On April 30, 2009, Bill 173, An Act to amend the Mining Act, was introduced into the Ontario legislature. The bill, among other things, is intended to promote greater involvement of Ontario’s aboriginal communities in mining activities. For example, the bill would amend the purpose clause of the Mining Act (the Act) to include a statement that mining activities in Ontario are encouraged in a manner (i) consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing aboriginal and treaty rights and (ii) that minimizes the impact of these activities on public health and safety and the environment. This amendment would make Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to expressly recognize aboriginal and treaty rights in its mining legislation. The bill would also incorporate more stringent requirements for consultation with aboriginal communities, particularly in the context of exploration activities regulated under the Act. In addition, the bill would implement a dispute resolution process for issues arising out of the required aboriginal consultation.

For further information about the bill, please see www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session1/b173.pdf.