It took two and a half years of negotiating between Tembec and the Wahgoshig First Nations. Now both are praising a forest land management agreement signed recently that covers territory claimed by the Wahgoshig First Nation, located 50 kilometres east of Matheson in northeastern Ontario.
The agreement is expected to open doors of opportunity for the Wahgoshig First Nation to participate in contract work and create relationships between the First Nation and existing contractors, suppliers, government and Tembec.
It is expected to balance First Nation values and timber operations, while establishing a protocol for the development of action plans and business-to-business agreements between the parties.
Tembec executive vice-president and Forest Products Group president Jim Lopez says the agreement is beneficial toward its efforts to gain certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for forest under its management.
Under FSC guidelines, First Nation involvement is a key element for obtaining that certification.
“This process will genuinely create the economy and active involvement of our community in forest management that will foster self reliance and a break-away from government dependence,” says Wahgoshig First Nation Chief Paul McKenzie.