Ontario takes historic step with reformed mining legislation



    TORONTO, April 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI)
applauds the introduction today of the proposed Mining Act by the Ontario
government. Once passed, this will enact the first major reforms to mining
legislation in Canada in more than 100 years. Ontario is showing leadership
with this proposed legislation to reflect today's imperatives to consult and
accommodate Aboriginal communities, step up to balance land uses and help the
industry standardize more sustainable mining practices.
    "This is an important step towards reconciling long-standing conflicts
between the interests of Aboriginal communities, conservationists and the
mining sector. It will re-set the rule book in a way that parties and
interests can count on," said Larry Innes, Executive Director of CBI.
    Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to overhaul its mining
legislation and move to a permitting system that stages in Aboriginal
consultation and accommodation in mineral exploration and development, ensures
First Nations land use plans are in place before new mines are developed, and
includes a land withdrawal mechanism to protect areas considered sensitive by
Aboriginal communities. While the mining sector in Ontario has taken steps in
this direction, this bill will regularize these practices. It provides an
important dispute resolution mechanism for Aboriginal communities.
    "Once passed, this legislation will provide an important tool to support
a strong economy while protecting cultural values and wildlife," continued Mr.
Innes.
    In July 2008, the Government of Ontario announced it would modernize
mining legislation and advance First Nations-driven land use planning across
the north. The province committed to plan for a sustainable northern economy
and jobs for the future balanced by an inter-connected system of protected
areas spanning more than 50% of Ontario's Far North region. This is key to
give wildlife the best chance to adapt to climate change.
    Ontario's North region covers over 40% of the province. It is the
homeland of many Aboriginal communities and contains a rich diversity of
wildlife. Part of the world's largest land-based storehouse of carbon,
Ontario's Boreal region stores an estimated 97B tonnes of carbon dioxide, most
of it in peatlands and wetlands, and absorbs every year another 12.5M tonnes.
The region's natural wealth sustains hundreds of Aboriginal communities and
supports thousands of jobs.

    The Canadian Boreal Initiative is a project of the Pew Environment Group
and 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 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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