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Ontario ignores its own advice, presses First Nations to consult on Ring of Fire road during COVID-19 – CBC

‘Weaponization of health crisis’ a familiar strategy of government, industry, researcher says

Oct 15, 2020

An ‘operational guide’ from Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Affairs tells other ministries to delay or defer non-urgent projects that impact First Nations treaty rights during the pandemic, but at least one mining-related project is moving ahead.

On Oct. 13, the consultation period for part of the environmental assessment for a supply road in the Ring of Fire mineral development region in northern Ontario was set to close, despite concerns raised by Neskantaga First Nation. It told the provincial government in September that it could not engage in the process in a meaningful way because of the pandemic.

Advancing resource extraction projects during a pandemic is an example of governments and industry using health crisis in First Nations to their advantage, according to Riley Yesno, a research fellow at the Yellowhead Institute.

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