The following article on the creation of the Société du Plan Nord was published on our firm’s Canadian Energy Perspectives blog and may be of interest to our readers. This corporation established by the Québec government will come into being on April 1, 2015 and its mission will be to contribute to the orderly development of Northern Québec.
On November 14, 2014, the Minister of International Trade announced Canada’s enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy, “Doing Business the Canadian Way: A Strategy to Advance CSR in Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad”. Like its predecessor, the CSR Strategy applies to all resource companies headquartered in Canada with extractive operations abroad. Continue Reading
On October 14, 2014, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister Responsible for the Northern Plan, Mr. Pierre Arcand, and the Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Exports, Mr. Jacques Daoust, introduced Québec’s strategy to use its electricity surpluses: a 20% discount on the current industrial electricity rates to encourage investments and new projects in the province. Read more.
On September 30, 2014, the Quebec government introduced Bill 11 to create the Société du Plan Nord which will be responsible for, inter alia, the coordination of the implementation of the Plan Nord. We invite readers to see our summary of the Bill’s highlights, originally posted on our firm’s main website.
The Federal Government announced yesterday that it will postpone the application of its mandatory reporting requirements for the extractive sector to payments made to Aboriginal groups for a period of two years. The announcement comes after several months of consultation with industry and Aboriginal groups on the proposed framework. The postponement is intended to provide opportunities for further consultation by government. The government confirmed, however, that it intends to proceed with implementing the balance of the reporting regime.
As we commented earlier, the proposal to extend the reporting requirements to Aboriginal groups promised to be highly controversial and threatened the support government generally received from the extractive industry. This aspect of the proposed reporting requirements exceeded both the recommendations of the Resource Revenue Transparency Working Group and international reporting standards for the extractive industry. See our earlier commentary on the proposed requirements here.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation has announced the release of a draft Mining Policy of the Tsilhqot’in National Government (Policy). The release of the Policy on July 31, 2014 follows the June 26, 2014 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44 (Tsilhqot’in). In Tsilhqot’in, the SCC granted a declaration of Aboriginal title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation over an approximately 1700 sq. km tract of land within its traditional territory. This was the first time that Aboriginal title has been declared in Canada. See our article on this decision here.
The Policy is intended to provide guidance to industry and government seeking to undertake development work or stake claims within the traditional territory of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. Notable aspects of the Policy include: Continue Reading
On July 17, 2014, Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) released a report on metal streaming transactions, in which it discusses the impact of streaming transactions on the credit profiles of mining companies. Generally, Moody’s views metal streaming transactions as a form of equity investment, rather than debt financing. This is in contrast to criteria released by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) in 2013, which characterize the upfront payment aspect of metal streaming transactions as debt. Continue Reading
On July 11, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its decision in Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48. In a unanimous judgment written by Chief Justice McLachlin, the SCC upheld the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) in Keewatin v. Ontario (Natural Resources), 2013 ONCA 158 in its entirety, confirming that valid provincial laws over forestry, mining, settlement and other matters continue to apply in Treaty 3 territory in Ontario and are entirely consistent with the terms of Treaty 3. Our analysis of the ONCA’s decision and the background of this case is available here.
Grassy Narrows will be viewed as a positive decision from the perspective of government and industry, as it resolves considerable uncertainty that had been created by the lower court decision (2011 ONSC 4801). Based on its interpretation of Treaty 3, the lower court had suggested that Ontario could not “take up” lands in the Keewatin area of Ontario absent a two-step process requiring prior authorization of the federal government. This would have had the practical effect of essentially freezing Ontario’s independent authority to regulate resource development on those lands, despite such matters falling squarely within its provincial jurisdiction in the Constitution Act, 1867. Continue Reading
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its highly anticipated decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia. In this ground-breaking decision, Canada’s highest court granted a declaration of Aboriginal title over a tract of Crown lands to the Tsilhqot’in Nation (Tsilhqot’in) of the west central interior of British Columbia. This is the first time in Canadian history that Aboriginal title has been definitively established and affirmed.
In allowing the appeal of the Tsilhqot’in from the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal (BCCA) in William v. British Columbia, the SCC has: (a) clarified the law as it pertains to the establishment of Aboriginal title and the nature of such title; (b) addressed how the establishment of Aboriginal title affects the Crown’s duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples; and (c) clarified how provincial (and federal) legislation may apply to lands subject to Aboriginal title, and if necessary, infringements may be justified. Continue Reading
The Government of Ontario announced today that it will commit $1 billion toward the development of infrastructure in the so called “Ring of Fire” in Ontario’s far north. As discussed here, private investment in the region has been slow in part because of a lack of transportation and power transmission infrastructure. According to Northern Miner, approximately $2.25 billion needs to be invested to facilitate the development of the region. While the Government of Ontario hopes that the Federal Government will match its contribution, it is currently unclear whether federal funding can be expected.
Keep visiting our blog for further updates.