Proposed amendments to the Far North Act, 2010

ERO number
019-2684
Notice type
Act
Act
Far North Act, 2010
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Transferred to
Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
November 30, 2020 - January 14, 2021 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:

November 30, 2020
to January 14, 2021

Proposal summary

We are proposing changes to Ontario’s Far North Act, 2010 to refocus the Act, while retaining provisions that allow for joint land use planning with all First Nations in the Far North.

Proposal details

Ontario’s Far North Act

The Far North Act, 2010 came into force on January 31, 2011. The purpose of the Act is to provide for community based land use planning in the Far North that:  

  • sets out a joint planning process between the First Nations and Ontario
  • supports the environmental, social and economic objectives for land use planning for the peoples of Ontario
  • is done in a manner that is consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including the duty to consult.

Proposed changes to the Far North Act

We are proposing changes to the Far North Act that would, if approved:

  • amend or delete provisions that are perceived as hindering economic development
  • enhance certain provisions that encourage collaboration between Ontario and Far North First Nations on land use planning

The proposed changes include:

  1. Proposed amendments to the following sections of the Act:

To review the proposed amendments to these sections in greater detail, refer to the document attached to the ‘Supporting Materials’ section of this notice.

Section 5 (Objectives for Land Use Planning)

  • We are proposing to remove the reference to the protection of 225,000 square kilometres in one of the planning objectives and replace it with a broader objective to protect areas of cultural value as well as ecological systems including through the designation of interconnected protected areas in community based land use plans. This proposed change is intended to promote economic growth in the Far North by creating a balance between designated protected areas and areas for development.

Section 6 (Contribution of First Nations)

  • We are proposing to add a provision that would include that First Nations may contribute perspectives on sustainable development for the purposes of land use planning. This change would recognize the broad range of knowledge and perspectives held by First Nations and their contributions to joint community based land use planning.

Section 7 (Joint Body)

  • We are proposing amendments that would promote dialogue between First Nations and the Minister about land use planning in the Far North through a joint body. The proposed changes would aim to simplify the process for establishing the joint body, make the joint body more beneficial for First Nations and Ontario, and maintain consistency with the purpose of the Act and the intent of the provision. Proposed amendments to this section also include adding a mechanism for the creation of groups or committees to complete specific tasks, such as recommending new policy for land use planning. These proposed changes are intended to enable, and provide more clarity on, establishing a joint body to encourage greater participation of First Nations in a joint body.

Sub-section 8(1) (Far North land use strategy)

  • We are proposing to amend ‘shall’ to ‘may’ to allow discretion regarding whether a strategy is prepared. This change would provide flexibility to consider other more responsive opportunities for preparing guidance and would not affect the process for creating a strategy including engagement or consultation.

Section 12 (Development if no community land use plan)

  • We are proposing to delete this section. This change would mean that new developments would no longer require a Lieutenant Governor in Council (LGIC) Order or Minister’s Order under the Far North Act before proceeding in areas that do not have a community based land use plan. Proposed developments would still need to obtain any authorizations and approvals that are required under other legislation. This proposed change would support economic growth in the Far North by removing restrictions on development where no land use plan is in place. ​

Sub-section 14(5) (Development if community land use plan – Restriction on making order)

  • The Act allows the LGIC to determine that a proposal that is inconsistent with an approved land use plan is in the social and economic interests of Ontario and may proceed. Before the LGIC may make such an order, the Minister must first propose to amend the approved land use plan to permit the proposal. Should agreement to the amendment not be reached within six months, the LGIC may issue an order allowing the proposal to proceed.
  • We are proposing to extend the minimum timeframe for undertaking an amendment from 6 months to 9 months. This proposed change would  provide more time for the required parties to work on and agree to the amendment before the LGIC make an order.
  1. Proposed revoking of existing regulations and proposed amendments to include content in the Act

The Far North Act currently has 3 regulations that lay out the following: ​​

  • timeline for making an application under ss. 12(2)​​
  • opening a mine with a closure plan​​
  • description of the Far North​

We are proposing to revoke the regulations and incorporate content into the body of the Act where appropriate. This change would streamline and simplify the legislation.

  1. Proposed renaming the Far North Act to better reflect local, Indigenous, and provincial priorities

The proposed changes would:

  • promote economic growth in the Far North by working with First Nations to determine the appropriate balance between areas designated for protection or development, and the appropriate spatial layout of those areas
  • improve Ontario’s competitiveness in the natural resource sector while maintaining critical cultural and environmental protections
  • provide more clarity regarding how to establish a Joint Body and encourage greater collaboration between First Nations and Ontario
  • support economic growth in the Far North by removing restrictions on development where no land use plan is in place
  • recognize the broad range of knowledge and perspectives held by First Nations and the contributions that they make to joint community based land use planning
  • streamline and simplify the legislation

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from November 30, 2020
to January 14, 2021

Connect with us

Contact

Amy Smart

Office
Far North Branch - Thunder Bay
Address

421 James Street South
1st Floor
Thunder Bay, ON
P7E 2V6
Canada

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