This consultation was open from:
April 30, 2013
to July 2, 2013
First Nation communities in the Far North of Ontario are working together with Ontario to prepare community based land use plans, as set out under the Far North Act, 2010 (the “Far North Act”).
Description of regulation
First Nation communities in the Far North of Ontario are working together with Ontario to prepare community based land use plans, as set out under the Far North Act, 2010 (the “Far North Act”). Final community based land use plans, which are approved by the First Nation and the Minister of Natural Resources (the “Minister”), identify which areas are to be protected and those that are open for sustainable economic development.
Generally, most development cannot proceed in the Far North until a community based land use plan is in place, unless an exemption or exception applies. Some development activities, such as prospecting, mining claim staking and exploration, may be pursued in advance of a community based land use plan. Once a community based land use plan is approved, decisions respecting land uses and activities must be consistent with the plan, unless an exemption or exception applies.
Under the Far North Act (s.13), where there is no community based land use plan, the Minister may make an order to designate an area of “provisional protection” (sometimes referred to as “interim protection”) at the request of a First Nation or on the Minister’s initiative, provided that the prescribed criteria have been met. The Minister would then ask the Minister of Northern Development and Mines to withdraw the area from staking under the Mining Act.
It is proposed that provisional protection would be used for areas where there is an interest in long-term protection. The provisionally protected area could be refined through the planning process and associated consultation before protected area designations are finalized. It is further proposed that areas for provisional protection would not be placed over existing tenure that is inconsistent with a protected area designation under the Far North Act. First Nation and provincial environmental, economic and social interests would be considered when evaluating requests for provisional protection. The Ministry of Natural Resources will work with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and other ministries in evaluating requests.
The Far North Act requires that areas to be provisionally protected must meet specific criteria which would be set out in regulation. The Provisional Protection Workbook describes a proposed approach to help guide the development of the criteria in the regulation and related policy and procedures. The proposed approach in the workbook includes:
1. Eligible areas would have ecological, cultural and/or heritage values for First Nations and/or the Province.
2. A First Nation or the Province may make a request for provisional protection at any time during the planning process prior to a final plan. Proposals for designating areas for provisional protection would be tabled through the joint planning team. The designation would come into effect no earlier than with approval of the Terms of Reference for community based land use planning by a First Nation and Ontario.
3. Types of information considered in evaluating requests for the designation of an area of provisional protection would include:
- Identification of the area being requested, and appropriate documentation identifying the ecological, cultural and/or heritage value.
- An expression of community and/or provincial interests and the rationale for seeking provisional protection.
- The best available environmental, social and economic information about the area, including that information which is available through the community based land use planning process (i.e. Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge, physical, biophysical, and existing land uses).
- Identification of those developments, land uses and activities that the requester thinks would be incompatible with protection of the value(s) identified.
4. The designation would be reviewed after 3 years or prior to releasing the Draft Community Based Land Use Plan for public consultation, whichever occurs first, to determine whether the designation is still appropriate or whether the provisional protection designation should be maintained, revised or removed.
Please provide your feedback on a proposed approach to a Minister’s regulation on provisional protection under the Far North Act, 2010.
Purpose of regulation
The purpose of this proposal is to invite comment on a proposed approach to a Minister’s regulation under the Far North Act, 2010. If made, the regulation would prescribe criteria to be met in designating areas in the Far North of Ontario for provisional protection.
The following weblinks provide additional information:
Provisional Protection Workbook
- English: http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/stdprod_104498.pdf
- Ojibway: http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/stdprod_104513.pdf
- OjiCree: http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/stdprod_104514.pdf
- Cree: http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/stdprod_104623.pdf
Far North Act (S. O. 2010, Chapter 18)
Far North Website
Map of the Far North
Other public consultation opportunities
The Provisional Protection Workbook (in English and French), will be available April 30, 2013, to July 2, 2013 through a number of additional sources:
- Far North website: www.ontario.ca/farnorth
- Meetings with First Nation communities and organizations as requested
- Meetings with stakeholders as requested
The workbook summary will be made available in English, Ojibway, Oji-Cree, and Cree until such time as the full workbook can be translated into Ojibway, Oji-Cree, and Cree.
Below is a summary of public consultation (dates are tentative):
- Stage 1 - Post the regulation proposal to the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry and Ontario Regulatory Registry (April 30 – July 2 2013)
- Stage 2 – Post updated regulation proposal on the Environmental Registry and Regulatory Registry (Summer – Fall 2013)
- Stage 3 – Post regulation decision notice on the Environmental Registry and Regulatory Registry (Fall 2013)
Regulatory impact statement
The anticipated environmental consequences of the proposal are positive. The proposed approach facilitates protection of areas of ecological value that may be vulnerable to disturbance and benefit from early protection from incompatible uses. Ecological attributes could include: wetlands; wildlife habitat; wildlife migration and/or travel routes.
The anticipated social consequences of the proposal are positive. The proposed approach facilitates protection of areas of cultural and heritage value that may be vulnerable to disturbance and benefit from early protection from incompatible uses. Cultural and heritage values could include areas identified by a First Nation such as travel or trade routes; cultural significant waterways; and hunting or fishing grounds.
The anticipated economic consequences of the proposal are neutral. It is proposed that provisional protection under the Far North Act would be applied to areas which are intended for long term protection. It is not intended to be used for temporary protection of entire planning areas and it is not intended to be superimposed on top of existing mining claims.
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