QUEENS PARK – Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP and PC Critic for Northern Development and Mines Norm Miller today asked the Deputy Premier what the Wynne government is doing to ensure companies that receive funds from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund stay in Northern Ontario.
It has recently been reported that US-based Rentech has put its Atikokan wood pellet plant up for sale. The company closed its Wawa pellet plant earlier this year. These two events come just two years after the company received $4 million from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to support converting closed saw mills to pellet plants.
Miller asked how the government was going to make sure this company doesn’t leave Ontario without repaying the money. The Deputy Premier had the Minister of Energy respond but he did not answer the question about Rentech. Instead he talked about film projects in Northern Ontario.
“This is not the first time that the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund has invested in companies only to see them leave before their commitments were fulfilled. Earlier this year, Great Lakes Graphite left Ontario just 10 months after the government gave the company $400,000,” said Miller. “Our leader has committed to penalize companies that take advantage of government programs then leave.”
The Minister did not address the issue of companies leaving the area, instead talking about other projects that the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund has supported.