The Northern Ontario Sustainable Communities Partnership (NOSCP) offers the Northern Ontario Community Forest Charter to promote community-based decision-making for the publicly-owned forests of Northern Ontario. The charter was drafted between June and August 2007 and approved and released for wider endorsement on August 20, 2007.
The people and forests of Northern Ontario are intimately connected. The forests of Northern Ontario provide crucial environmental services, as well as significant social and economic benefits, for the region, the province of Ontario, Canada and the world. Recognizing the contribution of and challenges to existing forest-based industries, northern communities are ready and willing to assume responsibility for the shared stewardship of northern forests in light of growing environmental, economic and social challenges. Therefore, these residents and communities, including Aboriginal peoples and communities, have the rights and responsibilities laid out in this Charter.
- To localize control of forest management to maintain environmental sustainability while supporting the social and economic health of the people of the region.
- To ensure governance mechanisms that provide effective management of community forests.
- To ensure the separation of forest management from any one specific user group (e.g. mills).
- To recognize, respect and help to resolve Aboriginal and treaty rights by working with Aboriginal communities.
- To maintain public ownership and shared decision-making for all Crown forested lands.
- To direct the resources of the forests to the economic and social development of the people of the region
- To co-operate and organize regionally to promote healthy forests and communities.
- To have the support of provincial and federal governments in promoting diversified local/regional economies, especially value-added production, based on a variety of forest-based businesses and activities, both timber and non-timber.
- To have government investments directed towards community-based forest management.
- To promote a strong working relationship with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and other government departments, federal and provincial, including scientific and management support.
- To ensure best end use and highest value forest products are produced from forested lands.
- To advocate for fair trade policies that ensure communities receive full value for their resources and labour.
Lynn Palmer, M. Sc. F.
Dr. David Robinson
Dr. Mark Robson
Dr. Peggy Smith, R.P.F.
Dr. Willard Carmean
Lorraine A. Rekmans
Dr. Brent Cuthbertson
Dr. Brian McLaren
Elizabeth Brass Elson
Dr. Bryan Poulin
Dr. Ian Newhouse
Peter Andre Globensky
Dr. Shashi Kant
Dr. Bob Payne
Peter C. Schleifenbaum
Dr. Margaret Johnston
Dr. Harvey Lemelin
Martin von Mirbach
Dr. Tarlok Singh Sahota
L. Jim Arkilander
Dr. Connie Nelson
Stephen Murray Mitchell
Jean Paul L’Italien
Dr. Tom Mayberry
Dr. Ron Ayling
Val Rita-Harty Economic Development Corporation
Municipality of Val Rita-Harty
Municipality of Greenstone
Geraldton Community Forest
Green Party of Ontario
Dorion Economic Development Committee
Saving The Region of Ontario North Group (STRONG)
Superior North CFDC
Apikan Indigenous Network
NWO Bio-Economy Working Group
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Ontario Region
Superior Outdoors (magazine)
Township of Opasatika
Township of the North Shore
Township of Gillies
Municipality of Tarbutt & Tarbutt Additional
Township of Nipigon
Township of Ear Falls
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
Peggy Smith – Thunder Bay
“As a drafter of the Charter and a spokesperson, I think we are at a crossroads in Northern Ontario. We have an opportunity with the current crisis in the forest industry to re-evaluate our forest management system and develop a new vision for the future, one that includes more community control. Carpe diem!”
Bob Payne – Thunder Bay
“Much needed if Ontario is to implement a form of forestry that is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable.”
Margaret Fiddler – Sandy Lake First Nation
“Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this essential work!!!”
Lorraine A. Rekmans – Ottawa
“I support the charter and its principles of ensuring regional control over resources for local benefits. Local communities must derive evident and sustainable benefits from better forest management, including management for a variety of forest values other than timber.”
Tom Clark – Bracebridge
“Just as all politics is local, all sustainability is local. After many decades of moving towards corporate control, there is a swing back to local control that is healthy and growing. The problems of the forest industry are one indication of this.”
Greg Greer – Belmont
“Private forestry consultant who worked with the Ontario Government for 30 years and knows and understands how important it is to have someone looking out for the resources & people of Northern Ontario.”
Judy Iseke-Barnes – Thunder Bay
“I’m happy to endorse the Charter and glad there are committed people protecting interests of forests.”
Ian Newhouse, Faculty of Professional Schools, Lakehead University – Thunder Bay, Ontario
“On behalf of the Faculty of Professional Schools (Kinesiology, Social Work, Nursing, Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism, Public Health and Gerontology) at Lakehead University, I strongly endorse the Charter. The Charter reflects the mission of the University, while promotion of healthy communities is of particular concern to our Faculty.”
Denis Dorval – Opasatika
“Communities need to have a say in the decision.”
Peter Andre Globensky – Thunder Bay
“This is an important initiative that will go further than any previous attempt to remove the ‘boom and bust’ syndrome so endemic to short term, non-sustainable forestry practises and will assist communities in gaining control of the resource within their midst and upon which they and fellow species depend. As importantly, the Charter will allow communities to engage in planning for a more predictable future.”
Raymond Denson – Thunder Bay
“I think it’s an excellent idea.”
Bryan Poulin – Thunder Bay
“It’s long overdue time that resources, including forestry were looked at in terms of sustainable best value for all stakeholders.”
Cindy Visser-DiCarlo – Kakabeka Falls
“I really believe that people with ownership in the lands can make much more effective and sustainable decisions on how the resources should and could be managed.”
Fred Haavisto – Sault Ste. Marie
“Pleased to see that the concept of Community Based Natural Resource Management is coming back into vogue. Having been on the ground floor beginning in 1987 in Geraldton, I wish to help in any way that I can.”
Paul Filteau – Thunder Bay
“I believe the control and sustainability of our forests are in jeopardy unless communities take action to assure the continuance of healthy forests for tomorrow.”
Alan Simard – Kapuskasing
“Keep up the good work!”
Percy Champagne – Barwick
“I endorse it based on the wording “shared stewardship”. Communities currently may not have the expertise to better manage the forest resource, but I believe will shed a perspective that will add value to the forest resource and the communities that are found within the boundaries of these resources.”
Tim Gray – Toronto
“I think that there are significant opportunities to turn forest management areas into profit, rather than cost, centres as new markets for conservation of carbon, biodiversity and other values begin to develop.”
Dr. Mark Robson – Thunder Bay
“As a drafter of the Charter and researcher of Local Citizens’ Committees, this is the next step in giving northern Ontarions a real say in how the forests they live, work and play in are managed. Its time that we join the 50 plus other countries that are moving towards greater community control over forests for sustainability.”
Dave Lemkay – Pembroke
“Speaking personally, and having worked with the Canadian Forestry Association for the past decade, your initiative mirrors the CFA’s work, since 1900, in advocating for protection and wise use of Canada’s forest, water and wildlife resources. Programs to raise public awareness were a mainstay in Ontario’s north, with railway car classrooms and conservation car visits over decades. Today CFA publishes Canada’s Forests Teaching Kits and distributes to educators across Canada. This outreach is also targeted to urban schools to strengthen the understanding of that large segment of our population as to the source of much of our collective wealth and everyday products. CFA is committed to enlightened attitudes and governance in support of vibrant rural and resource-based economies and culture.”
Stephen Behun – Dorion
“A good start to a viable forest future.”
Dr. Brian McLaren – Thunder Bay
“Exactly what we need in northern Ontario.”
Jocelyn Blais – Hearst
“It is important to realize that this progression will take time. We will gradually be moving towards community forest by collaborating with and influencing the existing industry.”
Dr. Connie Nelson – Thunder Bay
“The Charter is a wonderful start point for more substantive and detailed discussions.”
Marena Loon – Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation
“This is a good start towards working together to sustain our very fragile forests which we need to survive as a species here on mother-earth.”
Stephen Murray Mitchell – Callander
“A very necessary and positive step in furthering sustainable forest management in Ontario!”
Jean Paul L’Italien – Verret, NB
“I think that what your doing has an impact on us all in Canada. Congratulations and kept up the good work.”
Fernando Cabral – Kapuskasing
“A Charter that all of Northern Ontario should be proud to endorse and promote. The NOSCP has done an exceptional job at addressing the wants and needs of the people in Northern Ontario.”
Julia Chamberlain – Thunder Bay
“We are learning about NOSCP in my aboriginal studies course. I 100% agree with community based forest management and agree with the statements outlined in the charter.”
Pierre Gagnon, Foleyet
“Our company was developed 20 years ago with a sustainable idea in mind. We wanted to see change. This is the first organization that reflects our views and we need to be part of it.”
Ryan Bullock, Waterloo
“The time has well come to make forest management more inclusive by overhauling Ontario’s forest tenure system.”
Annemarie Wesolowski, Thunder Bay
“Long overdue! Thanks to the NOSCP for undertaking this action.”
Jeremy Dutton, Hamilton/Dryden
“This is an excellent idea whose time has come.”