Annual Report 2005-2007

In 2005-06 and 2006-07, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry continued to implement the government’s Northern Prosperity Plan. The Northern Prosperity Plan is a range of targeted initiatives aimed at stimulating growth and job creation in Northern Ontario.

To support the initiatives of the Northern Prosperity Plan and existing ministry programs, the government, through the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, invested $337.4 million in the North and in Ontario’s mineral sector in the 2005-06 fiscal year and $347.4 million in 2006-07.


In 2005-06, the Ontario Government invested $295 million to expand and repair highway infrastructure in Northern Ontario. Highlights include:

  • A 6 km four-lane section of Highway 11 opened south of North Bay;
  • The beginning of construction on a 6km four-lane project on Highway 69 from Parry Sound to Nobel;
  • The rehabilitation of 14km of Highway 144;
  • The replacement of the Birch Creek Bridge on Highway 17 west of Webbwood;
  • The rehabilitation of 15km of Highway 11 east of Kapuskasing;
  • The rehabilitation of 13km of Highway 11-17 east of Thunder Bay; and
  • Operational improvements added in various locations across the north including paved shoulders and truck climbing lanes.

For 2006-07, the government invested over $365 million in northern highway rehabilitation and expansion. Highlights include:

  • The awarding of three new four-laning contracts on Highway 69 south of Sudbury and one north of Parry Sound, involving a total of 25km of new construction;
  • The awarding of two new four-laning contracts on Highway 11 south of North Bay, involving over 20km of new construction;
  • The reconstruction of 26km of Highway 584 north of Geraldton;
  • The replacement of the Sioux Narrows Bridge;
  • The rehabilitation of 30km of Highway 11 east of Atikokan;
  • The rehabilitation of 14km of Highway 655 north of Timmins; and
  • The rehabilitation of 17km of Highway 127 north of Thessalon.

The government is on track to meet its commitment to finish four-laning Highway 11 in 2012 and Highway 69 in 2017. Construction is also nearing completion on the new two-lane alignment for Highway 11-17 west of Thunder Bay, and on the new four-lane Highway 17 corridor east of Sault Ste. Marie.

Residents of 31 remote communities in the Far North have had more economical, safe and convenient access to services and supplies via the 3,000 kilometre winter roads network, in which the ministry has invested a total of $10.5 million since October 2004.


Following the unveiling of six new NOHFC programs in January 2005, the ministry continued to work with northern entrepreneurs, communities and business organizations to support vital infrastructure and economic development projects that enhance quality of life, create jobs and stimulate economic activity.

Since October 2003, over 7,800 jobs were created or sustained in the North as a result of approximately 1000 projects to which the NOHFC committed more than $224 million. These investments have leveraged another $719 million from project partners.

In January 2007, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines announced enhancements to three NOHFC programs:

  • A renewed focus for the Emerging Technology Program will encourage investment in telecommunications infrastructure projects that could bring broadband Internet and cellular service to most of the North within three years.

  • The new Northern Energy Program, which replaces the Small Business Energy Conservation Program, will help private and public sector partners pursue clean renewable energy generation capacity to reduce their demand on external energy sources or to produce energy for sale to the electrical grid. This program includes support for renewable energy initiatives, new internal energy generation projects as well as energy conservation pilot projects.

  • Enhancements under the Northern Ontario Youth Internship and Co-op Program, which helps northern employers invest in training young people and preparing them for future employment in the North, allows the NOHFC to now provide more than one year of funding for an intern if that experience is required to receive a professional designation.


Representing the Northwest, Northeast, major cities and the Far North, the Northern Development Councils (NDCs) are a direct link for northerners to the government. Since their inception in 2005, the NDCs have assisted the government on several initiatives including Ontario’s Mineral Development Strategy, the GO North Investor Program and the Northern Ontario Grow Bonds Pilot Program.

In June 2006, the NDCs launched their first dialogue with northerners. Members spent the summer gathering northern input on the creation of new opportunities for young people. More than 500 northerners participated in community dialogue sessions, and 530 northerners took the time to complete an extensive online survey. Final recommendations are currently being reviewed by the government.

In 2007, the NDCs launched their second northern dialogue, focusing this time on strategies that will grow and strengthen northern businesses.


Launched in February 2005, the Northern Ontario Grow Bonds Pilot Program is a Northern Prosperity Plan initiative with two components -- the sale of bonds to northerners and a business loan program.

The business loan program is using $12.9 million raised through the sale of Grow Bonds to support small and medium-sized businesses in the North by providing loans for capital projects that directly result in permanent, full-time employment in the North.

To date, six businesses have received loans under the pilot program totaling more than $4.6 million for projects that are creating and sustaining a total of 204 jobs. The Northern Ontario Grow Bonds Corporation Board continues to review loan applications.


The GO North Investor Program promotes Northern Ontario investment opportunities to the world and helps attract investment and create jobs in the North. Key GO North activities include:

  • A multifaceted marketing and communication program targeted at key international markets identified through an Investment Attraction Study. The multi language, business oriented campaign includes print and online advertising profiling the strengths and opportunities of Ontario’s North to international investors in existing and emerging sectors. Since launching in June 2005, other sales and marketing support tools developed include: a Northern Ontario web module profiling northern communities and northern business testimonials; multiple sector brochures for value-added wood, mining equipment and services, bio products and an Ontario’s North brochure, video and trade display booth.
  • The Northern Communities Investment Readiness (NCIR) initiative to help communities identify investment opportunities and prepare for investment attraction. Since its launch in November 2005, more than $415,000 in NCIR funding has been provided to 36 initiatives enhancing the investment readiness of communities across the North. Program sponsorship of six Investment Readiness workshops across the north bringing key site selection professionals to northern communities further enhanced the preparedness of northern communities to attract investment.


With continued support from the ministry, the ONTC is implementing a business plan that focuses on improved service delivery, operational efficiency, self sustainability, and improved cost recovery. In early 2006, the ONTC completed construction of a new $2.3 million motor coach maintenance/administration facility in North Bay. In February 2004, Ontario Northland was awarded an $81-million contract to refurbish 121 commuter cars over a six-year period. Work on the cars began in August 2004 and as of February 2007, 109 employees were employed on the project specifically, and 18 completely refurbished cars have been delivered to GO Transit.

Initiatives are underway to transfer the Moosonee ferry service to the Moose Band Development Corporation. This is expected to improve customer service, service levels and reduce costs.


In 2006, the ministry contributed $2.1 million to OSTC to complete the final year of a three year $10 million capital program for the M.S. Chi Cheemaun Repowering project. The project will provide the vessel with more dependable and fuel efficient engines. The M.S. Chi Cheemaun ferry service operates between South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island and Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula. On average it transports 250,000 passengers per year.


The Violence Against Women Prevention Initiative Program in Northern Ontario supports projects and initiatives that seek to safeguard women and children from domestic violence. Since 2003, agencies and organizations in northern communities have received more than $1.2 million. Recipients include family resource and sexual assault centres, public health groups, school boards, multicultural associations, women’s shelters, and agencies working with people with disabilities.


The ministry continued its efforts to attract new mineral investment (e.g. diamond exploration) and facilitate meaningful partnerships with First Nation communities and the mining sector, including:

  • On March 6, 2006, Ontario’s first Mineral Development Strategy was released with the aim of enhancing the mineral sector’s global competitiveness, while developing new opportunities for all Ontarians.
  • Contributed $10 million to establish the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation at Laurentian University in Sudbury.
  • The ministry continued implementing the Far North Geological Mapping Initiative. The three year, $15 million economic development geoscience initiative will help create jobs, business opportunities, and a more stable business climate in Ontario’s Far North, in collaboration with aboriginal communities.
  • Under the Far North Geological Mapping Initiative, the ministry entered into collaborative geoscience and communication agreements with 5 remote aboriginal communities and has plans to complete about 7,000 square kilometers of new geoscience surveying in the Far North.
  • Invested $1 million in the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS) Geoscience Laboratories that generates data in support of the OGS maps. It also supports an innovative partnership with Laurentian University to share analytical resources and train students.
  • Through the OGS, the ministry invests about $7 million annually in geological mapping and resource inventory to identify and promote northern areas having high mineral potential of interest to investors.
  • Implemented a new investment and marketing initiative to target national and international investors as well as exploration and mining companies.
  • The 2006 Budget announced a $60 million investment over six years for MNDMF’s Abandoned Mines Rehabilitation Program. This program has been very successful in eliminating or reducing environmental and physical safety hazards.
  • Launched the GeologyOntario website in February 2007 to give mineral clients access to all publicly available knowledge assets describing Ontario’s geology, mineral resources, and industry generated data. Investors around the world will now have direct access to information that will support investment decisions and mineral investment in Ontario.
  • Developed and distributed a video for Aboriginal communities, in partnership with the federal government, that will raise awareness and knowledge of prospecting, exploration, and mining, as well as government-funded geological survey activity by examining the six stages of the mining sequence.
  • Initiated public discussions on how to develop mining-related consultation guidelines. The goal is to come up with a consultation approach that works for Aboriginal communities, Ontario and the mineral industry.
  • Continued working with other ministries and the federal government to develop a one-window approach for permitting and approvals processes dealing with exploration and mining projects.
  • Collaborated with the private sector, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Confederation College, and Aboriginal training organizations and communities to develop and deliver a certified line cutting course for Aboriginal students.
  • Through OGS studies, the ministry also helped conservation authorities identify, protect and manage Ontario’s groundwater resources. The OGS also provided its scientific expertise to research that will help ensure safe, clean drinking water.
  • The Ontario Mineral Industry Cluster Council, established by the government in November 2003, continued its efforts to create a stronger, sustainable and more globally competitive mineral cluster. Its work included exploring opportunities and partnerships to develop and export value-added products and services in areas of new technology and deep mining.
 Ministry Expenditures ($ Million)
Staff Strength (as of March 31, 2006)504.75
 Ministry Expenditures ($ Million)
Staff Strength (as of March 31, 2007)493.75