Protecting the Ontario resources sector
Published Monday, May 28, 2018 6:33PM EDT
In Timmins, business leaders gathered Monday to discuss Ontario’s resources sector ahead of the provincial election.
Participants included the Timmins Mayor, as well as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Ontario's mining and forestry businesses, and members of the Indigenous community.
The campaign for control of Queens Park is well underway, with party leaders and candidates trumpeting hot-button issues like healthcare, hydro and gas costs, but this group of heavy industry leaders are worried Ontario's resource industry is being left out of the conversation.
Steve Black is the Mayor of Timmins.
"To lobby the government to develop a natural resources policy for Ontario, that's the number one ask out of this and to identify concrete actions to move that forward." said Black.
He says the conversation has never been more important, but the ground being covered is anything but new.
"Ithink a variety of the topics we discussed are common. We've been talking about them for a long time now." said Black.
Long-term energy costs for industry, developmental red tape, the list is long and this group says, it's detrimental for northern development.
Chris Hodgson is the President of the Ontario Mining Association.
"We're hopeful that we can continue with the strengths that made Ontario great. It's not just our natural endowment, but it's our people and the skills that we've had to be the best in the world at hard rock underground mining." said Hodgson.
That means offering mining companies low interest loans, stable energy costs and foundation to be competitive in a growing global market, sentiments echoed by the forestry sector.
Derek Nighbor is President and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada.
"The fact that the options in communities like Timmins, or Kap(uskasing), are much more limited in terms of good paying family jobs, so we've got to really defend and support the jobs we have and grow from there. The alternative of losing mill jobs is too risky to communities." said Nighbor.
This group says regardless of the results on June 7th, they'll be ready to bend the ears of Ontario's new government to do it's best to re-start what they call the province’s “economic engine.”