Ontario Mining Association (OMA) – August 2009 Submission to the Ontario Government on the Far North Act (Bill 191) and the Mining Act (Bill 173)

The Ontario Mining Association (OMA), is an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Please note that the order of this document has been slightly changed. The Bill 191, the Far North Act material has been placed at the beginning of the posting for the reader’s convenience. – Stan Sudol

Bill 191, the Far North Act

1. Clarifying the Ambiguity and Imbalance

Once again, we are appreciative of the government’s efforts to foster a multi-stakeholder dialogue and build consensus through the Far North Advisory Council. We also agree with the goal “to strike the right balance between conservation and development”, which was set out in the Premier’s July 14, 2008 announcement.

However, Bill 191 presents many challenges for our members, which if not rectified, will cause unprecedented delay, unnecessary conflicts and diminishing economic benefits for the province and communities of the Far North. The nature of the mining industry is one that requires long-term certainty and clarity – given the long planning cycles of our industry, as well as the significant capital expenditures and detailed permitting process required for the development of a mine. Additionally, mineral exploration is a highly risky undertaking; only 1 in 10,000 prospects becomes a mine. 

Industry would appreciate greater balance between industry, community and conservation components in various aspects of Bill 191 so that the Bill achieves the desired goal of economic development and conservation. Without this balance, Bill 191 may be seen as an impediment to future investment and development in Ontario’s Far North for mineral exploration and mine development, forcing companies to look elsewhere for mineral development projects. 

While the proposed legislation is a start in putting a process in place to ensure partnership building between government and Aboriginal peoples, it has not provided a specific role for other stakeholders, such as the mineral industry. Given the importance of  mineral development to the economic development and prosperity of the Far North and its people, it is critical that the mineral industry have a seat at the table.

The OMA supports active participation of Aboriginal peoples in the mineral industry and understanding and co-operation between the industry and Aboriginal communities where mineral development and extraction occur. The members of the OMA have collectively more than 50 agreements with the First Nations.

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NDP News Release – NDP stands with First Nations, votes against [Far North Act] Bill 191 – September 23, 2010

QUEEN’S PARK – The McGuinty Liberals’ decision to ram the Far North Act through the Legislature today is a big step backwards for relations between First Nations and the provincial government, say NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic Gilles Bisson. “The Premier went back on his pledge to First Nations leaders that …

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Ontario Prospectors Association of Ontario News Release – ONTARIO PROSPECTORS DISAPPOINTED BILL 191 PASSES THIRD READING – September 30, 2010

The objectives of the Ontario Prospectors Association are to represent and further the interests of the mineral exploration industry and the interests of prospectors. Our mission is to enhance and promote the Ontario mineral exploration and development community to foster a healthy mining industry.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Board of Directors of the Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA) regrets that Bill 191, the Far North Act, was passed after the third reading by the Ontario Legislature.

The OPA believes the present form of the Far North Act will cripple exploration and related economic development in Ontario’s Boreal Forest lands, an area recently demonstrated once again to hold vast mineral deposits within the “Ring of Fire” chromite (stainless steel) and copper, nickel and platinum group element (automobile pollution control) discoveries. While the timing of the discovery and onset of development of the Ring of Fire has fortunately preceded royal proclamation of the Far North Act, future capital investment will not freely flow into the legal limbo created by Far North Act in its current form.

The OPA applauds the Far North Act’s recognition and support for Community-based Land Use Planning amongst the region’s First Nation communities. However, advance selection of a 50% (225,000sq km) protection target under the Far North Act’s proposed grid of “interconnected” waterway parks and protected spaces will ensure a 100% loss of potential for future discoveries and related economic development in this vast area of high mineral potential.

Exploration and mining in Ontario’s north have historically been mainstays of the economies of both northern and southern Ontario. The Far North Act in its present form represents a potential loss of economic opportunity.

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WWF News Release – World Wildlife Fund Supports Ontario’s Amended Far North Act (Bill 191) September 15, 2010

Gerald is President and CEO of WWF-Canada, the country’s largest environmental organization. Prior to joining WWF, Gerald was Principal Secretary to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty where he worked directly with the Premier, Cabinet and Public Service to develop, implement and communicate the government’s agenda. He was intimately involved in all of the government’s significant environmental initiatives, from the Greenbelt and Boreal Conservation plan to the coal phase-out and toxic reduction strategy.

WWF-Canada hopes the Ontario Legislature will pass amended Far North Act Today WWF-Canada indicated that it hopes the Ontario Legislature will soon pass an amended Act with respect to land use planning and protection in the Far North.

The legislation was introduced in June 2009 to implement a vision announced by Premier McGuinty a year earlier for the boreal region occupying 42 per cent of the province. The Premier’s vision involves protecting at least half of the area, while encouraging new economic development. Both objectives are to be accomplished through community land use plans led by First Nations.

“We felt the conservation objectives were secure in the proposed legislation, but it needed to be improved to recognize greater control of the planning process by First Nations,” said Monte Hummel, President Emeritus of WWF-Canada. “Therefore, we have strongly supported First Nations concerns, through our testimony before the Standing Committee, through many meetings with both government and First Nations leaders, and through our recommendations for specific changes to the Act.”

The 49 pages of amendments introduced this week by Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources, will go a long way to ensuring that First Nations have an equal say in planning. Of particular importance is the introduction in Section 6 of a joint planning body with equal representation from the Province and First Nations to oversee the planning process, to advise on funding, and to determine a dispute resolution mechanism. Such a joint body was recommended by the Far North Advisory Council in their March, 2009 report, including representatives from the mining, prospecting, water power and forest industries, as well as environmental groups. In addition, WWF emphasized the importance of $16 million in new provincial funding to flow directly to First Nations engaged in land use planning.

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Tim Hudak’s Bad Idea – Toronto Star August 16, 2010 Editorial Comment on PC Leader Tim Hudak’s Promise to Repeal Far North Act

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This editorial was originally published on August 16, 2010. Toronto Star Editorial: Trolling for votes in northern Ontario last week, provincial Conservative Leader Tim Hudak promised to repeal the Far …

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PC Party Critic for MNDMF News Release – Dalton McGuinty Perpetrates Largest Land Swindle in Canada’s History – September 23, 2010

(QUEEN’S PARK) Minutes ago, in a vote of 46 to 26, the Dalton McGuinty Liberals completed their headlong rush to pass Bill 191 through the legislature with as little consultation as possible. The bill remained almost unchanged from its introduction, a stunning testament to a government that has completely abandoned its Northern Constituents.

“This is a sad day for Northern Ontario. Despite the outcry from Northern Ontario, it has fallen upon deaf ears,” said Randy Hillier, PC Party Critic for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “Dalton McGuinty has given away 42% of this province away to environmentalist friends in downtown Toronto. He’s stolen it, and Northerners didn’t get a penny in return.”

Bill 191 will ban all development in 42% of Ontario, an area of 225,000 km2. Because the bill makes no stipulations on which land is specifically off limits, the resulting uncertainty will undoubtedly play havoc with any new investments in Northern Ontario.

Widely derided by Northern Aboriginal, Industry and Municipal groups, the bill has been endorsed by Monte Hummel of the World Wildlife fund. In fact, the WWF was the only group consulted prior to the bill’s introduction.

“This is Dalton McGuinty’s idea of ‘balance’,” said Hillier. “It’s a devastating assault on the economy of the North at a time when it is already fragile. It’s proof that McGuinty has completely lost touch with those who elected him.”

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PC Party Critic for MNDMF News Release – McGuinty Liberals Ban Development in 42% of Ontario – September 22nd, 2010

(QUEEN’S PARK) Today, the McGuinty Government will call Bill 191 for passage, despite an outcry of opposition from Industry, First Nations, and Northern residents. Dalton McGuinty, who promised First Nations that he would not pass the bill without their consent, has instead cancelled all northern consultations and moved forward on a bill which will see 50% of the land north of the 51st parallel, an area the size of the United Kingdom, cut off from any economic development.

“This bill is a travesty. Dalton McGuinty has told Northerners that he knows better than them what they should be doing on their land,” said Randy Hillier, PC Party Critic for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “This government has ignored opposition from all Northerners, just to appease their southern Ontario special-interest friends.”

“Despite his promises of a ‘new relationship’ with First Nations, Dalton McGuinty has stabbed them in the back. He’s doomed them to generational poverty. How can they thrive when they are forbidden from participating in the economy?” said Hillier. “Northern Ontario is rich in resources. It has Chromite, Diamonds, Gold. Why is he putting all those resources off-limits for some of Ontario’s poorest citizens?”

The Ring of Fire, a mining project which McGuinty touted in his Throne Speech, lies within Bill 191’s exclusion zone.

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THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy stated today that First Nations in the Far North, and their obvious opposition to Bill 191, continues to be ignored by the Provincial Government. This, following the decision by the Ontario Legislature Thursday, to hear Third Reading of Bill 191 despite loud protest and …

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THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin issued the following statement on behalf of the NAN Executive Council, Tribal Councils and NAN First Nations following the passing of Third Reading of Bill 191 – The Far North Act in the Ontario Legislature today. “The passing of Bill 191 today indeed …

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Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak News Release – Ontario PCs Put Forward Motion to Stop Dalton McGuinty From Reneging on Northern Ontario [Far North Act]- September 13th, 2010

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak and PC Critic for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, MPP Randy Hillier, today demanded that the McGuinty Government finally listen to northern families about the devastating impact Bill 191 will have on jobs and investment in Northern Ontario.

Today, the Ontario PC Caucus put forward a motion to demand that the McGuinty Government listen to northerners on the damage this bad Bill will do to the northern economy. In June, Dalton McGuinty reneged on legislatively required northern consultations for Bill 191, The Far North Act, which is opposed by northern First Nations, municipalities and industries alike. Bill 191 is scheduled to come up for final reading on Thursday.

Bill 191 will choke off 50 per cent of northern Ontario from future economic development at a time when northern Ontario families need new jobs and investment. Hudak renewed his commitment that a future PC Government will repeal Bill 191 should the McGuinty Government ram through the legislation as written.


“Bill 191 has been rammed through the Legislature with no consultation or accountability for those whose lives and livelihoods it will change forever. If Dalton McGuinty passes this damaging Bill without substantial changes, a Tim Hudak led Ontario PC Government will repeal it.”
–Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak

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Ontario Chamber of Commerce Far North Act Submission to the Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey

This submission was signed by Len Crispino, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on September 10, 2010.

Certainly, the “Ring of Fire” project will foster considerable long-term economic growth for Ontario as a whole and Northern Ontario in particular. It is fair to say that such a project may have never been discovered had the [Far North] Act already been in place years ago, because the land use planning process may have delayed, or even ultimately stopped the Ring of Fire opportunity from ever being discovered and/or explored. – Len Crispino, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Dear Minister:

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is a federation of 160 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade in the Province of Ontario, representing 60,000 businesses of all sizes, in all economic sectors and from every area of the province. The OCC’s madate is to advocate strong policies on issues that affect its membership throughout Ontario’s business community.

The OCC welcomes legislation which provides for economic renewal and opportunity and ensures a competitive business climate in Ontario.

While addressing economic renewal, the OCC wishes to provide input on Bill 191. The Far North Act is currently in the Standing Committee for General Government for review and nearing Third Reading.

The Government of Ontario has annouced that Bill 191 will set aside at least 225,000 square kilometers of the far north in an interconnected network of protected areas, by means of community based land use planning. This Act states that it aims to provide for community based land use planning in the Far North that directly involves First Nations in the planning and that supports the environmental, social and economic objectives for land use planning for the people of Ontario located there.

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Ontario Chamber of Commerce News Release – OCC Calls for Withdrawal of Far North Act – September 13th, 2010

Business Advocacy, Other Issues
The Government of Ontario’s Bill 191, The Far North Act, twill set aside at least 225,000 square kilometers of the far north in an interconnected network of protected areas, by means of community based land use planning. This Act states that it aims to provide for community based land use planning in the Far North that directly involves First Nations in the planning and that supports the environmental, social and economic objectives for land use planning for the people of Ontario located there.

While the OCC is strongly supportive of environmental protection, there are concerns that the Act could delay or prevent effective development of the region. The Act has the potential to paralyze future developments in Ontario’s far north, and hinder new opportunities for economic development that could lead to future growth opportunities and economic renewal for Ontario.

For more information, please contact Frank Belluardo, Policy Analyst, at frankbelluardo@occ.on.ca or 416-482-5222 x 247.

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Liberal Government News Release – September 23, 2010 – Far North Act Passes – McGuinty Government Committed To Economic Development And Environmental Protection

Ontario has made significant strides in economic development and environmental protection in the Far North with the passage of the Far North Act, 2010.

A first in Ontario history, First Nations’ approval of land use plans is now required by law. First Nations communities will identify and approve the areas in the Far North that require protection as well as those areas suitable for economic development. 

These land use plans are key to develop the Far North, including the region known as the ‘Ring of Fire’ which contains one of the World’s largest deposits of chromite – a key ingredient in stainless steel and an economic opportunity for Far North communities.

The act provides a foundation for First Nations and Ontario to work together as partners on land use planning in the Far North as part of the Open Ontario plan to support the region’s economy and environment.

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Finance minister compares Far North Act to creation of Algonquin Park – by Nick Stewart

This article was originally posted September 29, 2010 on the website of Northern Ontario Business. Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

Last week’s passage of the highly controversial Far North Act was likened to the creation of a provincial park by Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, following a presentation to the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 27.

“It’s all about how we develop the mix of development moving forward and how we make sure that, as we enhance our ability to grow the North, we also enhance our ability to preserve that part which will have enormous appeal in the future,” said Duncan to Northern Ontario Business in an interview following his speech.

“In 1895, (then-Premier) Oliver Mowat created Algonquin Park over a whole lot of objection at the time, and it still remains an enormous tourism magnet. So it’s about finding balance, and we’ll continue to work with communities across the North to get the right balance, and I’m glad we’re having a debate because we needed to have it.”

The act, passed last week in the provincial legislature with a vote of 46-26, dictates the setting aside of 225,000 square kilometres of the region as “protected areas.”

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Go North, to Find Ontario’s Next Economic Boom in the Ring of Fire Mining Development – by Livio Di Matteo

Livio Di Matteo is professor of economics at Lakehead University. This column was originally published in January, 2010.

While it is simplistic to believe that history repeats itself, economic history is shaped by cyclical demographic and economic factors. Ontario’s economy, despite its current lethargy, is poised for a boom reminiscent of what shaped the province at the dawn of the 20th century.

During the late 19th century, Ontario’s economy was laid low by a global economic slump. Between 1891 and 1901, Ontario’s population growth crawled to a virtual halt and out-migration of its young people to the United States became a chronic lament.

Ontario’s economy was saved during the early 20th century by two booms
that fuelled its manufacturing sector’s growth and ensured that Toronto
became the financial centre of Canada.

Ontario’s economy was saved during the early 20th century by two booms that fuelled its manufacturing sector’s growth and ensured that Toronto became the financial centre of Canada. The first, the prairie settlement boom, saw hundreds of thousands of European settlers flock to the Prairies and form a market for consumer goods produced by central Canadian industry. The second was the forestry and mining resource boom of Ontario’s northern frontier, which generated inputs into southern Ontario industry, created Toronto’s role as a financial centre and created a lucrative source of provincial government revenue via enormous resource rents and royalties.

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