Ottawa and Queen's Park are talking on how the so-called Regional Assessment process of the Ring of Fire area will be conducted.
The federal Impact Assessment Agency of Canada said in a Dec. 3 news release that it's in discussions with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry on a potential agreement on how this unproven and untried process will be carried out.
That was the extent of the disclosure from the agency in releasing dates on how members of the public, Indigenous communities and organizations can participate in formulating a draft of how the assessment will be performed in the Ring of Fire area.
The agency said this public feedback will help set out the "goal, objectives and planned outcomes of the regional assessment, as well as key aspects of its governance and administration."
The Regional Assessment, a new region-wide approach to Far North development, was announced by former Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in February 2020. It was based on requests made to him in the fall of 2019 by Aroland First Nation, Wildlife Conservation Society Canada and Osgood Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic.
The Ring of Fire is an isolated mineral belt located in the James Bay region, 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.
Comments can be submitted online through the Regional Assessment's home page on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry (reference number 80468).
Participants who wish to provide their input in a different format, or schedule an online meeting, can contact the Agency by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments in either official language will be accepted until February 1, 2022.
All comments will be published online as part of the Regional Assessment file.
Virtual information sessions to provide an overview of the draft agreement, including the draft terms of reference. These sessions will consist of a presentation on key sections of the document, followed by a question and answer period.
December 9, 2021: from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST
December 14, 2021: from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST
December 14, 2021: from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST
January 17, 2022: from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST
January 18, 2022: from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST
January 19, 2022: from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST
The agency said additional opportunities for the public to participate in the Regional Assessment in the Ring of Fire area will be announced in the future.