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Resolute Forest Products Canada Inc. (RFP) closed its Fort Frances pulp and paper mill in February 2014.

In the latter part of 2014 and early 2015 Expera tried to buy and operate the pulp and paper mill in Fort Frances. However, Expera suspended its efforts to buy this mill as RFP insisted on controlling its wood supply from the Crossroute Forest.

In June 2017, the Ministry forgave the 23 million dollar provincial government loan extended to RFP to finance the construction of the biomass boiler at the Fort Frances mill.

In December 2018 Repap Resources Group (Rainy River Packaging - RRP) expressed an interest in purchasing the Fort Frances mill to produce package grade materials. The Town of Fort Frances indicated RFP requested a non-disclosure Agreement from RRP that would prevent them from speaking to representatives of the government regarding a wood supply from the Crossroute Forest.

On July 9, 2019 RFP and Riversedge numbered company registered their Restrictive Covenant Agreement on the title of the Fort Frances mill lands. In this Agreement, RFP clearly acknowledged it would not have entered into the sale of the Fort Frances mill to Riversedge numbered company had the numbered company not agreed to be bound by the restrictive covenants articulated therein.

RFP's position, supported by the MNRF since Feb. 2014, regarding the wood supply from the Crossroute Forest has been clear and also consistent with the acknowledgement in the Restrictive Covenant Agreement. Rainy River Packaging's recent multi-million dollar offer to purchase the Fort Frances mill together with the recent (less than 7 months) registration of the Restrictive Covenant Agreement on title of the Fort Frances mill lands indicates this pulp and paper mill still has operational value.

It is the MNRF's responsibility to meet the objectives of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA). In an excerpt from the Annual Report to the Legislature in October 2014 the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario states:

“While the CFSA envisions an important role from MNRF to support Ontario's forest industry, MNRF's primary responsibility is to protect the needs of Ontario's forest dependent communities and the long-term sustainability of forest ecosystems”

The MNRF has failed the citizens of Fort Frances, the Rainy River District and Ontario.


David Kircher

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