WCS Canada

Natural Resource Development

12 April 2019
WCS Canada Comments - Ontario's Proposal to Repeal the Far North Act - April 2019

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have proposed to repeal the Far North Act and retain completed land use plans and enable completion of plans at an advanced planning stage for a time-limited period. We discuss the following points, and provide recommendations. 1. The Far North Act has never restricted development in the Ring of Fire; and its repeal will not speed the development of mining projects. 2. With or without the Far North Act, the Ontario government is obliged to address Indigenous jurisdiction when introducing development in the far north. 3. The Public Lands Act is inadequate for accommodating planning and development in the far north, particularly dedicated protected areas that have been designated through community-based land use planning under the Far North Act. 4. Reliance on piecemeal project-level impact assessments will fail to address social, environmental, and economic risks; and will fail responsible stewardship of the far north – a globally-significant region with a high degree of ecological integrity, world-class carbon stores, and providing ecosystem services far beyond is boundaries. 5. If the province doesn’t learn from the 10 years of implementation of the Far North Act, it will repeat the same mistakes and fail to address fundamental issues related to social and environmental stewardship and justice. 6. The time constraint for communities to complete their community-based land use plans is too short, and the cancellation of land use planning processes at beginning stages for many communities is arbitrary and unfair to those who have engaged in good faith with Ontario to date.
10 October 2018
WCS Canada Comments – Wataynikaneyap transmission line project requested exemption from the Far North Act – October 2018

We provide comments in response to the recent request that the Wataynikaneyap transmission line project be exempted from section 12 of the Far North Act. This section of the Far North Act requires that there be a community based land use plan prior to the construction or expansion of a transmission line. WCS Canada has been engaged as an interested party in the consultation process of this project since 2013. We are concerned that while the environmental impact assessment remains incomplete any request for exemption is premature, that the impact assessment itself fails to acknowledge cumulative effects, and that the process by which the project could become exempt is unclear. We describe our concerns further herein.
27 May 2017
WCS Canada Comments – Noront Muketei Minerals Ltd. mineral exploration permit - May 2017

We have been monitoring mineral exploration permits in northern Ontario as they appear on the Environmental Registry and through the application of a web-based tool to track mineral exploration permits and activities on caribou ranges. To date, it has been difficult to respond to these permits on a case-by-case basis given the cumulative impacts of exploration activities, the lack of detail in the application on the effects of exploration activities, the short time frame for comments (30-days), and the length of time that permits are approved without follow-up or monitoring (3 years). We make recommendations about the need for additional screening of proposed activities given occupancy models for wolverine, caribou, moose, and wolves as well as the need to incorporate and best management practices for caribou and wolverine. We also make recommendations regarding freshwater resources including freshwater fish, benthics, and the ecological integrity of a waterway park near the claim area.
15 July 2016
WCS Canada Comments - NOMTS Phase 1 Report - July 2016

The Northern Ontario Multimodal Transportation Strategy (NOMTS) is a key initiative led by the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario (MTO) and Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) to support the implementation of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, 2011. The NOMTS provides a rare opportunity to consider a regional approach to planning for new infrastructure. We support this approach to planning since it considers needs in northern Ontario in a strategic and coherent way, rather than through current piecemeal planning approaches. We do, however, express concerns over the lack of attention to myriad issues unique to Ontario’s Far North.
26 June 2015
WCS Canada Comments - Yukon Biomass Energy Strategy - June 2015

WCS Canada supports the many of the proposed actions listed in the "Ensure a sustainable timber supply" section. However, naturally disturbed forests have significant ecological value and thus a biomass strategy should not preferentially target harvesting in these forest types or treat these forests as ‘waste’. We provide four main recommendations: biomass harvest levels should meet ecosystem-based management goals derived from the natural disturbance model for forest management and ensure sufficient habitat for key wildlife species that specialize on post-disturbance habitat; complete a strategic forest resource management planning prior to implementation of large-scale biomass production; determine the ecological impacts of post-disturbance logging for biomass through long-term monitoring in naturally disturbed forests; and synthesize scientific, traditional, and local knowledge to determine the best management practices that minimize impacts of post-disturbance logging on ecological values and wildlife habitat in Yukon.
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