On July 14, 2008, the Ontario government announced its Far North Planning Process, which is designed to produce a plan over the next 10–15 years to permanently protect over 225,000 square kilometres of Ontario’s northern boreal forest through a network of conservation lands. According to the announcement, the plan would permit only tourism and traditional aboriginal uses in these conservation lands and the government will carefully manage sustainable development in other areas of the northern boreal forest. The government will initiate the process by consulting the resource sector, scientists, aboriginal communities and other Northern Ontario residents to prepare a framework for the formal plan by the spring 2009.
In conjunction with Far North Planning Process, the government plans to review Ontario’s Mining Act with a view to ensuring that mining companies are required to consult with and, where appropriate, accommodate affected aboriginal peoples before undertaking exploration and development. The government has indicated that it expects to begin consultations on these legislative changes in late summer 2008, with new requirements being in place by “later next year.”
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