Many of our operations in Canada are located in areas where First Nations peoples form a large portion of the population. Not only do we share in the respect and importance of forest resources, we also understand that these resources are critical to the prosperity of Aboriginal communities.
How do you work with First Nations?
In a number of ways. It starts with respecting treaties, traditions and rights. That’s outlined in our Aboriginal Peoples Policy. In Canada, the legal responsibility to consult with First Nations and harmonize forest management practices with their traditional land uses lies with government.
Within this framework, we collaborate with First Nations and government to promote constructive discussions that we hope will lead to long-term solutions. And in many cases it has. Resolute maintains close ties with 27 First Nations in Ontario and in Quebec, we regularly engage with 12 different communities from five separate First Nations.
What are some examples of mutually beneficial initiatives?
- In June, we signed a collaboration agreement with the Council of the Innu of Pessamit to promote economic development for the First Nation and Resolute’s North Shore operations that provides mainly for the recruitment, training and hiring of Innu labor as well as for investment in Innu businesses in the forest, biofuel and wildlife industries. Resolute benefits from a timber supply guarantee applicable to the North Shore administrative region.
- In May, we signed a new Memorandum of Agreement with the Gull Bay First Nation to identify and pursue new economic opportunities. We’ve enjoyed a productive business relationship with the Gull Bay First Nation, near Ontario’s Lake Nipigon, for over 30 years.
- Last year, multi-year contracts in excess of $100 million were awarded to six First Nations as a result of our investments in Northwestern Ontario – including the Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, Lac des Milles Lacs First Nation, Seine River First Nation, Couchiching First Nation, Mitaanjigamiing First Nation and Lac La Croix First Nation.
- Our Thunder Bay (Ontario) sawmill operates under a unique business model with Fort William First Nation. This facility was the first in Canada to work under regulations created by the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act and 2015 is the 12th year of operation.
- The Opitciwan (Quebec) sawmill is a joint venture between Resolute and the Atikamekw Council of Obedjiwan. It’s been operating this way since 1999 and in 2013 won the Aboriginal Business Leadership Award.
Check out Resolute’s combined 2014 Annual Report for more information on our business performance and other interesting #RFPfacts.