The Crossroute Forest SFL was granted under section 26 of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. The significance of this is the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry must obtain the Lieutenant Governor in Council approval to grant an extension of this license. As previously noted the extension of this SFL was based on historically outdated information. The MNRF from 2014 through to 2019 maintained the wood supply allocated in this SFL remained with the licensee (Resolute). This messaging has been echoed by the Boundary Waters Forest Management Corporation; that the wood remains with the Company under the previous system and the new enhanced Sustainable Forest License once implemented, would correct that issue.
The Act clearly states the allocated wood supply remains the property of the Crown until the wood is harvested and all fees are paid on the harvested resource. Ontario Regulation 167/95 11.4,states for the purpose of improved management of forest resources in the management unit to which the license relates, a new Sustainable Forest Resource License is to be granted to a Company (Boundary Waters Forest Management Corporation) that is formed for the purpose of carrying out forest management responsibilities in said unit; and is not associated with any particular forest resource processing facility, and, in which the holder (Resolute) of the cancelled license is offered an opportunity to participate.
The Boundary Waters Forest Management plan speaks to a new Enhanced Sustainable Forest License for this management unit. In a press release the Town of Fort Frances stated “the new, Enhanced Sustainable Forest License which will come into place in the future, to replace the SFL, will give all area municipalities and First Nations greater influence over the management of the forest.”
On April 1, 2020 the Crossroute Forest and the Sapawe Forest were merged to form the Boundary Waters Forest. Boundary Waters Forest Management Corporation, formed for the purpose of carrying out forest management responsibilities took over the management of this unit. However, a new Enhanced Sustainable Forest Licence was not granted then, nor does it exist now. The SFL for this new forest is still the old Crossroute Forest Sustainable Forest Licence, last amended September 10, 2020. Based on the forgoing, I would hope the Town of Fort Frances seeks a forensic audit of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, a judicial review of said audit, and a suspension of the demolition permit until these matters are resolved.