Pikogan, December 1, 2022 – The Abitibiwinni First Nation Council and GreenFirst Forest Products (GreenFirst), long-standing partners on various projects, are proud to announce the conclusion of a 5-year collaboration agreement aimed at providing for mitigation, accommodation, and compensation measures in relation to the impact that the company’s activities could have on the Abitibiwinni aki territory and Rights.
This agreement, based on trust and mutual respect, results from a common desire to formalize an already well-established relationship. This agreement provides for the manner in which the parties will interact to ensure harmonious cohabitation on the territory and also provides plans for agreeing on the ways of operating to protect the sites of interest and minimize the impacts.
“The exploitation of natural resources on our traditional territory by companies must be done based on respect for our rights and values. In this sense, we are satisfied with the collaboration agreement concluded with our partner GreenFirst Forest Products. I would like to emphasize the company’s willingness to be responsible partners and I thank all those who worked on the development of the agreement and its implementation”, said the Chief of the Abitibiwinni First Nation Council, Monik Kistabish.
“We are honoured to have this long-standing relationship with the Abitibiwinni First Nation formalized today. GreenFirst always aims to build strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with First Nations on the traditional territories where we operate, in keeping with the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) forest certification to which we subscribe”, said Michel Lessard, President of GreenFirst.
“As a Council, we have a responsibility to ensure the sound management of natural resources on our traditional territory. We also ensure the sustainability of the resources while ensuring that our members and businesses benefit from the economic and social benefits. The agreement with GreenFirst Forest Products meets our expectations and strengthens our business relationship”, said James Cananasso, Deputy Chief of the Abitibiwinni First Nation Council.
“We take pride in the quality of our relationship with the representatives of the Abitibiwinni First Nation. We developed this agreement in a transparent manner, considering everyone’s needs and expectations, but above all by taking the time to do things right”, says Geneviève Labrecque, ing.f. Chief Forester -Quebec at GreenFirst.
The agreement includes training to raise awareness on First Nations realities for the company’s employees. Mechanisms to promote the hiring and retention of Abitibiwinni First Nation members within GreenFirst are planned through internships, employment, or contracts. It also promotes business opportunities on both sides and supports infrastructure development projects in the community. A work plan has been agreed upon and the implementation of the agreement is ensured by a bipartite monitoring committee.
Finally, the parties would like to acknowledge the professional support of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute (FNQLSDI), which was present throughout the process of developing the agreement.
About the Abitibiwinni First Nation
The Abitibiwinni First Nation, also known as Pikogan, is located about three kilometers from Amos, on the west side of the Harricana River. Nearly 600 people live there. The Abitibiwinni First Nation is governed by a Council composed of a Chief, a Deputy Chief and three Councillors who are elected according to custom. The Abitibiwinni First Nation has Aboriginal title to its unceded traditional territory, which it calls «Anicinapek O Takiwa».
GreenFirst Forest Products is a forest-first business focused on sustainable forest management and lumber production. The company owns 7 sawmills and one paper mill across Ontario and Quebec. GreenFirst is a significant lumber producer in Canada. GreenFirst’s sawmills are located in rich wood baskets proudly operating more than 9.1 million hectares of FSC® certified public and private Canadian forestlands (FSC®-C167905). The Company believes that its responsible forestry practices and the long-term environmental advantage of lumber, give GreenFirst with strong position in building materials over cycles and years. GreenFirst’s long-term vision is to be a leader in the global forestry industry.
Source: GreenFirst Forest Products