Together, the First Nations in the Far North and the Government of Ontario are developing community based land use plans that both identify areas for protection and areas that will provide environmentally sustainable economic opportunities, which can lead to greater prosperity for the area's people and communities. The goal is to find the right approach for both conservation and sustainable development.
Since the Premier’s July 2008 announcement of the Far North Land Use Planning Initiative, a Far North Advisory Council, composed of resource industry representatives and environmental organizations, was established and provided its consensus advice and input concerning land use planning in the Far North.
A Far North Science Advisory Panel also provided science-based advice to support Far North land use planning in a report submitted in April, 2010. The panel included experts in the fields of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, mineral resources, carbon and climate change.
Work is currently underway on a variety of information and knowledge management projects, which will provide tools and information such as topographic, land cover and geological mapping. So far, topographic mapping for the Far North is 90% completed while land cover mapping, terrain mapping, and hydrology mapping is 40% completed. The information received from these projects will provide essential building blocks for the development of community based land use plans.
Ontario worked with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) through the Oski Machiitawin Land Use Planning Technical Table to develop principles and processes to guide land use planning in the Far North.
The Far North Act, 2010, provides a legislative foundation for First Nations and Ontario to work together on community based land use planning in the Far North. The Far North Act puts into law, for the first time in Ontario’s history, a requirement for First Nations approval of land use plans on public land.