On December 2, 2015, Bill 155, the Mining Amendment Act, 2015 (the “Bill 155”) was introduced in the Ontario legislature for 1st Reading. Bill 155 proposes various housekeeping amendments to the current Mining Act, R.S.O. 1990, but most significantly proposes a new electronic mining lands administration system in Ontario, including an online registration system for mining claims. For readers interested in what a consolidated Mining Act would look like following the changes proposed by Bill 155, we have prepared a blackline comparison. As stated clearly in the blackline version, it is not an official version. It should not be relied upon and was prepared in order for readers to conveniently view the proposed Bill 155 amendments in the context of the current Mining Act.

New On-line Recording. The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (“MNDM”) must be commended for proposing to implement an online “map staking” system in Ontario, similar to those in many other jurisdictions, including other Canadian provinces, whereby ground staking of mining claims will no longer apply. However, Ontario’s proposed transition mechanism differs from those of British Columbia and Quebec, where the existing claim fabric (defined as “legacy claims”) could co-exist with the new on-line registered mining claims (defined as “cell claims”) at the time of implementation (conversion from legacy claims to cell claims was voluntary). Under Bill 155, conversion of legacy claims to cell claims (or in some instances, boundary claims as discussed below) will be mandatory, raising concerns of adverse consequences to claimholders who fail to act diligently in advance of mandatory conversion.

The Delineation Process: Existing Claim Posts No Longer Relevant. Bill 155 proposes a transition process whereby claim corners and boundaries will no longer be defined by ground posts but will, in future, be defined by UTM (universal transverse mercator) co-ordinates. According to proposed s.38.1, for the purpose of delineating a legacy claim on the provincial grid, the provincial mining recorder (the “recorder”) shall use the information filed with the application to record the legacy claim as well as information gathered by means of inspections, Global Positioning System (“GPS”) geo-referencing data, surveys or other means of verifying claim boundaries.

The recorder will have authority (ss.38.1(2)-(4)) to delineate claim boundaries, settle disputes between overlapping boundaries and make necessary adjustments. Pursuant to proposed s.38.1(5), from the date it is delineated by the recorder on the provincial grid until it is converted to a cell or boundary claim, a legacy claim applies with respect to the land included in the delineated area on the provincial grid, regardless of where the claim was actually located. Lastly, although most decisions of a recorder are appealable to the Mining and Lands Commissioner, a delineation decision made by a recorder will not be appealable.

Individuals knowledgeable with GPS equipment have already made the point that the GPS system MNDM has been recommending for general use may not be sufficiently accurate. Any claimholder concerned about the exact location of its legacy claims may wish to consider a higher level of GPS definition, or even a survey (especially in areas where a discovery has been made on its property).

Source: Fasken Martineau - see full article