Michael Gravelle is the Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry www.mndmf.gov.on.ca
To remain at the forefront in a highly competitive global marketplace, we need to be open — open to change and open for discussion. Ontario’s Mining Act Modernization is an example of our government’s willingness to do both.
The Mining Act is introducing effective changes that will help keep our mining industry competitive and responsive. These changes will help strengthen our mining industry, while respecting aboriginal and treaty rights, as well as the rights of individual property owners.
Over the past year, we have been discussing with you how to adopt those changes into government regulations. I cannot emphasize enough how important those discussions have been. Ongoing open dialogue is vital to the process of developing effective regulations. That’s why we have made that a priority.
We spent nine months meeting with over 500 members of industry, aboriginal communities, non-governmental organizations, municipal representatives and private land owners.
Seeing an opportunity to build on this positive momentum, we also held six targeted discussion sessions across the province this fall. We brought together 200 representatives from mining companies and associations, First Nations and Métis, and business and environmental organizations.
Discussions have covered a number of key topics — exploration plans and permits, mineral tenure, aboriginal consultation, dispute resolution, private property rights and the protection of aboriginal sites of cultural significance.
I want to assure you that we are listening. Thanks to these open discussions, we have gained very constructive, practical feedback that will help us ensure we are developing the best regulations possible.
I want to thank everyone who participated in the discussions and submitted their feedback. The willingness of participants to exchange views in such a positive manner only reiterates my strong belief in the importance of open dialogue. Thanks to your input, we are closer to achieving the goals set out in the Act.
But we are not finished yet. Ongoing communication is critical to this process.
Our schedule of aboriginal engagement continues. Discussions with First Nations and Métis communities have resulted in a deeper understanding of the mining sequence among aboriginal peoples.
I encourage you to regularly visit the Mines and Minerals section of our website to stay updated about how we continue to modernize the Mining Act.
These are very exciting times for the minerals sector. Together, we will continue to stay open to change and build a strong minerals sector that reflects balance, certainty and opportunity for future generations.