Ontario Appoints Lead Negotiator for Ring of Fire
Ontario and Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council Negotiators to Develop a Negotiation Framework
Ontario has appointed former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci as lead negotiator on behalf of Ontario in discussions with Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council on resource developments in the Ring of Fire, a project that will create jobs and grow Ontario's regional economies.
Former Justice Iacobucci looks forward to community-based discussions on regional considerations with the Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council and their lead negotiator, Bob Rae. Mr. Iacobucci hopes to be invited to visit the Matawa First Nations communities closest to the proposed resource developments in the Ring of Fire prior to engaging in more formal negotiations. He hopes to address the following priorities:
- Environmental protection and monitoring
- Regional infrastructure planning and development
- Resource revenue sharing
- Social and economic supports
These discussions will support ongoing work with individual First Nations to address their issues and concerns, and fully meets Ontario's duty to consult.
A smart, sustainable and collaborative approach to development in the Ring of Fire, which is expected to create thousands of jobs and bring social benefits to local communities, is part of the Ontario government's plans to create a fair and prosperous society.
- Mr. Iacobucci will report directly to Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle, and will be supported by the Ring of Fire Secretariat.
- The Ring of Fire, located 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, is one of the most significant mineral regions in the province, and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America.
- Chromite is a key ingredient used to create stainless steel.
- The Ring of Fire also holds the potential for significant production of nickel, copper and platinum.
- About 27,000 Ontarians are already directly employed in metal mining, and 50,000 are in jobs associated with mineral processing.
- The mining sector is already the largest private sector employer of Aboriginals in Canada.
- Ontario leads all provinces and territories in mineral exploration, with 23 per cent of the country’s exploration investment located within the province.
“The Ring of Fire is a wonderful opportunity for Ontario to create jobs and grow its regional economies, but it is vital that we work with First Nations communities to make sure this development brings long-term, sustainable benefits. I am very pleased that The Honourable Frank Iacobucci has agreed to lead negotiations for Ontario. His expertise as a negotiator and experience with First Nations communities in northern Ontario is a tremendous asset to this important process.”
“The province is taking a smart, sustainable and collaborative approach to resource development in the Ring of Fire. We want development to deliver social and economic benefits for all Ontarians, while collaborating with First Nations and ensuring environmental responsibility. I am confident that Mr. Iacobucci will help ensure that everyone benefits from the economic and social opportunities of this unprecedented natural resource.”
“The Ring of Fire is a tremendous opportunity for our province and for the Matawa Tribal Council to participate and benefit from potential resource development in the Ring of Fire. Mr. Iacobucci brings a fair and balanced approach to this proposed development, which can help improve the economic prosperity and quality of life of First Nations communities closest to the Ring of Fire.”
“Strong environmental protection and monitoring must accompany any mining activity. Ontario looks forward to working with First Nations on this essential aspect of Ring of Fire development.”
“I am honoured to accept this post as Ontario’s lead negotiator in the Ring of Fire. I feel passionately about involving First Nations in decisions about development in their communities and traditional lands and ensuring they benefit from the economic opportunities to be realized from development in the Ring of Fire.”