Transmission & Distribution
Ontario aims to amend Far North Act, and create prosperity for First Nation communities
By Anthony Capkun
November 9, 2021 – The Ontario government says it wishes to refocus the Far North Act and its regulations for Far North economic development and joint planning with Indigenous partners “to enable 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 Minister Greg Rickford.
Ontario’s Far North communities are home to some 24,000 people, of which 90% identify as First Nations, living mainly in remote, fly-in communities.
These small communities, says the province, have limited infrastructure and access to services for attracting new investment. Critical projects in this region include electrical transmission, community roads, and mineral development (e.g. the Ring of Fire)*.
The province says it collaborated extensively with Nishnawbe Aski Nation through a technical table that reviewed the legislation and recommended updates to the Act. The review process included 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.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents 49 First Nations with a total population (on and off-reserve) of about 45,000 people, grouped by Tribal Council, explains the ministry.
The province insists it 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.
* Back in 2014, we reported the Ring of Fire has mineral potential known to be worth $60 billion, and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. The region also holds the potential for significant production of nickel, copper, gold and platinum.