Ontario, the largest mineral producer in Canada, is modernizing its Mining Act. The following six postings are from a provincial policy document – titled “Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act – Finding A Balance” produced by the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.
Ontarians share a fundamental value – a deep and profound love for the natural wonders of this province.
The natural world of trees and rocks and water and wildlife has built our economy into one of the strongest in the world. Since earliest times, it has inspired our art and shaped our character as a people. It sustains us and lies at the core of our self-image.
Whether we are urbanites who relish our annual canoe trips with the kids; Cree hunters awaiting the return of the geese to Hanna Bay; lone prospectors plying their craft in the winter wilderness; cottagers enjoying the sunset at the lake; or small-towners sneaking out at lunch to dip a line in a local stream – whoever we are and whatever we do, we all love this place.
In a sense, we Ontarians are all people of the land. It is natural, then, that the land – and the uses we put it to – should spark strong feelings. Sometimes we find ourselves at odds with each other. Occasionally, these differences lead to conflicts.
Like all legislation, Ontario’s Mining Act must adapt to the dynamic society it serves. Times change, and people’s aspirations change with them. And these are changed times.
Technological advances allow us to consider mining activity in lands that were once too remote to be of interest. Lands that were once seen as unproductive for anything but resource extraction are now treasured recreational properties. First Nation and Métis communities are wondering how to create new economic activities while also pursuing traditional activities in their home lands.
Our Mining Act must reflect these changed times. At the same time, we need to ensure that we continue to promote sustainable mineral resource stewardship for the benefit of all Ontarians.
In this discussion paper, you will find an outline of the five critical policy issues we believe we must address. We set out what we hope to achieve in this process, and list some approaches you may wish to consider. For each issue, we have posed a series of questions to help you focus your suggestions and comments.
Our task is to find a balance. By getting it right, we can ensure that all communities have the opportunity to reap the benefits of the current mining boom – according to their aspirations – while we preserve the natural heritage values we so deeply love.
The Hon. Michael Gravelle
Minister of Northern Development and Mines