Community not considered

Dear editor,

On April 1 2020, after two years of engagement and consultations with the public, First Nations and Metis, the MNRF merged the Crossroute and Sapawe Forest Management Units into a new Crown (Boundary Waters) forest under a single Sustainable Forest Licence No.542245 granted to the Boundary Waters Forest Management Corp. The economic efficiencies and increased transparency, as a result of this merger, were noted in an article published by the Fort Frances Times on the same date.

On April 1 2020, the Boundary Waters Forest SFL No. 542245 directed the forest resources harvested pursuant to this Licence to the forest resource processing facility in Fort Frances and to those listed on Appendix E attached thereto, for the term of said Licence- March 31 2032. The relevant sections of SFL No. 542245, page 4 clause 3.1 and the Dec. 2017 Order-in-Council, may be found in my ad published by the Fort Frances Times on Feb. 3 2021. The 2017 Order-in-Council was the last amendment to SFL No. 542245 posted on the MNRF site. To be sure, on Saturday February 6 2021, I requested an up to date copy of SFL No. 542245. I received a copy the next day with a notation that the last Amendment to SFL No. 542245 was not posted on the MNRF web site due to the COVID Lockdown.

The last Amendment to SFL No. 542245 is dated September 10, 2020. There were several changes made to this SFL, however, the relevant and material amendment was to Clause 3.1 on page 4 of the SFL that deleted all reference to forest resources harvested pursuant to this Licence are to supply the forest resource processing facility in Fort Frances. After two years of public, First Nation and Metis engagement and consultations, the MNRF, five months after the merger, amended SFL No.542245  without notice or engagement with any of the aforementioned stakeholders and, the September 10 2020 Minister approved Amendment is still not posted to the MNRF site.

The language of clause 3.1  in SFL No. 542245 prior to September 10 2020 is consistent with; the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, the policy position of the previous Liberal government presented to the Legislature in October 2014, and the position of the current government presented in its January 2020 Forest Sector Strategy consultation; being- the primary responsibility of the MNRF is to protect the needs of Ontario’s forest dependent communities. Unfortunately, it appears to me that the senior level of the MNRF, from 2014 and on, chose to support the Company at the expense of the Town of Fort Frances and the surrounding First Nation and Metis communities.

Thank you.
David Kircher