Far North Act amendments to improve competitiveness in natural resource sector

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is proposing to refocus the Far North Act to enable development of all-season roads, electrical transmission projects and mineral development, while maintaining community-based land-use planning.

“Our government remains committed to working with Far North First Nations to support legacy infrastructure and responsible natural resource development that creates prosperity for First Nation communities,” said Greg Rickford, minister of Northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry.

“Now—after years of consultation— we are proposing to enhance provisions that encourage collaboration between Ontario and First Nations on land-use planning and promote economic development opportunities.”

Ontario collaborated extensively with Nishnawbe Aski Nation through a technical table that reviewed the legislation and recommended updates to the Act. The review process also included extensive consultations with Far North First Nations, Indigenous organizations, industry, municipalities and the public.

“Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry engaged in a joint process to review and recommend updates to the Far North Act. We are pleased to have had this opportunity to work together and that the outcomes of that process are reflected in the proposed amendments to the Act,” said Grand Chief Derek Fox, Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

The Far North is a vast region with a population of approximately 24,000 people, of which 90 per cent identify as First Nations, living mainly in remote, fly-in communities.

Critical projects in this region include electrical transmission, community roads, and mineral development such as in the Ring of Fire and community-based land-use planning is a joint process between Far North First Nations and Ontario.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents 49 First Nations with a total population (on and off-reserve) of approximately 45,000 people grouped by Tribal Council.

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