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Ulf T. Runesson

Faculty of Natural
Resources Management,
Lakehead University

955 Oliver Road,
Thunder Bay, Ontario,
Canada P7B 5E1

     (807) 343-8784

     (807) 346-7769


The First Nation Forestry Program in Ontario

by Rick Greet
RPF Ontario Coordinator,
First Nations Forestry Program

In partnership with First Nations has been described as the motto of the First Nation Forestry Program (FNFP). Working in cooperation with the federal and provincial governments, forest industry companies and other partners, the FNFP provides an opportunity for First Nations and First Nation businesses and organizations to promote forest-based economic development, with full consideration for the principles of sustainable forest management.

Jointly funded and administered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the FNFP is delivered by the Canadian Forest Service (CFS), a sector within NRCan. The intent of this national program is to help improve economic conditions in status First Nation communities by facilitating, levering or being the catalyst for increased contributions from external sources, leading to self-reliance of business initiatives. The FNFP supports communities in developing better and more cooperative ventures from which viable and sustainable long-term jobs will be created.

The FNFP in Ontario is directed by a 7-member Ontario Management Committee (OMC). There are five members from First Nations, as well as a member from INAC and one from CFS. To achieve the objectives of the FNFP, the OMC has placed priority on the following strategic issues:
  • Encouraging broader understanding of traditional knowledge, culture and values
  • Contributing towards self-sufficiency of business initiatives and community development
  • Capacity development and support for cooperative working and funding partnerships
Projects must demonstrate a trend towards self-sufficiency and creation of economic benefits and capacity development in a forestry business. More than 60 individual First Nations or First Nation organizations have been assisted by the Ontario FNFP. In line with the intent of the program, the $2.7 million contribution over the past three years from the FNFP has helped facilitate the development of projects with a combined value of over $9.2 million. This means that for every dollar invested by the FNFP, an additional two dollars and forty cents has been contributed by First Nation and First Nation businesses and organizations and other government and private sector partners.

Businesses have been investigated, created and enhanced that have helped facilitate economic and social development in communities across Ontario. Some of the worthwhile projects that have been supported include:
  • biomass heating studies for remote communities
  • partnership development and joint-ventures in harvesting and value-added manufacturing
  • forestry business planning, education and training
  • business development in forest fire-fighting
  • forest management services
  • non-timber forest products
  • nursery and eco-tourism operations
The OMC members are very pleased that the FNFP is an active partner in stimulating interest and investment in Aboriginal forestry business development. In a prepared statement, the OMC members have said there is still a significant amount to work to be done to ensure that the First Nations of Ontario establish a real presence in the forestry industry. The work being supported by the FNFP is playing an important role in the development of the First Nation forestry sector. This type of support needs to be continued in order to ensure the sustainability of First Nation forestry activities.

For further information please visit the FNFP website at:

Reprints courtesy of Megwekob First Nations - Lake Superior First Nations Trust

National Aboriginal Forestry Association

First Nation Forestry Program

Northern Ontario Native Tourism Association

Assembly of First Nations

Cree-Tech Inc.
Last Modified: January 20, 2014 20:01:06. 
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