Archive | Ontario Far North Act

Confusion and concern over land-use planning across northern Ontario – by Dayna Nadine Scott (The Conversation – March 11, 2018)

Dayna Nadine Scott is an Associate Professor of Law and Environmental Studies, specializing in environmental law and justice., York University, Canada.

Peawanuck is a Cree community in northern Ontario near the shores of Hudson Bay and the home community of the Weenusk First Nation. When I visited in February, caribou hides and animal furs hung in the yards, teepee smokehouses smouldered outside homes and snowmobiles pulled boxed sleighs to carry food harvested from the land.

Like many Indigenous communities across northern Ontario, Peawanuck is confronting the realities of a changing climate, increasing pressure from mining companies that want to extract minerals from their lands and new land-use planning regimes flowing from the province.

At the same time, Indigenous communities across the country are increasingly claiming their rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) grounded in international law, in respect of decisions affecting their homelands. And both Canada and Ontario say they are ready to establish a “new relationship” with Indigenous peoples. Continue Reading →


THUNDER BAY – June 17, 2015) – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno outlined plans for a strategic approach for infrastructure and community development in NAN territory at the opening of the 5th Annual Ontario Mining Forum in Thunder Bay today.

“NAN is currently developing a strategic and innovative strategy that will position our 49 First Nations as active partners in delivering and financing comprehensive regional transportation infrastructure across our territory in Ontario’s remote north,” said Grand Chief Harvey Yesno during his keynote address. “The development of transportation infrastructure will help our communities diversify their direct reliance on the mining economy while maximizing socio-economic benefits and providing new business opportunities that will help develop local economies and strengthen our Nation.”

Mining accounts for 20 per cent of Canada’s exports to global markets, according to a 2013 Conference Board of Canada report, with Northern Ontario home to the largest mineral mining industry in Canada. Instead of waiting for infrastructure plans developed by industry and government, NAN is moving forward with the identification of corridor options based on First Nation knowledge of local topography, sacred sites, cultural heritage, and environment and resource development activities. This new approach will provide certainty for First Nations and the business community. Continue Reading →

It’s taken a long time to get this far nowhere – by Mark Gentili (Sudbury Northern Life – March 16, 2015)

Ontario created the Ring of Fire Secretariat in 2011 to develop, according to an Ontario Business Report document, “the chromite and other deposits in the Ring of Fire as quickly as possible and with due regard to environmental impacts and the needs of the Aboriginal communities within the region.”

That sounds great. Except if you ask anyone with a stake in the Ring of Fire, they’ll tell you they can’t figure out what the Secretariat has done the past four years….Then, less than a year ago, Ontario unveiled the Ring of Fire Development Corporation, ostensibly to do the same thing as the Secretariat. How many cooks does one meal need?

[Dalton] McGuinty sees mining the way his environmentally conscious (but terribly misinformed) southern urban supporters see it — dirty….Which begs the question, why would the Ontario Chamber tap his son to write the report card? Even if their intentions were pure, the optics of it are awful. I mean, there’s any number of educated policy wonks with information-gathering skills and no ties to the Liberals who could’ve written it.

Instead, the chamber is playing politics by defending the Ontario Liberals and trying to shame the feds into action, when they should be coming down on the side of development — that’s why they’re there. (Mark Gentili)

Mark Gentili is the managing editor of Northern Life and

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s “Where Are We Now?” report card on the Ring of Fire development in the Far North is a nice document. It’s full colour, has some good pictures and sports an attractive layout. Continue Reading →

‘The Ring of Fire is a national project’ says Kathleen Wynne (Business Network News – July 15, 2014)

The federal government needs to see the Ring of Fire as a national project that will benefit Canadians, says Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in an exclusive interview with BNN’s Greg Bonnell. The so-called Ring of Fire is the region located in Northern Ontario believed to be rich with minerals. The provincial government is allocating a billion dollars to build infrastructure there with the hopes of encouraging investment.

Horwath doesn’t tip hand during Sudbury visit [Ring of Fire] – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – January 23, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Andrea Horwath won’t outright say she expects a spring election. But her New Democratic Party is about to start consultations with Ontarians from which the party will take its cues about whether to support another Liberal budget.

Before the last two Liberal minority government budgets, the NDP held town hall meetings and telephone town halls, conducted online surveys, while MPPs held meetings with constituents to get feedback on what they wanted from government in a budget.

“The people of Ontario chose a minority government,” Horwath said Wednesday in Sudbury. “We’ve done everything we could to make that government deliver for them.” Her party will seek that feedback again to inform its decision-making around the next budget process, expected shortly after the Legislature resumes Feb. 18.

Horwath was in Sudbury to meet with Sudbury riding candidate Joe Cimino and attend a fundraiser. While here, she toured Stack Brewery on Kelly Lake Road, where she said it was heartening to see entrepreneurs like owner Shawn Mailloux helping to diversify Sudbury’s economy. Continue Reading →

Advocates want Canada to protect even more of its boreal forest – by Bob Weber (Canadian Press/Waterloo Record – January 6, 2014)

Canada has made significant strides in protecting the vast boreal forest that stretches across most of its provinces and territories, but the world’s largest intact forest ecosystem still faces threats, says an environmental group.

The amount of boreal forest under some form of government protection has doubled since 2007 to about 12 per cent of the total area, biologist Jeff Wells of the Canadian Boreal Initiative said recently. “That’s a big rate of increase in a short time and we’re hoping that’s going to continue,” he said.

The boreal forest is the huge swath of green that stretches from Newfoundland to the Yukon. It’s home to millions of migratory birds, harbours endangered wildlife such as caribou and shelters hundreds of wetlands that clean water and store carbon.

A total of 708,000 square kilometres is now protected by government. Another 460,000 square kilometres are being harvested through sustainable practices such as those outlined by the Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests by setting standards, and certifying and labelling wood products. Continue Reading →

Tony Clement’s Ring of Bad Policy – by Peter Foster (National Post – March 1, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Ontario’s ­development restrictions are the real problem

Last week, Tony Clement announced that he would become the Federal government’s point man on the “Ring of Fire,” the area of the James Bay lowlands in Northern Ontario estimated to contain between $30 billion and $50 billion worth of mineral potential.

No dancing in the streets was recorded in any Northern Community.

Mr. Clement, President of the Treasury Board, was claimed to be a good choice because he already heads FedNor, the Northern Ontario regional development agency. You remember FedNor … No, actually, you probably don’t. Like all regional development agencies, it is worse than useless, unless you believe that bailing out obscure cheese factories — or indeed any business — is a good use of taxpayers’ money.

Perhaps Mr. Clement’s most significant association in the public mind is as the minister who used funds attached to the appallingly expensive 2010 G8/G20 meetings to install gazebos in his riding of Muskoka/Parry Sound. Muskoka may look like the North from the intersection of Yonge and Bloor, but from Cochrane or Thunder Bay it’s just a Toronto suburb. Continue Reading →

NAN First Nations want negotiations on resources – by NNL Staff ( – February 11, 2013)

THUNDER BAY – News – ”The position of Nishnawbe Aski Nation remains firm,” said Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Grand Chief Yesno. “Whether it’s the Wynne government or the next, it is time for the government of Ontario to begin negotiations with our First Nations on treaty-wide resource revenue sharing so development can proceed in the north. The Premier must be committed to Ontario and First Nations to address treaty and aboriginal rights, and bring forward resource revenue sharing, equity and benefits for all of us.”

NAN – Future of any Premier in Ontario may hinge on decisions

“The Premier of Ontario needs to kick-start the Ontario economy and improve the future prospects for all Ontarians. It’s not a mystery to anyone in government – the lands and resources required to generate wealth for the future of Ontario are going to come out of the remote north – our treaty territories,” said NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno.

“The future of any Premier in Ontario may hinge on how they choose to proceed with resource and economic development in the remote north; and NAN First Nations are anticipating those discussions.”

Grand Chief Harvey Yesno expects results from the new Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne as she was officially sworn into her office today at Queen’s Park in Toronto. “Now that the Ontario Liberal Party has completed their leadership selection process, it is time to get down to business in the north. Continue Reading →

Far North chitchat [about Far North Act] – by Jeff Labine ( – May 23, 2012)

Michael Gravelle has tested the waters to see if Northern First Nation communities wanted to join forces to manage areas covered in the Far North Act.

The Minister of Natural Resources met with representatives from Northern First Nation communities at the Travelodge Hotel on Wednesday. The group spent the day discussing a potential joint body in regards to the Far North Act where First Nation communities would have more input on policies.

The Far North Act, which was passed in 2010, represents 42 per cent of Ontario or 450,000 square kilometres and applies to public lands in the Far North but not to First Nation communities or to federal, private or municipal lands.

In order to manage development plans better, the province implemented a community based land use initiative with the intent to have direct input from First Nation communities. Continue Reading →



QUEEN’S PARK – In advance of a trip to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association’s Annual General Meeting with Tim Hudak, Northern Development and Mines Critic Norm Miller demanded that the Minister explain his government’s lack of progress in the region during Question Period on Tuesday.

“We have at our fingertips one of the most lucrative resource finds in our province’s history,” Miller explained. “The government is eager to talk about the Ring of Fire and boast about the Ring of Fire, but won’t take any action beyond expanding an already bloated and uncoordinated bureaucracy.”

In his question to the Minister, Miller also asked about the lack of progress on the proposed road to the mining sites.

“This is such a basic requirement,” Miller argued. “If we can’t access it, we can’t mine it. Communities, miners, and First Nations groups are waiting. They’re getting impatient, and rightfully so. The government has been spinning its wheels for far too long.” Continue Reading →

Ontario PCs slam Bisson for not defeating the Far North Act – By Ontario Progressive Conservative new release (Timmins Times – March 27, 2012)

PC Norm Miller said Bisson’s vote could have made the difference

While Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson is angry at the decision to sell off Ontario Northland, the PC Party is just as angry with Bisson for not voting to shut down the controversial Far North Act.

The move to repeal the Far North Act was put forward last week by Progressive Conservative MPP Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka), who argued the act is damaging to the North and goes against what most Northerners want.

“This is just another example of bad public policy rammed through by Mr. McGuinty without consultation or accountability to First Nations, municipalities and businesses whose lives and livelihoods have been changed – for the worse.”

Miller’s bill went to the legislature on March 22nd but the Liberals were joined by New Democrats in defeating the second reading of the bill with a vote of 50 to 36. Continue Reading →

[NDP Sarah Campbell] MPP calls for talks on changing Far North Act – by Bryan Meadows (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – March 24, 2012)

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is calling for more consultation on changes to the Far North Act, with a goal of replacing it with new legislation that is more acceptable to Northern Ontario residents.

“The Liberal government didn’t listen to northerners and First Nations in Northern Ontario when they introduced the Far North Act,” Campbell said, in introducing a motion, calling for consultations, to the provincial legislature this week.

“Getting this right will help create economic opportunities and job creation in Northern Ontario and make sure the benefits are shared with the people who live here,” she said.

Campbell’s motion also proposes additional funding for First Nations’ land use planning, a joint co-ordinating body between First Nations and government, a resource revenue-sharing model, and the end to the provision that allows the government to overrule land use plans completed by First Nations. Continue Reading →


March 22, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK – Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is extremely disappointed at defeat of Bill 44, the Far North Repeal Act, in the Ontario Legislature today.

The Private Members’ Bill put forward by PC Northern Development and Mines Critic Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka) would have removed the severe restrictions previously placed on development and exploration by the McGuinty government. However, Liberal and NDP members joined to defeat the Bill by a vote of 50-36 on Second Reading.

“I’m most upset that the NDP members across the North, many of whom have previously spoken out against the Far North Act in the past, decided to toe the party line instead of standing up for their constituents and voted against this,” Fedeli said.

“You really have to wonder how much influence these Northern members actually have in driving their party’s agenda.” Continue Reading →

McGuinty has made Ontario the land of mediocrity – by Randy Hillier (Calgary Herald – March 11, 2012)

Randy Hillier is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Lanark-Frontenac- Lennox and Addington.

As I was reading between the lines of the Drummond report, a penny dropped out from the political spin: Premier Dalton McGuinty’s message is that Ontario can no longer compete with the likes of Alberta or Newfoundland because we don’t have their natural resources.
And he is right in this regard; McGuinty has locked our resources away and they remain untouched. The premier has stated that Alberta’s resource wealth has been a burden on the Ontario economy. McGuinty ignores that Alberta’s resource sector would be the exact same as Ontario’s if they were faced with the same regulatory regime.
McGuinty has been too preoccupied crafting regulations that now exceed over a half million. Rather than accepting the word of their beloved environmental advisers, McGuinty and his Liberal government should spend more time discovering Ontario for themselves. If they did, they might actually realize Ontario’s true and vast natural resource wealth. Continue Reading →

Northern leaders frustrated by Queen’s Park ignoring Northern concerns – by Len Gillis (Timmins Times – February 22, 2012)   [email protected]

Some suggest inviting Premier McGuinty to a Northern Ontario summit

Northeastern Ontario’s municipal leaders, our elected voices across the North, are worried that their voices are falling on deaf ears at the higher levels of government.

The problem is so bad that Northern leaders are discussing whether to pool their money to hire professional lobbyists to speak out on behalf of the North at Queen’s Park.

The issue was debated at length this past week when the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) held its Winter-Spring meeting at the McIntyre auditorium.

The key concern is whether government is listening to Northern municipalities on such issues as severely limited logging in the Abitibi River Forest and the perceived need to protect caribou habitat. In both cases, the municipalities are worried that southern Ontario policies are being imposed on Northern Ontario without regard to the economic realities of the north. Continue Reading →