THUNDER BAY – The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines came under fire from the Ontario Auditor General in the annual report issued today. The complete report, published below offers insights into how the Auditor General sees the issues, and how the MNDM responds to the concerns raised.
The slow progress for the Ring of Fire is one area where the Ontario Liberals came under fire, but there are several areas, including getting a very low return on the DeBeers Diamond mine near Attawapiskat where under $20 million dollars has come to the province even though over $2.5 billion in diamonds were extracted from the mine.
The Ring of Fire Secretariat and the Ring of Fire Development Corporation along with the efforts of the Ontario Government to consult with First Nations all came under critical comment from the Auditor General.
The Opposition Progressive Conservatives welcome the report.
“I welcome the findings of the Provincial Auditor, with regard to the Ring of Fire. She confirms the concerns that we in the Opposition repeatedly pressed the government on,” stated Norm Miller, Ontario PC Critic for Northern Development and Mines and Aboriginal Affairs.
“This government has taken every opportunity to brag about the jobs and benefit to the province that will be created by developing the Ring of Fire,” added Miller, “just look at how many times they have announced the formation of the Development Corporation.”
The report describes a number of facets of the Ring of Fire projects where performance markers, timelines, and specific plans are lacking.
“The Ring of Fire must be a priority for this government – optimistic press releases won’t cut it if this tremendous opportunity is to become a reality for Northern Ontario and benefit the entire province,” concluded Miller.
Revealed in the 2015 Annual Report by Ontario Auditor General:
- The Ring of Fire Secretariat with 3 regional offices and 19 staff has incurred operating costs of $13.2 million since being formed in 2010 and has no performance measures to gauge effectiveness of its actions to date.
- The Secretariat was found to have continuously missed milestones established by the government for the development of the Ring of Fire.
- The Ring of Fire Development Corporation still has no representation from First Nations, industry or the federal government since being formed in August 2014 – costing $550,000 to date.
- Total claims in the region have dropped from a high of 2,500 to below 1,000
- As of July 2015, no timelines existed for infrastructure projects in the Ring of Fire that could be funded from the $1-Billion committed for such development.