Parks Canada recognizes the importance of wild rice to the First Nations peoples for food, ceremonial and spiritual and medicinal purposes, and to wildlife as a valuable food resource.
On July 24, 2015, Parks Canada issued a one-time permit to allow for the limited removal of aquatic vegetation to provide local residents of Pigeon Lake with the ability to safely navigate from the shoreline to the main channel in Pigeon Lake.
Parks Canada has a duty to consult with the Williams Treaties First Nations regarding activities impacting wild rice beds on the Trent-Severn Waterway. However, this did not occur in this situation. Parks Canada immediately obtained the cooperation of the permit holder to cease the removal of the wild rice.
On August 28, 2015, Parks Canada officials met with representatives of the Williams Treaty First Nations to discuss the permit that was issued to local residents on Pigeon Lake, Trent-Severn Waterway to remove aquatic vegetation, specifically wild rice. Initial discussions were productive and the parties will begin formal consultations. The first steps are the immediate cancellation of the aquatic vegetation removal permit and the creation of a working group.
Parks Canada is committed to working with the Williams Treaties First Nations to ensure that appropriate consultations occur regarding the issuance of permits regarding wild rice.