Ontario Seeks to “Re-Focus” Far North Act

Greg Rickford
Minister Greg Rickford

KENORA – NEWS – The Ontario government is proposing to refocus the Far North Act and its regulations for Far North economic development and joint planning with Indigenous partners. The revised Act will focus on enabling the 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, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “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. I appreciated NAN collaborating with Ontario during this review process.”

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.

The Ontario government will continue working with Far North First Nations to develop community-based land-use plans that promote responsible economic growth, while protecting areas of cultural value, maintaining ecological systems, and respecting Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Quick Facts

  • The Far North is a vast region in Ontario with a population of approximately 24,000 people, of which 90% identify as First Nations, living mainly in remote, fly-in communities.
  • These small communities have limited infrastructure and access to services to attract new investment. Critical projects in this region include electrical transmission, community roads, and mineral development such as in the Ring of Fire.
  • Community-based land-use planning is a joint process between Far North First Nations and Ontario to make decisions on areas available for economic development, and environmental and cultural protection.
  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents 49 First Nations with a total population (on and off-reserve) of approximately 45,000 people grouped by Tribal Council.

“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,” says Grand Chief Derek Fox – Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

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