This should make your head spin…….long and detailed accounting of MNR mis-doings

March 28, 2013

 

 

 

 

 If everything below doesn’t upset you or make you concerned  you should probably not be a Northern Ontario Resident.  This ongoing battle with MNR  and now the NEWS media is coming on board in this battle to take MNR  to task and have a public inquiry into their illegal activities over the past decades , is long overdue.

To have a clearer understanding it would be best if you read each section from the bottom up.

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From: Tom Brason
Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2014 9:39 AM
To: Gus Chagani
Cc: SSM News ; Shelly Casey ; newsforthenorth@ctv.ca ; The Fifth Estate ; Christina Blizzard ; Brenda Grundt ; lperrier@dubreuilville.ca ; hugo.duchaine@cbc.ca
Subject: Ministry of Natural Resources evidence of allegations of wrongdoing

Office of the Auditor General of Ontario

Gus,
Look at the evidence here suggesting Ministry of Natural Resources employees may have been helping themselves to our resources for their own financial benefit beginning with a report carried by Q104 FM from Sault Ste Marie. Please see the attached letter of March 2014 critical of the way the Minister is treating evidence.

Does the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario not have the responsibility to react immediately on such clear evidence?
Tom Brason
cc: Town of Dubreuilville
Media
http://www.country1043.com/2014/03/19/mnr-controversy-wont-go-away/…
“The battle over both access to public land and the exclusive access to public land by MNR insiders continues to fester. Tom Brason of the Sault and Mike Boudreau of Hawk Junction and the head of OntORA have long battled the closure of roads to inland lakes … and their real focus now is on the MNR conflict of interest allegations. They do not trust an internal review of the situation and feel a violation of law – both the Public Lands Act and the Public Services Ontario Act – is grounds for a judicial inquiry at which time Boudreau will present his evidence. Orazietti is seeking to have the matter discussed behind closed doors between Boudreau and ministry officials. Brason sent a letter to Orazietti today demanding that a judicial inquiry be called – or he should resign. Oraizietti has responded by re-issuing his invitation to meet … and hanging on changes to the Public Service Act of 2006 that he says spells out ways any conflicts of interest are to be handled. He points to the Act first taking effect in 1913 … and some of these allegations of abuse date back decades … but apparently cannot be un-done, or offenders brought to justice

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From: Tom Brason
To: David Orazietti, MPP ; premier@ontario.ca
Cc: CBC Sudbury ; SSM News ; Shelly Casey ; news@sootoday.com ; MMantha-CO@ndp.on.ca ; Mike Boudreau ; lperrier@dubreuilville.ca ; The Fifth Estate ; Christina Blizzard ; newsforthenorth@ctv.ca ; David Orazietti, MPP (Constituency Office) ; david.o’toole@ontario.ca ; Michael.L.Simpson@ontario.ca ; Donnachie, Andrew (MNR)
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: Ontora refuses to discuss allegations

David, I am not a member of the organization you speak of, several groups are allied in the quest for justice in this matter. This individual is bringing forth evidence of wrongdoing of significance, evidence that can not be retracted or negotiated. Evidence of this magnitude must go to the proper authorities and receive a Judicial Enquiry being it apparently substantiates past evidence. You do not have the legal capacity dealing with this nor does your staff which are possibly involved in these allegations being the Deputy Minister has approved these commercial activities.
I must remind you that you have been provided much evidence of alleged wrongdoing by staff you are accountable for including very clear evidence the internal directive referred to by the MNR has potentially been altered, this directive that turns out to be a Policy on How Ministry Employees may Obtain Crown Land has several instances clearly in violation to a couple Acts, sufficient to warrant an investigation on it’s own.
The manual called “Management Guidelines for Forestry and Resource-Based Tourism is another Ministry document requiring a close look by legal authorities. The MNR has offered advice in the form of TIPs on how to prevent public access to public lands and lakes bordered by public lands by tearing up of bridges and roads, they even offer LEASES to OUTFITTERs for strategic points on PUBLIC ROADS as an added measure of assurance so they can close of these publicly owned and funded roads themselves. This manual itself requires a legal investigation.
The actions of MNR employees in acquiring public lands and issuing themselves lic of operation to run commercial businesses on Crown lands is in clear violation of the Public Services of Ontario Act as well as the Public Lands Act, an Act that was not taken into consideration in the creation or changes to the Ministry’s internal directive.
Public access restrictions to lakes bordered by Crown land on the basis of disposition of a lot on that lake to an outfitter is a violation of PLA s.3 as well, the Policy describing this Act is very clear in stating that the “intent of this Legislation is to provide for adequate, sustained access and recreational opportunities for present and future generations of Ontarians”…it goes on to state that disposition of shore lots is not to occurr if it interferes with the intent of the Act.
David, we’re demanding that our rights as Ontarians along with the Statutes of Ontario be respected, none of us have the legal capacity negotiating with you over these legal issues any more than you do with us as individuals like you’re determined to do. You have been informed that the evidence provided you is for a Judicial Enquiry therefore you have no business intercepting it with staff named in these allegations.
These are very serious legal issues that can only be dealt with by the properly.
Tom Brason

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—– Original Message —–
From: David Orazietti, MPP
To: ‘Tom Brason’ ; premier@ontario.ca
Cc: CBC Sudbury ; SSM News ; Shelly Casey ; news@sootoday.com ; MMantha-CO@ndp.on.ca ; Mike Boudreau ; lperrier@dubreuilville.ca ; The Fifth Estate ; Christina Blizzard ; newsforthenorth@ctv.ca ; David Orazietti, MPP (Constituency Office) ; ‘david.o’toole@ontario.ca’ ; Simpson, Michael (MNR) (Michael.L.Simpson@ontario.ca) ; Donnachie, Andrew (MNR)
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 10:33 AM
Subject: re: Ontora refuses to discuss allegations

Tom
We would be pleased to address any concerns you have with respect to the Ministry of Natural Resources, however I cannot act if the President of your organization refuses to meet to discuss any such allegations. My Chief of Staff has in fact reached out to him twice to arrange a meeting however Ontora has refused to discuss these allegations or provide any information or evidence of wrongdoing.
We continue to be open to a meeting and I take these accusations seriously. If you could please provide information in this regard I will ensure it is reviewed immediately.
Below is my open response to the media addressing Mike Boudreau’s letter to our office:
———-

I am pleased to provide a response to the letter released by Mike Boudreau, President of OntORA.
To be clear, my priority with respect to crown land access is that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) ensures the greatest possible access to crown land for the enjoyment and use by all Ontarians.
Current and former Ontario government employees are governed by conflict of interest rules, which require declarations of any activities that are deemed to be in potential conflict with their duties as public servants. If a current MNR employee wishes to obtain a right, title or interest in Crown land, section 39 of the Public Lands Act requires that this employee obtain Lieutenant Governor in Council (LGIC) approval.
MNR has a policy—public lands directive 4.11.06 Disposition of Crown Land to Ministry Employees—which clarifies when MNR employees need to declare potential conflict of interest issues or when they need LGIC approval.
While section 39 of the Public Lands Act only applies to current MNR employees, both current and former public servants are required to notify the ethics executive if they engage in an activity that may result in an actual or potential conflict of interest under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006. Current and former employees must fill out the Conflict of Interest Declaration Form, and must not proceed with the activity until a ruling is made.
The Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA) requires Ontario Public Service employees to declare potential situations of conflict of interest to their Ministry ethics executive. Prior to 2006, conflicts of interest were governed under the Public Service Act, which first took effect in 1913.
These requirements are in place to create a level playing field and ensure that ministry employees do not receive any preferential treatment, or benefit from special knowledge, by virtue of their employment with MNR.
In 2008 the Ombudsman’s office reviewed this issue and investigated a complaint that some MNR employees owned or had interests in tourism-related businesses. “After one of our investigators reviewed the complaint and obtained clarifying information from the ministry, we determined there was no basis on which to pursue the complaint further,” said Ombudsman spokesperson Linda Williamson.
I encourage anyone who has a concern to come forward with evidence and submit it to my office, as well as to the Office of the Ombudsman.
David Orazietti

Minister of Natural Resources

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Hon David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources 2014-03-19

Suite 6630, 6th Floor, Whitney Block 99 Wellesley Street West Toronto, Ontario M7A 1W3

Hon Minister,

Recently an individual contacted you and publicly announced that he has fresh evidence of alleged wrongdoing of a very serious nature by employees of the Ministry of Natural Resources, offering to divulge that information at the appropriate time and place with full expectations you’d act with due diligence as necessitated by law.

These new revelations coming on the heels of previous complaints of Ministry employees having acquired public lands and issued themselves licences of operation for the purpose of operating commercial ventures. As you’re fully aware, much of this was already admitted to and suspiciously supported by the highest levels of the MNR with approval on an individual basis by the Deputy Minister themselves, thus implicating the entire Ministry in a scheme, that by all appearances, potentially contravenes several Ontario Statutes.

This individual has since been contacted by your Chief of Staff in an attempt to arrange a private meeting with the Deputy Minister regarding this information; he says he’s received two phone calls requesting a meeting with him in Sault Ste Marie, presumably at your office.

Efforts to lure that individual, a potentially future hostile witness in this case into a private meeting with those at the heart of the above allegations are most inappropriate, suspicious and can only be interpreted as an attempt to intervene in the due process, a serious offence here in Ontario.

You’ve refused to call a Judicial Enquiry even after the MNR had admitted to prior discreditable conduct and their only defence concerning the Public Lands Act wasn’t only debunked but it was brought to your attention the Public Services of Ontario Act additionally forbids civil servants from all such activities with additional parameters. Recently you told a reporter that the Lt Governor can sanction such activities but balked at further discussion on the matter when asked to substantiate that very slim possibility.

Here again, you had a legal duty to this individual and the evidence he is offering but instead you’ve allowed the very people who could be possibly affected by this persons information to again handle things; very likely overstepping their legal boundaries in the process.

This flagrant disregard for our justice system will not be tolerated any longer and the Hon Minister must deal with it in the appropriate manner or face the consequences and resign as Minister.

Sincerely,

Tom Brason

CC: Premier Wynne

Media

 

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Hon David Orazietti 2014-02-19

Minister of Natural Resources

Hon Minister,

In recent local radio interviews you’ve acknowledged the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has admitted it allows employees to acquire public lands for non-private, commercial uses, that the MNR supports the practice with internal forms to be approved by the Deputy Minister for that purpose.

According to the Public Lands Act they can’t purchase any “right, title or interest” in any public lands in their own name or the name of another, one exception being that it be a fair process of a public draw or auction… limited to private, non commercial use only.

The MNRs excuse was an internal directive stating “right, title or interest” only applies to the purchase of estates and not land use permits that are used to acquire public lands for commercial uses.

We’ve not only debunked this aberration, we’ve also shared proof of our concerns with the Hon Minister that an entire Policy appears altered and reminded him about the Public Services of Ontario Act which in itself puts the kibosh on the entire fiasco once and for all.

You can’t avoid a Public Enquiry, you’re saying the Lieutenant Governor ‘possibly’ allowed this intolerable use of public lands but declined to speak for the L-G or his office when asked (by the reporter) whether permission was granted on a case-by-case basis – or was just issued in blanket form for whenever the Deputy Minister might see fit.’ Regardless how we cut it, being civil servants, MNR employees are still responsible under the Public Services of Ontario Act which is further binding, regardless of any such loop hole in the PLA.

Additionally, why have you not launched an enquiry into this equally suspicious MNR document “Management Guidelines for Forestry and Resource-Based Tourism” where the Ministry uses their expertise in the form of TIPs to prevent lawful public access to our Crown lands by the tearing out, at great public expense, publicly owned and funded roads and bridges, regardless if needed for future or firefighting. One TIP even provides leases to outfitters for strategic points on public roads such as at bridges for an added measure of insurance but the icing on the cake which everyone with any sense of decency or morals should be very concerned with is the statement on page 18 recommending deceit with this actual quote…

  • · “Education and communication efforts to explain that the purpose of the access control is to protect natural resources can assist with achieving public acceptance”.

 

Why does the Liberal Party appear to ignore and suppress very clear and credible evidence rather than act in a responsible manner to the people they represent? Why did the Liberals in the fall of 2010 rush changes to legislation thru’ parliament as a perceived cover-up over past complaints of abuse of power? Why are public lands being treated like vast private game preserves for the affluent, 85% of whom are foreigners, charging Ontarians with trespassing on their own land?

Hon Minister, when are you going to call for an independent investigation into this extremely serious matter that’s grown out of control to the point of enveloping the Liberal Party under a cloud of complicity?

Sincerely,

Tom Brason

 2013-05-01

Tom Brason

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Hon David Orazietti

Minister of Natural Resources

Whitney Block

6th Floor,

99 Wellesley Street West

Toronto, Ontario

Re: Disposition of Crown land to Ministry staff

Dear Mr. Orazietti,

New information has added additional fuel to allegations of conflict of interest and increased suspicions documents may have been altered to support an internal scheme enabling employee acquisition of public lands contrary to several statutes. Those focused on obstructions in PLA s.39 didn’t realize their efforts may be thwarted by an overlapping Act and several related documents.

Due to the nature of the allegations which appear to involve the entire OMNR, including the office of the Deputy Minister itself, it would be due diligence on the part of our elected representatives to seek an independent legal investigation of this entire Ministry. Past complaints to the Liberals of serious legal infractions by the OMNR, along with a quantity of supporting evidence were simply handed over to that very body at the heart of the complaints which they obviously dealt with in a manner expected.

We’re sure you’ll take the appropriate measures to ensure these allegations are properly investigated by those with the legal qualifications. This is a matter outside your capacity to deal with on a personal level and because of the extent of the claims along with the substantial supporting evidence a complete independent investigation is the only available option. As you’re fully and personally aware from past complaints this is only the tip of the ice berg, that an investigation will uncover much more.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) that’s presently under your area of responsibility has admitted that they do allow employees to acquire public lands for commercial use. After being confronted by the Ombudsman with proof of the two examples provided, the OMNR acknowledged that both employees were actually on file, having been approved by the Deputy Minister themselves.

The Ministry defense is very simple, their approval is based on an internal directive that says the “right, title or interest” clause from the Public Lands Act sec 39 means only the acquisition of an estate and does not apply to licences of occupation such as land use permits, which very conveniently are the very methods of leasing land for commercial use. This internal directive appears to be the policy entitled “Disposition of Crown Land to Ministry Employees” which has some glaring discrepancies with all other related Ministry policies and Acts, leaving suspicions of its integrity.

Michael Gravelle’s Jan 9th 2013 letter reiterated the Ministry’s position and thus “Liberal Government” support for this activity with the following statement, saying… “However, a Lieutenant Governor in Council approval is not required for interests less than estates, such as land use permits and licences of occupation, since these authorizations grant permission to conduct a specific activity and do not grant an “interest” in Crown land. 2

 

Public Lands Act: is very clear in preventing all acquisition of public lands by OMNR employees unless for private use only and limited to a process open to the public and fair for all.

  • · 39. (1) No person holding an office in or under the Ministry and no person employed in or under the Ministry shall, directly or indirectly, purchase any right, title or interest in any public lands either in the person’s own name or by the interposition of any other person or in the name of any other person in trust for the person without the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.43, s. 39 (1).
  • · Exception(2) Subsection (1) does not apply when a purchase is made of a right, title or interest in public lands for private use at a public auction or when the purchase is made for private use and the purchaser is selected by public draw. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.43, s. 39 (2).

 

PLA s.39. (2) In making an exception, limiting acquisition to “private” use only, reinforces the use of “right, title or interest” to include all disposition, in particular lands used for commercial purposes. The lawmakers made their objective clear with this clause; obviously they did not intend OMNR staff to have private financial interests in our public lands that may conflict with their duties. The intent of PLA 39. (2) is carried thru to the following Act which is very explicit and defining.

Public Services of Ontario Act: Ontario Regulation 381/07

The conflict of interest provisions in this particular Act were established to prevent employees from having private interests that may interfere with their ability to carry out their duties to the Crown. Ministry employees oversee the disposition of public lands for both private use and licences of operation for commercial purposes from trapping to outfitting thus making this case much more serious. Examples prove employees not only had an interest that could interfere with their duty to act in the best interest of the public but we’ve a case of where influence and inside capabilities contributed to the initial acquisition of public lands for that end purpose.

Consequences of this Ministry supported potential and involvement may have contributed to the following ten points which all appear to be in violation of the Act that’s provided below.

(1) The OMNR met behind closed doors with select members of remote-based outfitting where they formed a coalition called “Tourism Guidelines Working Group” which was responsible for the creation of the manual “Management Guidelines for Forestry and Resource-Based Tourism” to promote the interests of a sector of the outfitting industry that Ministry employees had the potential for an interest in. MNR staff used their expertise in the form of TIPs with tactics on how to tear up publicly owned and funded roads & bridges to deter legal public access all in violation to PLA s.3, even offering land use permits to outfitters for strategic points on roads so they could control public access themselves. Although discreetly created, this manual was intended as an official document to influence all future negotiations involving our public lands such as FMPs, CLUAH and LCC negotiations.

3(2) The OMNR funds NOTO, a decision now perceived to be a conflict of interest

 (3) The MNR initiated the Wawa CLUAH project for the sole purpose of creating an artificial remoteness beneficial to the financial interests of outfitters who could double or triple their fees for that uniqueness by catering to the affluent.

(4) Unbeknownst to other CLUAH/LCC members, the MNR had been conspiring behind their backs and the public’s alike to create policy beneficial to the one group. In doing so the Ministry showed a distinct bias that may have had further implications of being self serving in that staff is allowed to have an interest in this business themselves.

 (5) The Wawa MNR sent staff to the private off season residences of outfitters to discuss public access concerns; this was done in a secretive manner unknown to both the public and other CLUAH members. As a result it’s unknown as to the extent of these secretive meetings but it does show poor judgement on the part of those representing the public.

 (6) The Wawa District MNR appointed a disproportionate number of members from the remote sector of outfitting to sit as voting members on the CLUAH committee, while only appointing one from each of the other secondary stakeholders they’d appointed five from this group they appear allied with and turned down several applications from the drive-to sector whose businesses were hurting because of controversial MNR decisions..

(7) The Wawa MNR failed to respond to a month long series of complaints concerning a former employee and truck loads of bear hunting clients using a road closed to the public vehicular use. The MNR having issued this allocation even though it was only accessible by this road must be held accountable as they had to be were prepared to turn a blind eye.

(8) A member of the public west of Sudbury region inquires about a bear hunting business becoming available is told not bother applying, it was being saved for a CO on his retirement. Indeed that’s where it went.

(9) The advertisement for an outfitter west of Lake Superior whose business relies on the use of public lands says his years with the MNR have prepared him well.

(10) No motorboats are permitted, except by tourist outfitters and their clients is applied to Little Missinaibi Lake, it’s bad enough on its own merit but all land use permits should be checked for any prior connection to the Ministry during this period.

 The above points appear to be in contravention of the following sections from the Public Services of Ontario Act dealing with conflict of interest.

3. (1) A public servant shall not use or attempt to use his or her employment by the Crown to directly or indirectly benefit himself or herself or his or her spouse or children.

6. (1) When performing his or her duties to the Crown, a public servant shall not give preferential treatment to any person or entity, including a person or entity in which the public servant or a member of his or her family or a friend has an interest. 4

 .8. A public servant shall not become employed by or engage in a business or undertaking outside his or her employment by the Crown in any of the following circumstances:

1. If the public servant’s private interests in connection with the employment or undertaking could conflict with his or her duties to the Crown.

 9. (1) A public servant shall not participate in decision-making by the Crown with respect to a matter that the public servant is able to influence in the course of his or her duties if the public servant could benefit from the decision.

12. (1) A public servant described in subsection 10 (1) shall not purchase, or cause another person to purchase on his or her behalf, a legal or beneficial interest in an entity that is carrying on, or proposes to carry on, an activity relating to a matter that might involve the private sector.

16. A former public servant shall not seek preferential treatment by, or privileged access to, public servants who work in a minister’s office, a ministry or a public body.

Integrity of Ministry Document, was it altered?

Research into the MNR interpretation of “right, title or interest” has turned up some suspicious results, this term that’s at odds with the PLA and all other related Ministry documents has led to further questions. The Ministry’s internal directive is actually the Policy “Disposition of Crown Lands to Ministry Employees” which lists “Right, title or interest” in its definitions with a far different interpretation than what’s universally accepted.

  • · Since this term is intended to apply to the application of Public Lands Act s.39, any definition required by the lawmakers would have appeared in that Act under the subtitle “Definitions” thereby maintaining the integrity of the Act. The lawmakers certainly wouldn’t allow the intent of the Act to be rendered useless by contrary wording from some policy capable of being altered.

 

The Tourism Act for a start proves beyond a doubt the MNR interpretation is a fallacy, these tourist establishments operate on Crown Land leases aka land use permits and receive a right to use them for the interest intended. This in itself is a damning statement about the Ministry’s attempt to isolate “right, title or Interest” from licences of occupation and land use permits for purposes appearing to be self serving.

Tourism Act : (1) Tourist establishments are classified as,

  • · tourist establishments that receive,
  • · under the Public Lands Act, a right to or an interest in public lands, as defined in that Act, for the purposes of providing sleeping accommodation for the travelling public or sleeping accommodation for the use of the public engaging in recreational activities.

 The following excerpts from related documents all contribute to debunk the Ministry defense thus fueling suspicions that the entire policy be open for scrutiny. (emphasis added) 5

Application Review And Land Disposition Process PL 4.02.01:

  • ·disposition means the granting of property (e.g. freehold or leasehold title) or personal rights (e.g. land use permit) to public lands, as defined and described in this policy and it’s accompanying procedure”.
  • · 3.2 Guiding Principles …When disposing of rights to use public land (e.g. land use permits or licence of occupation), or interests in public lands (e.g. Crown lease, or sale)

 Breach of Terms and Conditions Of Crown and Ministry Documents Policy PL 2.05.03: contains two paragraphs that, together states a land use permit assigns an interest in Crown land.

  • · “Crown or Ministry document”… includes a Crown Land term easement, Crown Land Lease, Summer Resort Lease, Water Lot Lease, Provincial Park Lease, Licence of Occupation and Land Use Permit”.
  • · “consent” means the permission required from the Minister to assign an interest in a Crown or Ministry document

 Post Disposition Compliance Monitoring: PL 9.01.02

  • · “disposition means the granting by the MNR of certain or all rights to Crown resources through such means as permits, licences, approvals, permissions, consents, leases, licences of occupation, or sale.

 Crown Land Rental Policy:

  • · “Fee” means the annual payment required for a personal right to use public land under the occupational authority of a licence of occupation or a land use permit.

 2.0 Introduction

“Under the authority of the Public Lands Act, MNR is responsible for the management of Ontario’s public lands. This important stewardship role includes the disposition of rights to use and occupy public lands”.

Crown Land Tenure: from this document they say…

  • · rights granted by a Land Use Permit are not transferable and there is no right of renewal

 Crown Land Act

  • · “grant”, when used as a verb, means the transfer of an interest in Crown lands and, when used as a noun, means the initial transfer of Crown lands from the Crown to a person;
  • · 16 (1) with the approval of the Governor in Council, the Minister may

 

issue a grant, deed, lease, licence or other conveyance for the disposition of Crown lands or any interest in Crown lands

Public Lands Act:

  • · 20. (1) The Minister may issue under his or her hand and seal a licence of occupation to any person who has purchased, or is permitted to occupy, or is entrusted with the care or protection of any public lands or who has received or been located on any public lands as a free grant. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.43, s. 20 (1).
  • · (3) The licence of occupation is proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, of the right to possession by such person and the person’s assigns of the land, but has no force against a licence to cut pine trees existing at the time of its issue…

6 Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act

Interest means…

  • · in relation to land in any province other than Quebec, any estate, right, title or interest in or to the land, and includes an easement, a servitude and a lease.

 The Proprietary Unit is the set legal rights and interests which attach to the land parcel. These articulate the relationships between people and the land. Property rights are created by positive law in all societies, irrespective of the political philosophy applied in a jurisdiction. The law can be used to take, allocate and reallocate titles to land. A legal right is conferred and protected by the law, entitling one person to claim that another person or persons either give him/her something or do an act for him/her or refrain from doing an act.

This debunks the Ministry explanation but more importantly it raises a great deal of speculation that their interpretation which wasn’t derived from some known source was created out of necessity to defend certain activities. This encouraged a further look into the complete policy on “Disposition of Crown Lands to Ministry Employees” and to no surprise we discover more intriguing items.

Under 3.5(a) of this policy under the subtitle “exceptions” …

An employee obtains a right, title or interest in public lands by will or inheritance. In this case there is no “purchase” of the right, title or interest, the employee is simply owning the right, title or interest of the deceased previous owner”.

If this land has a commercial interest attached that may interfere with the employee’s ability to carry out their duty to the Crown, the employee would be in violation of PSOA s.8 (1). Where was the clause to protect the best interest of the public?

3.5 (b) A special exemption for the spouse of an employee, contrary to PLA s.39 and PSOA According to this policy the spouse simply has to add this statement to their application.

I make this application on my own behalf. I am neither interposing for an employee (or officer) of the Ministry of Natural Resources, nor intend to hold the subject lands in trust for an employee (or officer) of the Ministry.”

Two problems associated with this maneuver which again appears self serving and incompetently done is

(1) No one else can waive an employee’s obligations under the Act, the spouse can’t make it disappear with a note, the employee would still be caught in a precarious situation.

(2) The lawmakers already have a clause for exceptions under PLA s.39 (2). To preserve the integrity of the intent of the Act this is where an exception for a spouse would be if they deemed it necessary, the intent of the Act can’t be altered outside the legislative process, like this.

 Micheal Gravelle in his letter suspiciously includes this statement,” I would also like to note that for any public lands being disposed of on a first-come, first-served basis (without first having been offered to the public), an MNR employee’s application shall not be accepted until one year has passed from the time those lands were advertised as being available to the public”. 7

 This is another area of concern that may be detrimental to the best interests of the public whereby Ministry staff appear to have the ability to obtain public lands thru an internal process, simply by applying for lands banked for a specific time period.

Policy “Application Review and Land Disposition Process” PL 4.02.01 under 4.1.1 First Come, First Served states…Disposition may be made on a first come, first served basis where:

  • · supply of like sites in close proximity is thought to exceed demand;
  • · b) the number of sites to be disposed of is fewer than five and each site or similar sites have been previously offered, but not taken up, in another type of previous public offering (e.g. auction, tender or draw, within the preceding five years;

 If Ministry staff have the opportunity as provided them under the Public Lands Act s.39 to apply for lands for personal use and the supply exceeds the demand in this case, why are lands banked for internal employee acquisition… regardless of waiting periods? This is extremely suspicious.

The Public Lands Act itself limits Ministry employees only to the acquisition of public lands on an equal basis with members of the public after a suitable amount of public advertising, as it should be. According to this policy the MNR has created an opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of where certain lands can be dispersed to Ministry staff after a prescribed waiting period without public knowledge. This lends itself to becoming a dangerous tool in the wrong hands whereby creative measures could somehow be taken to bank public lands as though they’d seemingly been offered to the public. The Public Lands Act does not allow for internal advantages as such and the public has a legal right knowing the full extent of this practice, who has obtained public lands and for what purpose?

The OMNR has been unapologetically violating Public Lands Act s.3 for years so it’s not surprising to find such fiasco here. PLA s.3 as described by Shoreline Reservations for Recreation and Access – Section 3 PLA …”the intent of this legislation is to provide for adequate sustained access and recreational opportunities for present and future generations of Ontarians”. It goes on to say under 3.2, Guiding Principles …

  • · Disposition is not to occur if it will conflict with shoreline frontages set apart for recreation and access purposes, in accordance with this policy, under section 3 of the Public Lands Act”.

 The Ministry however has chosen to ignore this Act with their own documentation as proof. From the Magpie Forest Management Plan the Ministry states “to protect the interests of the remote resource-based tourism operators, roads that potentially create access to a designated remote lake have access restricted”.

The Ministry has not only violated the Public Lands Act but again we see a bias towards this industry by the OMNR. A letter from a Ministry spokesperson about this concern said the Act can’t over ride their local objectives;

  • ·Therefore Section 3 does not apply to such situations as it is not intended to override our objectives to protect and ensure a viable nature-base tourism industry here in northern Ontario. I hope this clarifies this piece of legislation”.

8This is representative of a very serious legal matter that has had repercussions right across Ontario, affecting every citizen who all collectively own these lands and resources.

The Ministry in its manual “Management Guidelines for Forestry and Resource-Based Tourism offers TIPs to prevent legal public access to so-called tourism lakes “to protect remote tourism values” then on page 18 makes this statement to intentionally mislead the public

  • ·Education and communication efforts to explain that

the purpose of the access control is to protect natural resources can assist with achieving public acceptance”.

This is a prime example of how brazen some staff have become with their lack of respect for the public, their rights and Ontario Statutes. It assists in understanding that problems mentioned here are not isolated cases and that the problem is much more deeply rooted.

Mr. Orazietti, with this letter, you and other officials of the governing Liberal Party of Ontario, including the Premier, have been sufficiently made aware of the above-mentioned possible breaches of legislation, human rights and Ontario statutes, this in turn imposes a responsibility that remedial action will be taken.

Sincerely,

Tom Brason

References:

Public Lands Act:

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90p43_e.htm

Tourism Act:

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/revokedregs/english/elaws_rev_regs_901037_e.htm

Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act:

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/F-8.4/page-1.html

Public Services of Ontario Act:

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_070381_e.htm

Disposition of Crown land to a Ministry Employee:

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@crownland/documents/document/mnr_e000095.pdf

Recreation Campsite Management.

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@crownland/documents/document/mnr_e000100.pdf

Breach of Terms and Conditions Of Crown and Ministry Documents : Policy PL 2.05.03

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@crownland/documents/document/mnr_e000083.pdf 9

 Application Review and Land Disposition Process: PL 04.02.01 http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@crownland/documents/document/255939.pdf

Post Disposition Compliance Monitoring: PL 9.01.02

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@crownland/documents/document/mnr_e000111.pdf

CONSENT TO ASSIGN, TRANSFER, MORTGAGE OR CHARGE CROWN OR MINISTRY DOCUMENTS: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@crownland/documents/document/mnr_e000094.pdf

Shorelines Reservations for Recreation and Access: PL 03.02.01 http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@crownland/documents/document/mnr_e000084.pdf

Crown Land Tenure: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/CrownLand/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_176761.html

Management Guidelines for Forestry and Resource-Based Tourism:

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@forests/documents/document/stel02_179112.pdf

Management Guidelines for Forestry and Resource-Based Tourism (Review): (showing enforcement)

http://noto.ca/fm/NOTO%20Conference%20Presentations%202011/Management%20Guidelines%20for%20Forestry%20and%20Resource%20Based%20Tourism%20-%20Stephen%20Harvey.pdf

Outpost Camps on Crown Land, Type of Tenure:

http://noto.ca/theoutfitterarchives/outposts_crown_land_lup_or_lease

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Ombudsman

 

You also complained that some MNR employees own, or have interests in, tourism related businesses. You believe that this is a conflict of interest (COl) as the employees are able to implement policies from which they may benefit.

When we asked you for specifics about this complaint, you provided information about a former MNR  employee who you understood to be operating a bear hunt from his Bear Management Area. You provided our office with a copy of an August 17,2001 letter which was written by a tourist operator to two MNR  employees, one of whom was the individual who was running the bear hunt. The letter indicates that the two MI\TR employees had met with the tourist operators to discuss the construction of a new tertiary road specifically for public use. You believe that the letter proves that this individual was involved  in decisions concerning road closures and therefore would be in a COl situation,

You maintain that this individual would have had a potential advantage in getting 1’v1NR to dose roads located near his business. You also provided our office with information about another MxR employee who currently operates an outfitters store selling hunting and fishing supplies and who also has outpost camps on Crown land. You claimed this person would have an advantage ingetting advance notice of any camps that might be for saJe and available to be allocated and would also have a potential advantage in getting ivtNR to close roads leading to or near his business.

 When we raised this issue with the Ministry, wc were advised that it is bound byRegulation 381/07 of the Public Service Act and by the Conflict of Interest and PostService Directive, which was issued by the Corporate Policy Branch of Management Board Secretariat on September 9,2000. The Directive sets out what actions are permissible for a current or former public servant to engage in. TIle employee who think she or she may be in an actual or potential conflict has a duty to notify  his or her designated official for a decision. ‘MNR has developed a Conflict of Interest Declaration Fann which is to be completed by all staff requesting a conflict of interest ruling from the Deputy Minister,We made inquiries with the Ministry about this issue and determined that bothindividuals had made the required declarations to the Deputy Minister’s office and hadreceived decisions which indicated that no conflict existed. If you believe an MNR employee might be in a conflict of interest situation, you can contact the Ministry. It could conduct a review to determine if the situation is one whichconstitutes a possible conflict and if the person declared a possible conflict. Although theMinistry might not provide you with specific information about the situation due to privacy concerns, you would be informed if the matter had been reviewed.You allege that section 39 of the Public Lands ACl does not allow an MNR employee to have any interest in, or involvement with, Crown land. Section 39( I) states:No person holding an office in or under the Ministry and no person employed in or under the Ministry shall, directly or indirectly, purchase any right, title or interest in any public lands either in the person’s 0″”” name or by the interposition of any other person or in the name of any other person in trust I or the person without the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.obtained a copy of the Ministry Directive pertaining to the interpretation of the above section. The Directive states that “right, title or interest in public land” means the acquisition of an estate and does not include interests less than estates, such as licences of occupation or land use permits. Thus, it is MNR’s interpretation that its employees are not prohibited from holding certain types of tenure on Crown land.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • bonnie devine June 17, 2014, 12:22 pm

    Hello, I am a new member of Ontora and was wondering if our organization has been given legal advice? Do we have a Lawyer working on our behalf? I live in zone 28 where the moose tags have been reduced from 457 to 30. Is our group insisting on a new count as the MNR regulations state that if count is done after Jan. 31 the moose is reduced also if there is more than 28 inches of snow in our bush (this year we had over 6 feet) the moose are under the bows of the trees.

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