Manitoba signs MOUs for forest revenue-sharing to enhance Indigenous presence in forest economy

Forest Economy Unsplash Annie Spratt

An announcement today by Chief Sidney Ballantyne reportedly said that a memorandum of understanding is being signed this week by the Manitoba government through a collaborative effort, by the Manitoba government with Mosakahiken Cree Nation (MCN) and finalizing another MOU with Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) to work toward the development of revenue sharing.

This effort would see up to 45 percent of revenues collected from timber dues returned to rights holders, Natural Resources and Northern Development Minister Greg Nesbitt, Mosakahiken Cree Nation (MCN) Chief Vincent Bercier and Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN).

“For too long, Indigenous communities have not benefited from forestry operations on their traditional territories…these historic memorandums of understanding…the first of their kind for Manitoba…as Indigenous participation in the forestry sector is essential to ensure everyone benefits from Manitoba’s resources,” said Nesbitt in a news release and added that this pilot agreement will facilitate both Cree nations, and the province, to test and assess the approach in preparation for a longer-term agreement.

Since early 2022, the province of Manitoba has been working with both Mosakahiken Cree Nation and Opaskwayak Cree Nation on the agreements.

The scope of this pilot agreement encompasses timber dues revenue collected from Jan. 1, 2022, and up to June 30, 2024 and Manitoba will share up to 45 percent of the dues collected for timber harvested in proximity to Mosakahiken Cree Nation and Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN), respectively.

Of the 1,450 direct jobs created by the largest forestry operations in Manitoba in Swan River and The Pas are Canadian Kraft Paper, Louisiana Pacific, and Spruce Products Ltd, between 25 to 38 percent of these jobs are held by individuals from Indigenous communities.

More than $1 million towards grants to support key economic development activities, including $200,000 were allocated by the Manitoba government last year to improve the viability of Manitoba’s forest sector to facilitate enhanced Indigenous participation in the forest economy.

#Manotoba; #ForestEconomy; #Indigenous