Transfer Of Ipperwash Provincial Park One Step Closer to Reality
In November 2003, the Ontario government appointed Justice Sidney Linden to lead an independent, public inquiry into the events surrounding the death of Anthony O'Brien (Dudley) George at Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995.
The Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry, released in May 2007, discussed transferring Ipperwash Provincial Park to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. It also outlined the benefits the transfer could bring to the local First Nation community, as well as the surrounding non-Aboriginal communities, including improved relationships and opportunities for joint economic development.
Under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, approval of the Legislature is required for a park to be deregulated, or removed from the list of provincial parks. On Monday, March 1, the Minister of Natural Resources introduced a motion that would fulfill this requirement.
Deregulating the park will allow the Province to convert it to Crown land. It can then be transferred to the Government of Canada under its Addition to Reserve Policy. The federal government has the authority to add land to existing Indian reserves or create new reserves. The Addition to Reserve Policy outlines the criteria and issues that must be addressed before land can be set apart as a reserve.
Transferring Ipperwash Provincial Park land to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation is expected to bring important social and economic benefits to the First Nation, as well as to local non-Aboriginal communities.