Ontario introduces planning law for Ontario's northern Boreal region



    TORONTO, June 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI)
welcomes the introduction today of new legislation affirming Premier
McGuinty's July 2008 commitment to establish a First Nations-led land use
planning process across Ontario's Far North and mandating a balanced approach
to conservation and development for this globally significant region.
    "This is an important step towards securing a sustainable future for the
northern Boreal region of Ontario," said Larry Innes, executive director of
CBI. "We commend the government for recognizing that planning for
environmental protection and economic prosperity is best accomplished in
partnership with First Nations."
    In July 2008, the Government of Ontario announced it would advance First
Nations-driven land use planning across the north. The province committed to
working with local communities to plan for an interconnected system of
conservation lands across more than 50% of Ontario's Far North region, while
identifying priority areas for resource development. The government also
committed to obtaining First Nations approvals for major developments through
the planning process and to resource revenue sharing with Aboriginal
communities.
    Ontario's northern Boreal region extends north from 51 degrees, and
covers more than 40% of the province. It is one of the largest intact
ecosystems on earth. It is the homeland of many Aboriginal communities and
supports a rich diversity of wildlife. The region's natural wealth sustains
hundreds of Aboriginal communities and supports thousands of jobs. As part of
the world's largest land-based natural storehouse of carbon, Ontario's Boreal
region stores an estimated 49B tonnes of carbon, most of it in peatlands and
wetlands, and absorbs about 12.5M tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every
year.
    "Finding the right balance has never been more important. Given the
immensity of this region, and the scope and scale of the planning work that
will need be undertaken, significant investments in capacity, knowledge,
process, and regional coordination will be required," stated Innes. "Those
have been critical elements of successful land use planning in other parts of
Canada's north."
    "The first priority should be to ensure that funding and effective
regulatory mechanisms are place to ensure that the planning process empowers
First Nations to fulfill their roles as stewards of their traditional
territories, while enabling them to take advantage of long-overdue
opportunities for economic prosperity. We look forward to help advance those
goals as this draft legislation is further refined over the coming months,"
concluded Innes.

    The Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create
new solutions for Boreal conservation and sustainable development. It acts as
a catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal forest region by
governments, industry, First Nations, conservation groups, major retailers,
financial institutions and scientists.
    CBI supports the Boreal Leadership Council of leading conservationists,
First Nations, resource companies and financial institutions, who together
endorse the Boreal Conservation Framework and its balanced vision to protect
at least half of Canada's northern Boreal region with the remaining lands
under world-class sustainable development, in a manner respecting and
accommodating Aboriginal rights.




For further information:

For further information: Suzanne Fraser, director of communications,
(613) 552-7277, sfraser@borealcanada.ca; www.borealcanada.ca

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Canadian Boreal Initiative

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