Ontarios Resource Revenue Sharing Agreements

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1904 ... October 8, 2019

Ontario’s Resource Revenue Sharing Agreements:
A Step Toward Reconciliation?

Matthew Corbeil

Announced last spring, Ontario’s new resource revenue sharing (RRS) agreements with three northern First Nations councils are set to come into effect this fall. The agreements were marketed with lofty rhetoric. The government press release described them as "an historic step on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples."

The MacDonald Laurier Institute’s Senior Munk Fellow Ken Coates partnered with IAMGOLD Corporation’s Stephen Crozier in penning a glowing editorial in the Globe and Mail, calling RRS a "transformative development" that would change "the very foundations of resource development in Ontario." Coates and Crozier praised the agreements for their simplicity, noting the details were "straightforward." Under RRS, the province will allocate 45 per cent of forestry stumpage fees as well as 40 per cent of mining tax payments associated with active mines to participating First Nations, "with no strings attached."

In many respects, RRS appears to meet the longstanding demands of Indigenous peoples and their allies, who have been pressing the... government for a more equitable distribution of the province’s mineral wealth for the better part of a decade.

Yet, RRS is hardly about "healing" or "reconciliation." Instead, RRS is consistent with the Ontario government’s longstanding policy of opening up as much public land to private mineral extraction as it can. The real goal of RRS is to lock First Nations into precisely the type of extractivist development model that has defined Ontario’s Northern development strategy for decades.

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