Ring of Fire
A development corporation for the Ring of Fire would provide a business structure for the support of strategic infrastructure development. A development corporation can:
- Bring together key partners with common interests
- Determine infrastructure needs
- Secure financing
- Manage issues related to design, engineering, construction and maintenance of infrastructure.
In July 2013, Ontario appointed Frank Iacobucci to lead discussions with the Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council on the proposed resource development. The Chiefs appointed Bob Rae to be their lead negotiator. These negotiations are currently underway and will address the following priorities:
- Environmental protection and monitoring
- Regional infrastructure planning and development
- Resource revenue sharing
- Social and economic supports
A number of steps have been taken to help ensure First Nations communities have the skills and training to benefit from the proposed Ring of Fire development. Ontario has already invested $5 million to support community readiness and capacity building for the Ring of Fire communities.
In addition, nearly $3 million has been provided to support the Matawa First Nations and Tribal Council as they build capacity to participate in Ring of Fire-related activities, including training and job opportunities. To date, these initiatives have seen great success with more than 850 First Nations members participating.
Significant work is also underway with First Nations communities to develop community-based land use plans, as supported by the Far North Act. Since 2008, Ontario has provided over $15 million to communities for land use planning in the Far North. These plans identify where land use activities would be permitted, subject to any additional planning requirements and environmental assessments. To date, 22 communities have started work to prepare community-based land use plans, including all of the Ring of Fire communities.
Ontario has invested $15 million to improve the mapping, science and knowledge of the Far North to support land use planning. This information will contribute to a long-term environmental monitoring framework to ensure sustainable development in the Ring of Fire.
Since 2008, Ontario has also provided approximately $8 million to environmental monitoring programs for the Far North which is critical in supporting land use planning, impact assessment, approvals and policy development. This includes an investment of $5 million towards the monitoring in the Ring of Fire to undertake baseline studies.
Environmental Assessment Process
Proposed mining and infrastructure projects in Ontario may be subject to both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. Environmental assessments at both the provincial and federal levels are rigorous processes intended to identify, predict and mitigate any potential effects a project may have on the environment.
Through the Northern Communities Investment Readiness Initiative, communities can prepare for the proposed mineral developments of the Ring of Fire with funding for:
- Transportation and freight management action plans
- Opportunities for mining companies to network with suppliers and service providers
- Studies to support the capacity of municipalities to benefit from resource development