’s favourite shallow water fishing holes may be inaccessible at this time of year.  Also, while underway, they should keep a sharp lookout for debris and chunks of ice that could penetrate the boat’s hull at speed.

“Spectacular colours, peaceful solitude and the crispness of the air make boating in the fall a wondrous experience,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “To make the most of this experience safely, however, boaters need to be extra diligent in their preparations before departing. Most important of these are checking the weather, dressing for the water temperature, wearing a lifejacket and leaving a float plan with a responsible person on shore who can call for help should the need arise.”

Tim Rochette – Ontario Conservation Officers Association

“Now that fall is here, boaters should make the most of what’s left of the boating season before the cold weather hits. By exercising a little caution and an ability to be self-sufficient when out on the water, they can more fully enjoy nature’s splendour and quiet waterways.”

“To Ontario’s hunters utilizing watercraft to access their favourite blind or stand and to the fisherman hoping to catch that late fall trophy fish, the OCOA strongly encourages you to wear your life jacket.  Any one of the reasons outlined above should be enough to make you want to”

Visit www.csbc.ca for more tips on boating safety.

For further information contact:

Ian Gilson

Director – Canadian Safe Boating Council

905-719-5152

Igilson@rogers.comFacebooktwittertumblr