Ontario court rules ministry fell short in consultation process with James Bay First Nation
An Ontario Superior Court of Justice said the provincial government fell short of carrying out its duty to consult and accommodate with Attawapiskat First Nation in granting permits to a junior mining exploration company operating in the Ring of Fire.
But a series of misunderstandings and inadequate communication that occurred in 2020 were not serious enough for the court to rule in favour of the First Nation’s request to quash two permits issued to Juno Corp. The court rendered its decision on Feb. 24, five months after a two-day hearing in Toronto last fall. Attawapiskat was awarded court costs.
“On a practical level, there is blame on all sides,” was how a panel of three judges summed up the lack of communication between Juno, the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Attawapiskat that led the matter to court.
In the big picture, it remains to be seen if this decision will have any impact on potential future mining in the Ring of Fire, but it may plug some holes in how the ministry goes about its business in its consultation process with First Nations.