NEWS RELEASE: Ontario and Webequie First Nation Sign Memorandum of Co-operation

June 14, 2012 4:15 PM

McGuinty Government Will Develop Ring of Fire in Strong Partnership with Far North First Nation

 Ontario has signed an updated Memorandum of Co-operation with Webequie First Nation to work together to realize the many benefits from mineral development in the Ring of Fire.

 The Memorandum of Co-operation, signed during a visit to Webequie by Minister Bartolucci, commits the province to work with Webequie to advance discussions with the federal government to ensure communities are prepared to fully participate in Ring of Fire developments. Ontario is also committed to providing Webequie with social, community and economic development supports and resource revenue sharing associated with Ring of Fire developments.  Ontario and Webequie First Nation will also work together on regional environmental monitoring and regional infrastructure planning.

The Memorandum of Co-operation the need to develop a strong working relationship between the First Nations and the Ontario government on the potential impact of proposed development on their traditional territories. It also builds on a previous Memorandum of Co-operation signed in 2004 committing to help strengthen community foundations and bring prosperity to Ontario’s Far North.

Supporting a successful mining sector is part of the McGuinty government’s plan to create jobs for Ontarians, create opportunities for First Nations’ communities and strengthen the economy.

Quotes

“Development in the Ring of Fire must be approached in a responsible and inclusive manner and must bring long-term prosperity to First Nations through appropriate engagement and resources. I’m delighted to be building on the longstanding strong relationship we have with Webequie by moving forward with this memorandum of co-operation.”

 – Rick Bartolucci
Minister of Northern Development and Mines

“I was very pleased to sign an updated Memorandum of Co-operation with Webequie First Nation I am honoured to work with the community of Webequie as we seek to achieve our mutual goals that will provide major benefits to their residents as well as many other Northern Ontario communities.”

 – Michael Gravelle
Minister of Natural Resources

“This is a positive step toward building investments in Webequie. By working together with First Nations, we will ensure the opportunities from the development of the Ring of Fire benefits Aboriginal communities.”

 – Kathleen Wynne
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

“The MOC represents a very positive step forward and speaks clearly to our community’s aspirations to be a real partner in the development of our traditional territory. We look forward to building the foundations for success with all levels of government.”

 – Cornelius Wabasse
Chief, Webequie First Nation

QUICK FACTS

The Ring of Fire, located approximately 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, represents one of the most significant mineral deposits Ontario has seen in over a century, with multi-generational mineral production opportunities on a scale similar to historic world-class mining areas, such as Timmins, Sudbury, Kirkland Lake and Red Lake.

Webequie First Nation is a growing Ojibway community located on the northern peninsula of Eastwood Island on Winisk Lake, 540 kilometres north of the city of Thunder Bay.

Webequie First Nation is the closest community to the discovery areas in the Ring of Fire and has more than 700 community members, many of whom are actively enjoying their traditional cultural practices and harvesting activities.

CONTACTS

Laura Blondeau

Minister’s Office
416-327-1421
laura.blondeau@ontario.ca

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