Results Based Plan 2013-2014



A Northern Ontario economy and provincial minerals sector that are healthy, competitive and sustainable.


As the lead ministry for the North, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines works to make Northern Ontario and the provincial minerals sector strong, healthy and prosperous.


As the regional ministry for Northern Ontario and the ministry responsible for the provincial minerals sector, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) strives to make Northern Ontario and the provincial minerals sector strong, healthy and prosperous. By providing a northern perspective, the ministry supports provincial initiatives in the North and addresses unique regional circumstances.

The ministry leads and coordinates government programs aimed at growing the Northern Ontario economy, building strong northern communities and creating sustainable job opportunities in the North. Through a network of offices and strategic program and policy development, the ministry ensures northerners have access to government programs and services and a voice in government decisions affecting the North. The ministry is also co-leading the implementation of the government’s Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, 2011, a long-term strategy to support sustainable economic and population growth in the North.

As the sectoral ministry for the provincial minerals sector, the ministry helps build a strong, safe and sustainable Ontario by promoting mineral sector exploration and investment guided by Ontario’s Mineral Development Strategy.

The ministry is also the provincial authority in the delivery of baseline geoscience information for all regions of the province, encourages and facilitates Aboriginal participation in Ontario’s economy, administers Ontario’s Mining Act and diamond royalty and ensures safe, environmentally sound mineral development and rehabilitation of mining lands.

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), chaired by the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, provides critical financial assistance to support business development, entrepreneurs, infrastructure investment, and job creation in Northern Ontario communities.

The ministry helps to sustain communities in Northern Ontario through strategic investments in infrastructure. Its Northern Transportation Program works with other ministries and Aboriginal communities to expand and maintain the northern provincial highways system, roads in unincorporated areas, resource access roads and winter roads. Telecommunications and transportation services in Northeastern Ontario are also delivered by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) and the Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC). The government continues its efforts to transform the ONTC with a focus on ensuring that northern communities and industries benefit from viable, efficient and sustainable transportation and communications systems.

In 2010-11, the ministry established a Ring of Fire Secretariat to work and consult with Aboriginal Peoples, northerners and the mining industry to encourage responsible and sustainable economic development in the “Ring of Fire” region. The Ring of Fire refers to one of the most promising development opportunities in Northern Ontario in perhaps a century. Located in Ontario’s Far North, current estimates from one of the companies exploring in the area suggest the potential for decades of chromite production, and a significant production of nickel, copper and platinum. 


Ontario's Priorities

  • Vibrant and Strong Communities
  • A Plan for Jobs and Growth
MNDM Focus
Investing in Northern InfrastructureStrengthening the Northern EconomyMineral Sector Competitiveness
Answer northern regional and local infrastructure needs.Provide northerners with access to government programs and services.Helping Northern Ontario create jobs and growth.Encourage, promote and facilitate the sustained economic benefit of Ontario's mineral resources.Promote a strong, safe and sustainable Ontario by generating and maintaining a geoscience baseline.Ensure sustainable and responsible development of Ontario's mineral resources.


The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines carries out its mandate under three activities or categories: Ministry Administration, Northern Economic Development and Mines and Minerals.


Ministry Administration provides executive direction and strategic business and resource planning services to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of ministry programs. It supports ministry operations through advice and services in the areas of human resources, business planning, accounting and administration, and professional support services such as legal and audit services. It provides core strategic support in the areas of corporate policy and communications.


The ministry leads and coordinates government programs aimed at growing the Northern Ontario economy, building strong northern communities and creating job opportunities in the North. The ministry plays a key role in fulfilling the government’s commitments for strategic initiatives that could impact the North.

Under the banner of Northern Economic Development, the ministry delivers the following sub-activities:

  • Regional Economic Development
  • Transportation, Trade and Investment
  • Strategic Coordination and Planning
  • Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation
  • Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and Owen Sound Transportation Company

2.2(a) Regional Economic Development

A network of six integrated area teams (Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, North Bay and Kenora) with offices in 26 communities across the North serve as the focal point for the delivery of programs and services in the key economic sectors of the North. They work with communities and private sector clients in assisting them to identify, facilitate and develop economic development opportunities, projects and initiatives. This integrated approach allows the ministry to effectively support economic development initiatives in the North by providing a wide range of products and services in a more focused approach to client service delivery. Regional Economic Development staff meet with Aboriginal communities, private sector clients and northern stakeholders to promote programs and assist with strategic planning and the preparation of business plans for proposed projects.

i)  Growth Plan for Northern Ontario

The ministry is co-leading implementation of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, 2011, a 25-year plan released on March 4, 2011, to guide decision-making and strategic investment planning in Northern Ontario.

The Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, 2011, was developed under the Places to Grow Act, 2005, and is the product of extensive engagement with northerners.

The plan guides initiatives to build an economy that is resilient and sustainable and leverages the competitive strengths and human potential of northerners by providing them with more education and career opportunities. The Plan aims to strengthen the economy of the North by:

  • Diversifying the region’s traditional resource-based industries;
  • Stimulating new investment and entrepreneurship;
  • Providing more education, training and career opportunities; and
  • Nurturing new and emerging sectors with high growth potential.

Implementation of the Growth Plan is a collective effort of various partners and participants including governments, industry and business, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and organizations and other public and private sector institutions. 

In 2013-14, progress will continue on the Northern Ontario Multimodal Transportation Strategy, led by the Ministry of Transportation.

The newly established Northern Policy Institute (NPI) is an independent not-for-profit organization that will provide input on provincial policies and programs that affect Northern Ontario. The NPI will also play a role in the implementation and monitoring of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario. In 2013-14 it will deliver a five year business plan that will set out its research agenda.

Following the preparation of regional economic development planning area models for Northwestern and Northeastern Ontario by diverse multi-stakeholder teams, the ministry will engage with the Northern Policy Institute to apply them in a broader Northern Ontario policy context.

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation has approved a new approach to enhance regional collaboration in the development and implementation of priority economic development projects. Through the NOHFC’s Infrastructure and Community Development Program, the Regional Economic Opportunities Partnership Initiative was launched in 2013.

A five year strategic Economic Action Plan for future programs and initiatives to support Growth Plan implementation will be prepar1ed in 2013 and shared with northern stakeholders for consultation and feedback.

2.2(b) Transportation, Trade and Investment

The ministry supports strategic development efforts in Northern Ontario, including marketing Northern Ontario's strengths and opportunities to the world, undertaking research and analysis, and supporting strategic investments in infrastructure through programs such as the Northern Highways Program, Local Roads Boards and Winter Roads. The ministry continues to work with partner ministries to increase public and private investment in the North’s transportation, telecommunications, and community infrastructure, and secure partnerships with other stakeholders.

In addition, the ministry promotes Northern Ontario by assisting local companies to grow and expand their business globally though collaborative international marketing, sales support services and lead generation. By working closely with companies and associations, the ministry increases direct trade, business expansion and foreign direct investment to the benefit of Northern Ontario. 

Sector priorities include forestry related bio-fuels and chemicals as well as mining and related supplies and services. By focusing on sectors that have the best opportunity to attract domestic and foreign direct investment and help local businesses grow and create employment, the ministry proactively identifies and promotes the benefits of growing and/or establishing a business in Northern Ontario.

By focusing on strategic sectors, Northern Ontario’s strengths are matched with Canadian and international opportunities to help deliver economic prosperity to Northern Ontario. 

i) Northern Industrial Electricity Rate (NIER) Program

MNDM continues to deliver the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate (NIER) Program to help large industries in Northern Ontario improve their energy efficiency and sustainability. The program helps northern industries build and maintain a globally competitive advantage and, in turn, help protect and create jobs.
Originally scheduled to expire at the end of 2012-13, the government has extended the NIER Program for three additional years through 2015-16.

2.2(c) Northern Ontario Heritage Fund

Through its programs, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) works with northern entrepreneurs, companies and business organizations to address northern priorities while continuing to support vital infrastructure and community development projects that enhance quality of life and stimulate economic activity. Efforts will continue under the NOHFC’s programs to make strategic investments that stimulate private sector job creation, assist business start-ups, provide development opportunities for northern youth, support energy conservation and power generation initiatives, and assist innovation and emerging technologies that will grow the northern economy. 

In 2013-14, the government will consider options for transforming NOHFC’s programs to better reflect current government priorities, including recommendations of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, the Commission on the Reform of Ontario Public Services and government priorities as outlined in the 2013 Budget.  2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the NOHFC and the ministry believes new programs as proposed by the NOHFC would foster more strategic and focused investment to support Northern Ontario’s economic prosperity and sustainability in the 21st century. 

2.2(d) Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and Owen Sound Transportation Company

The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) and Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) are agencies of the province reporting to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Each receives annual operating and capital subsidies that support the delivery of transportation and telecommunications services in Northeastern Ontario.

The new Ontario Government continues its efforts to transform the ONTC with a focus on ensuring that northern communities and industries benefit from viable, efficient and sustainable transportation and communications systems. In 2013-14, the ministry will work with a Minister’s Advisory Council to examine the business lines of the ONTC with the aim of creating a strong transportation network that serves people, communities and industry in a sustainable way.

The OSTC will assume ownership of the Niska I ferry which runs between Moosonee and Moose Factory Island with no changes in service.


The ministry supports a strong and sustainable minerals development industry by promoting investment and exploration, providing information to global clients on Ontario’s wealth of mineral resources, and through the fair, effective and efficient administration of Ontario’s Mining Act. There are five key program areas:

  • Ring of Fire;
  • Geoscience Information;
  • Mineral Development Investment and Opportunity;
  • Administration of the Mining Act; and
  • Aboriginal Relations

2.3(a) The Ring of Fire

The “Ring of Fire” initiative refers to one of the most promising development opportunities in Northern Ontario in perhaps a century, with potential economic impacts across the province. Proposed mine developments currently under consideration in the Ring of Fire area are expected to create more than 1,500 permanent jobs once the mines are in full production. Additional jobs will be created in the mining service and supply sector.

Given the complexities and challenges of such wide-scale development, the ministry, through the Ring of Fire Secretariat, continues to be actively engaged in ensuring multi-agency and stakeholder initiatives are undertaken in a coordinated and timely manner. In supporting Ring of Fire development, the province continues to focus on:

  • Building wealth and creating opportunity for Ontarians by supporting development of and access to new mineral wealth and facilitating job creation;
  • First Nations economic participation including building capacity to participate in economic development, enhancing community based and regional infrastructure and improving quality of life;
  • Maximizing value-added opportunities associated with mine developments through securing a new processing facility in the province and supporting growth in Ontario’s mining supply and services sector;
  • Regional economic development in Ontario’s Far North by supporting infrastructure development that will provide access to new mineral wealth; and
  • Ensuring environmentally sustainable development, guided by environmental assessment and permitting processes, as well as community-based land-use planning.

The ministry will continue efforts to fully engage First Nations in Ring of Fire developments, building and enhancing community relationships and working with communities to implement regional processes as reflected in Ontario’s commitments to First Nations in May 2012. The ministry will also continue its efforts to ensure effective and efficient processes for coordination and delivery of environmental assessments, permitting and approvals across provincial ministries and with the Federal government.   Work will continue with regional and local economic development organizations to identify service delivery and business development opportunities and ensure that benefits from investments in Ontario’s resources are maximized through value added activity.

Location of Ring of Fire Area:

2.3(b) Geoscience Information

This area establishes a geoscience baseline for Ontario to: identify economic opportunity, safeguard public health and safety and inform environmental and land use planning decisions.  Services include province-wide geological mapping, online 24-7 access to geoscience information and expert geological advisory services across the province.  Geoscience expertise supports other government priorities such as groundwater aquifer mapping as part of drinking water protection efforts and identifying new industrial and energy development opportunities.  In addition, this area facilitates Aboriginal engagement and informed land use planning decisions which lead to sustainable community development.

2.3(c)  Mineral Development Investment and Opportunity

This area is focused on enhancing and sustaining investment by promoting Ontario’s Mineral Development Strategy.  This area ensures Ontario receives a fair share of the value of mineral resources extracted from the province, identifies strategic investment opportunities and influences policy issues that support Ontario`s mineral competitiveness.

2.3(d) Administration of the Mining Act

This program area administers the Ontario Mining Act to facilitate and support a strong and sustainable mineral development sector for the people of Ontario. This involves ensuring equitable public access to Crown mineral rights, fair and efficient management of Ontario's mining lands, and ensuring safe, environmentally-sound mineral development and rehabilitation of mining lands.

As part of this mandate, the ministry is continuing to implement changes to modernize the Mining Act to ensure that mineral exploration and development in Ontario is undertaken in a manner that promotes a balanced approach that benefits all Ontarians, while modernizing the way mining companies stake and explore their claims to be more respectful of private landowners and Aboriginal communities.  The Ministry assists industry with their exploration, advanced exploration or new mine development projects by providing information and advice on permitting requirements and facilitating consultation with the public and Aboriginal communities.

i) Rehabilitation of Crown-held Abandoned Mine Sites

The Abandoned Mines Rehabilitation Program invests in the rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites on Crown-held lands to ensure public safety, improve the environment, make the lands available for productive use and reduce the Crown’s liability on these sites.

2.3(e) Aboriginal Relations

This area encourages and facilitates Aboriginal participation in Ontario’s economy in a way that recognizes and is respectful of Aboriginal rights and culture.  Program staff work with Aboriginal communities to meet duty to consult obligations and ensure that activities occur in a manner that is consistent with the Crown’s obligation concerning Aboriginal and treaty rights. Recognizing the need for capacity support for Aboriginal communities in areas of high mineral potential, several pilot projects are planned to provide Aboriginal mineral technical advisory services.


Ministry Allocation 2013-14 Base Spending ($724.6M)

  • Northern Development, $310.0, 43%
  • Mines and Minerals, $62.4, 8%
  • Statutory Appropriations, $231.7, 32%
  • Agency Consolidation, $108.6, 15%
  • Ministry Administration, $11.9, 2%
Ministry Planned Expenditures ($M) 2013-14


The following are the performance targets for 2013-14. Refer to Appendix 1: Annual Report for a more details.

Activity - Northern Economic Development
Sub-activityPerformance MeasureStatement of Result
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)Investment dollars leveraged from other partnersThe target ratio of investment dollars leveraged from other partners is 1:3 leveraged dollars in 2013-14.
Number of full-time jobs that are being created or sustainedNOHFC funding is expecting to help create or retain 3,500 full time jobs in 2013-14.
Activity – Mines and Minerals
Sub-activityPerformance MeasureStatement of Result
Geoscience Exploration and InvestmentOntario's ranking in Canada for new investment in exploration and miningOntario to maintain its standing as the leading jurisdiction in Canada for new investment in mining and exploration.
Geoscience data and information required to support Far North land-use decisionsCollection of new, first generation, regional framework geological data will be at least 100,000 km2 to inform land-use planning decisions for Ontario’s Far North.



Mining Act

This Act provides for the regulation of mineral exploration and development activities in Ontario. The purpose of this Act is to encourage prospecting, staking and exploration for the development of mineral resources in a manner consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including the duty to consult, and to minimize the impact of these activities on public health and safety and the environment.

Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Act

This act establishes the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. It recognizes the different conditions and special needs existing in Northern Ontario and the desire of northern residents to have a stronger voice in government. The act defines the ministry’s function to coordinate government activities and initiate policies and programs for the government in Northern Ontario and on behalf of the minerals industry.  At this time, the act retains “Forestry” in its title even though responsibilities for the forestry sector were transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2011.  Order-in-Council 1571/2011 identifies the Minister of Northern Development and Mines as presiding over the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Act

This act establishes a corporation to promote economic development and diversification in Northern Ontario, through the use of funds provided for that purpose.  The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation operates as an Operational Service Agency of the Province.

Northern Services Boards Act

This act, passed in 1999, replaces the former Local Services Boards Act. The Act provides choice and flexibility to northern residents in the establishment of service delivery mechanisms that recognize the unique circumstances of Northern Ontario and allow increased efficiency and accountability in area-wide service delivery.

The first part of the act allows inhabitants of territories without municipal organization to establish legally-constituted local services boards to act on their behalf, and to raise funds for certain basic community services to improve the quality of life. The second part of the act provides for the establishment of area service boards to consolidate delivery of six core services: child care, social assistance, public health, social housing, land ambulance service and homes for the aged as well as a variety of optional services. An area services board would have taxation authority in the board area to recover service costs.

Ontario Northland Transportation Commission Act

This Act established the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) for the purposes of providing transportation and telecommunications services to Northern Ontario. The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission operates as an Operational Enterprise Agency of the Province.

Professional Geoscientists Act

This Act established the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario as the governing body for geoscientists, and empowers the association to establish standards of professional practice for persons who wish to be recognized as professional geoscientists. 


Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is an Operational Service Agency of the Province. It was established in 1988 to advise and make recommendations on any matter relating to the growth and diversification of the economy of Northern Ontario, and to promote and stimulate economic initiatives.

Ontario Northland Transportation Commission

The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission is an Operational Enterprise Agency of the Province providing transportation and telecommunication services in Northern Ontario. Its activities include rail freight and passenger services, telecommunications, and bus operations. 

Owen Sound Transportation Company, Limited

The Owen Sound Transportation Company, Limited (OSTC) is an Operational Enterprise Agency of the province delivering marine (vehicle and passenger) services from Tobermory to South Baymouth aboard the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun. The OSTC also operates the Pelee Island ferry year-round by contract with the Ministry of Transportation as well as the Niska 1 ferry between Moosonee and Moose Factory.


2013-14 Estimates $Agency2012-13 Estimates $2012-13 Interim Actuals* $2011-12 Actuals $
65 500,000
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund
- Operating
- Capital
14, 390, 000
12, 694, 000
Ontario Northland Transportation
- Operating
- Capital
1, 900, 000
3, 700, 000
Owen Sound Transportation Company
- Operating
- Capital

* Interim Actuals reflect numbers presented in the 2013 Ontario Budget