Thunder Bay: Legal experts call for halt to ‘mining as usual’ during pandemic – by Amy Hadley (CBC News Thunder Bay – June 9, 2020)

Letter to provincial minister asks government to press pause on mineral staking, permitting

A number of legal experts are calling on the provincial government to press pause on mineral staking and permitting processes on Indigenous territory in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter addressed to Greg Rickford, the province’s minister of energy, northern development and mines, nine faculty members at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School state that continued exploration is putting an undue burden on remote northern communities, and making it too difficult for meaningful consultation to take place.

“We didn’t think it’s lawful the way they’re proceeding with mining as usual in the context of a global pandemic,” said Dayna Scott, an associate professor at the school and in the faculty of urban and environmental change at York, and the primary author of the letter.

“And that’s in particular because many of the remote Indigenous communities that we work with in Ontario are expressing extreme difficulty in managing the sort of day-to-day work that needs to be done in governing their communities in the context of the pandemic.”

“And that means that people are necessarily taken away from the kind of work they often already are compromised in doing in terms of responding to all of the Crown’s requests for consultation on mining permits.”

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