Ontario and First Nations Partner to Boost Northern Ontario Development

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Greenstone, ON — Tuesday, the Ontario government took a significant step in partnering with First Nations to enhance economic and resource development in Northern Ontario.

Premier Doug Ford signed Letters of Confirmation with Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation, and Long Lake #58 First Nation to unlock new opportunities, including future critical minerals projects.

“As we rebuild Ontario’s economy, our government is developing meaningful partnerships with First Nations across Ontario that create real opportunities for economic growth and job creation,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Together with First Nations partners, we’re improving and upgrading northern roads to better connect First Nations communities to the province’s highway network and to support future critical mineral and resource development opportunities. These are all-season roads that will support First Nations communities, built by First Nations workers.”

The agreements include upgrading roads that connect First Nations communities to the provincial highway network and funding for community infrastructure and skills training programs for First Nations people.

This effort aims to improve the social and economic conditions of these communities while supporting future critical mineral projects.

Key Components of the Agreement:

  • Highway Infrastructure: Building and improving highways to connect more First Nations communities, including upgrades to Highway 584 and Highway 11, starting this construction season.
  • Skills Development Fund: $1.9 million from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development for the Indigenous Workforce Development Program to provide training and job support related to mineral development.
  • Migizi Plaza Rest Stop: $2 million for the construction and maintenance of a rest stop to serve First Nations members, tourists, and residents, creating jobs and generating revenue.
  • Greenstone OPP Detachment: Relocating the Greenstone OPP detachment with support from Greenstone Gold Mine, ensuring access to police services after the station’s displacement due to mine construction.
  • Pre-Charge Diversion Program: Engaging with First Nations communities and police services to develop a program aimed at better outcomes for young offenders.

Voices of Support:

Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs and First Nation Economic Reconciliation, highlighted the collaborative effort: “Our government is proud to build consensus with First Nations leaders around key economic development opportunities in the north. Through strategic partnerships and critical infrastructure investments, we are laying the foundation for Greenstone to become the new centre of gravity for mining, in partnership with First Nations.”

Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation praised the collaboration: “All of this work is a testament to what can be achieved when First Nations, government, and industry collaborate effectively and negotiate equitable agreements that bring real benefits to our members.”

Chief Yvette Metansinine of Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek emphasized the community impact: “Migizi Plaza will showcase the vibrant culture of our communities. The Plaza will provide valuable economic development and employment opportunities to community members and allow our First Nations to be active participants in the development of the region.”

Chief Sheri Taylor of Ginoogaming First Nation focused on workforce development: “Minodahmun’s Indigenous Workforce Development Program is crucial for empowering our people with the skills and opportunities to build meaningful careers, strengthen our communities, and ensure our members are participating in projects on our lands.”

Chief Judy Desmoulin of Long Lake #58 First Nation appreciated the cooperative efforts: “Long Lake #58 First Nation, LL58, acknowledges the efforts of all our partners in working together to create sustainable economic development opportunities. Through LL58’s proactive support of KIC since its outset, our shared goals of Indigenous-led initiatives are taking shape.”

Minister of Transportation Prabmeet Sarkaria spoke on infrastructure improvements: “Today’s milestone is a crucial step to improve highway infrastructure in Greenstone and for Indigenous communities across Northern Ontario. Under the leadership of Premier Ford and Minister Rickford, our government will continue to invest in better transportation across our province, to drive economic growth for everyone.”

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