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Ontario agrees to meet with First Nations over muskeg conservation demand – National Observer

October 24th 2023

The Ontario government and the Mushkegowuk Council, which represents eight northern First Nations, are in talks to establish a conservation zone near Hudson Bay and James Bay.

Last year, the federal government announced it would help the Mushkegowuk Council fund an estimated 300,000-square-kilometre conservation area in northern Ontario. Since then, the council has been trying to bring Ontario to the table to discuss the conservation zone.

In an email to Canada’s National Observer, interim director of lands and resources Lawrence Martin said members of the council had a “positive” meeting with Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford last week. He said Ontario has agreed to form a treaty table with the Mushkegowuk Council to discuss land use and the conservation area.

“We are hoping that Ontario and Canada and Mushkegowuk and the funders will all work together toward this end,” Martin said.

The Ministry of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development has not commented at the time of publication.

The conservation area is one of four Indigenous-led projects under the federal government’s Project Finance for Permanence model, which combines funding from different levels of government and private philanthropists.

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