Lac Seul, Slate Falls sign historic forestry agreement
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
The Government of Ontario, Area First Nations, and industry in the Lac Seul Forest surrounding Sioux Lookout have signed what is being referred to as a historic agreement for the first enhanced sustainable forest licence.
The sustainable forest licence issued to the enhanced sustainable forest licence holder (Ondaadiziwin Forest Management Inc.) is valid for up to 20 years. The corporation is co-owned by Lac Seul First Nation, Slate Falls First Nation, Domtar, and Weyerhaeuser.
The majority of the Lac Seul Forest is in the traditional territory of Lac Seul First Nation.
A news release issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry states, “This agreement will allow for more economic opportunities for local and Indigenous communities, including more involvement in managing Crown forests.
“The enhanced sustainable forest licence is a new model of forest tenure and is a key part of the province’s commitment to support the growth of the forestry sector while maintaining a healthy and productive Crown forest. This includes helping communities gain expertise and capacity in forest management through partnership with forestry industry; stimulating local economic development and creating jobs; ensuring participants develop local solutions that address governance, local Indigenous community involvement, and sustainable forest management, among other commitments.”
Lac Seul First Nation Chief Clifford Bull shared, “This long-term agreement will protect the jobs that we have secured and allow us the certainty that is required to have longevity in this resource business. Obishikokaang Resources Corporation will continue to have the same leading role in managing the forest.
“In this agreement, we made sure that our band members see tangible benefits and the elements that are important to the First Nations are defined and protected by signing this agreement.”
Nathalie Des Rosiers, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, stated, “This historic agreement demonstrates progress towards more sustainable forest management in Ontario and is a collaborative partnership between local First Nation communities, private industry, and our government. Enhanced sustainable forest licences are the future of economic growth for our forestry sector.”