WCS Canada’s

Northern Ontario Resource Hub

Northern wildlife, vast forests and peatlands, and free-flowing rivers are important for people and the planet

We share resources to support proactive, informed decision-making that respects the rights of Indigenous Peoples


What is the problem?

Northern Ontario has become synonymous with rich mineral deposits and untapped industrial promise. Governments and industry are pushing to develop northern Ontario, especially a remote area that mining companies have called the Ring of Fire. But this area is so much more. We need proactive planning and informed decision-making that takes into account all of the risks and benefits for communities, the environment, and the economy, to make sure that we achieve positive futures for people and the planet. 

we need governance systems that respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples 

Who is impacted?

Indigenous Peoples have been here since time immemorial and retain deep connections to the lands and water. Indigenous Peoples have the right to self-determination, and to be able to provide free, prior, and informed consent for all new development in their Homelands. 


Why is it important?

The northern half of Ontario is a remote area covered by dense boreal forest in the south and vast peatlands in the north, bound together by thousands of freshwater lakes and some of the world’s longest remaining free-flowing rivers. The peatlands are globally important for carbon storage and climate regulation, and are playing a vital role in fighting climate change. The myriad of connected habitats are home to thousands of wildlife species, from migratory songbirds, to woodland caribou, to endangered and ancient lake sturgeon. These lands and waters have supported Indigenous Peoples for millennia and form the basis of inherent and Treaty Rights. These values and rights need to be at the forefront of all conversations about resource extraction and infrastructure development.

More than minerals

This area is so much more than minerals. We can’t afford to push through mines with unproven potential in globally important areas for biodiversity and carbon storage.


Explore what’s being forgotten


The lands and waters are home to Indigenous Peoples, and have been for millennia. Indigenous Peoples have the right to self-determination and to make informed decisions about any new developments.  

Animals & Plants

Some of the last thriving populations of iconic northern species live in the mosaic of boreal forests, peatlands, and waterways, and are critical to the culture and traditions of Indigenous Peoples.


This area is the heart of the largest intact forest in the world. Some of the last remaining undammed rivers flow through vast peatlands that are globally important for storing carbon and cooling the planet.


The climate is changing, with extreme weather events like wildfires and flooding becoming more frequent and intense. We need to protect the peatlands that are slowing down these climate changes.

Minerals & Money

For decades, the economy has been driven by resource extraction, almost exclusively to the benefit of settler communities in the south. We need a better path forward.

Regional Planning

To achieve a positive future for people and planet, we need to come together, with proactive planning, informed decision-making, and governance systems that respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Toolkits and Resources

We share knowledge and resources so that you can stay informed and be part of proactive solutions.

Ontario Mineral Tracker

Learn where new mineral exploration is being proposed, and what you can do to oppose unwanted mining activity. 

Spread awareness

Help us spread the word about these amazing places – and about how we can all benefit from evidence-based decision-making that respects free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.

Support our work

WCS Canada has been working for two decades to support the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems in partnership with Indigenous communities.

How we work

We’re committed to supporting Indigenous People’s right to self-determination and to Indigenous-led conservation

At this critical moment in our history, we need smart and judicious decision-making, in genuine partnership with Indigenous Peoples, founded on Indigenous Knowledge and the latest science, in order to ensure that decisions lead to a positive future for everyone living, working, and benefiting from this landscape.

We work to better understand the health of the ecosystems and the impacts of development

The expanse of northern Ontario holds vital significance for global biodiversity and in the fight against climate change. Unrestrained industrial activity could imperil this balance. As climate change-related incidents like wildfires and drought intensify, we can’t afford to ignore these compounded impacts.

Garth Lenz/The Narwhal

We engage in major conservation science projects across the region

We are deeply concerned about the rhetoric and policies we’re hearing about opening up northern Ontario, and particularly the area that mining companies are calling the Ring of Fire area, for economic development at any cost. Our longstanding stance has been the reverse — a call for diligent assessment and evidence-based decision-making that respects free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.