Michael Gravelle

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle announced July 3 that northern Ontario's Ring of Fire project would be assisted by a newly created development corporation. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

The Ontario government announced today that it has established the Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation, with headquarters to be located in Thunder Bay.

The government pledged on July 3 to create the corporation within 60 days.

For now, the not-for-profit body has an interim board made up of four senior Ontario civil servants. The board will create what the province calls "necessary structures" to determine how partners will participate in the corporation. Those potential partners include First Nations, industry, communities and the federal government.

The corporation will be based in Thunder Bay, but staffing levels have yet to be determined. Its ultimate goal is to bring First Nations, the public and private sectors together to create partnerships and facilitate investment for transportation options to the Ring of Fire.

Opposition not impressed

The NDP critic for Northern Development and Mines, Michael Mantha said the province is moving too slow.

"I am disappointed to see that this announcement has no details on the progress of the Ring of Fire Development Corporation or how it will function," Mantha said in a statement. "This government has had years to come up with a framework for the Ring of Fire and what we see today is all they were able to come up with is four civil servants sitting on a board and more empty promises."

The PC party's Finance critic, Vic Fedeli, said the province needs to get "transportation experts" to the group.

"Today marks the sixth time in nine months the government has announced the Ring of Fire Development Corporation.  Yet despite that considerable length of time, key industry, First Nations and Ontario Northland still haven’t been invited to the table."


Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation members:

Ehren Cory
Executive Director for Infrastructure Ontario Transaction Structuring Risk and Commercial Projects division
Former Partner of Rob DowlerAssistant Deputy Minister for Economic Environment Justice
Awarded CIP National Planning Award for excellence in regional and urban planning

Linda McAusland
Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Administrative officer for the Ministry of Transportation
Previously worked at Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines

Bill Thornton
Assistant Deputy Minister for Northern Development Division for Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Member of the Canadian Institute of Forestry, an Ontario Registered Professional ForesterMcKinsey & Co, a global management consulting firm