CONSTANCE LAKE – This week over twenty delegates from Matawa member First Nations have gathered in Constance Lake to participate in Keewaytinoak (Northland) Watch Environmental Assessment Training and Organizing. The workshop was organized by Chiefs of Ontario (COO) and Matawa’s Environment Services Group, Four Rivers. This training, which builds upon COO’s Environmental Assessment (EA) Toolkit, offers First Nation technical staff the opportunity to connect with leading industry professionals.
Participants are provided with an in-depth review of the EA process, including recent changes to the Federal level EAs, as well as opportunities for participants to collaborate with one another in addressing the challenges and needs faced by their communities.
“We wanted to bring people together to network with each other and to find answers to their questions about EAs,” explained Kathleen Padulo, Environment Coordinator with COO. Padulo adds, “We brought together a diverse group of trainers who have collaborated to tailor our training to the specific needs of the Matawa communities.”
Through on the land site-visits, in-depth group discussions, and technical presentations, participants will gain an increased understanding of how the EA process works and how they can participate in these processes to advocate for their community’s interests and goals.
“With the current pace and scale of development within the Ring of Fire region, we wanted to provide member communities to hear information and different perspectives on mining and environmental assessments, so that they might be better able to respond to proposed development within their homelands,” said Sarah Cockerton of Four Rivers.
The training program is supported by a two-year $116,900 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to the Chiefs of Ontario. Funds will be used to organize multi-day training workshops and an online webinar series for First Nations communities and leaders.
The training has also been made possible by generous funding from Hatch. “When we were approached by the Chiefs of Ontario, we immediately understood the value such a forum would bring to the communities in which we serve. Hatch is proud to be a sponsor in this important event that will ensure a sustainable future for the region.” stated Corinne Boone, Global Director for the Environmental Services Group at Hatch.