GERALDTON — The Ontario government is securing greater Indigenous community involvement in forest management on the Kenogami Forest by issuing a forest licence to Ogwiidachiwaning Sustainable Forest Management Inc. (OSFMI), a new company whose members include local First Nations and forest industry companies.
“The first pillar of our government’s forest sector strategy includes a commitment that economic benefits from forestry will create opportunities for Indigenous communities and businesses,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. "This new company will help realize the tremendous potential in Ontario’s forests and support economic prosperity in neighbouring Indigenous communities.”
OSFMI is the fourth enhanced Sustainable Forest License company in Ontario – a business model developed by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to support local and Indigenous community participation in the management of Crown forests.
“As First Nations people our future and livelihoods are intricately tied to the forests. By working together our First Nations have made accomplishments, and by working with the forest companies we will all benefit in the long run”, said OSFMI President Theresa Nelson, Chief of the Animbigoo Zaagii igan Anishinaabek First Nation.
AV Group Canada CEO Mike O’Blenis, an OSFMI industry partner added, "Trust and respect have been the guiding principles in our engagement with our First Nation partners. We could not have arrived at this collective achievement otherwise".
Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy establishes the government’s 10-year plan to create jobs and encourage economic growth through greater local and Indigenous community involvement in forest management.
- A Sustainable Forest Licence provides a licence holder with rights to harvest and use wood, along with responsibilities for forest management and forest management planning. The Sustainable Forest Licence issued to OSFMI is a 20-year licence.
- The members of OSFMI include Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, Long Lake 58 First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation, Red Rock Indian Band, AV Terrace Bay Inc., Columbia Forest Products Ltd. and Lecours Lumber Co. Ltd.
- Forestry was deemed an essential industry during the COVID-19 pandemic as the industry provides materials used in hospital masks, gowns and other hygiene products, as well as packaging for sterile medical and food wrappings.
- Ontario’s current Sustainable Forest Licences
- Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy
- Sustainable forest management in Ontario
Source: Ontario Government