Ontario’s natural resources include agricultural lands, forests, lakes, rivers, hydroelectricity, minerals and wind and solar energy.
In Northern Ontario, the forest cover supports a primary forest-products industry that helps harvest nearly 10% of the total lumber harvested in Canada and supports 143,000 direct and indirect jobs (2020). Northern Ontario is also home to significant amounts of metallic minerals and leads Canada to produce nickel, gold and silver. The massive water resources serve as major transportation routes, sources of hydroelectricity and recreation destinations.
The Ford PC government is committed to supporting and growing these industries by:
- Deeming the Forestry sector an essential industry during the Covid-19 pandemic, as sustainable forest products are used to produce products for hygiene, medical supplies and packaging and shipping materials.
- Extending the use of biomass with the Forest Biomass Action Plan. This will provide economic opportunities for using forest biomass, a low-quality wood leftover from forestry mills, including at the Atikokan Generating Station, which uses sustainable wood pellets to provide energy to 7000 homes, schools and businesses.
- Monitoring the use of natural resources to ensure the public forests are sustainably managed.
- Investing in companies and processes to develop innovative uses for products and new markets.
- Promoting wood as a viable and sustainable alternative to single-use plastics.
- Supporting Indigenous partnerships in the forest industry.
- Investing $690,000 to support mineral exploration and mining research at Lakehead University. This funding will support a new industrial research chair and the creation of 9 new jobs. This investment may lead to discovering new mineral resources in Northern Ontario.
- Providing $15 million annually to the Northern municipalities to help support infrastructure projects over the next five years. This will share the benefits of the mining and forestry industries with municipalities to help build and maintain infrastructure.
“Resource-based industries like forestry and mining have been the cornerstone of the economy in Northwestern Ontario, contributing billions to the local economy annually. Support for these vital industries will allow us to realize those benefits in the future.” – Kevin Holland