ABM Indigenous: Ontario North

June 10 to 12, 2019
Robinson-Superior Treaty and Fort William First Nation Territory, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Valhalla Inn

We are excited to partner with the newly formed Anishnawbe Business Professional Association (ABPA). For years now we have contemplated an event in Northern Ontario but needed to a strong regional partner to make it happen. When ABPA approached us in early April 2019 to produce an ABM in Thunder Bay in June 2019, we decided that together we could.

The ABPA’s goal is to contribute to the socio-economic well-being and quality of life of First Nations peoples in Northern Ontario. That is something we can get behind and so here we go …

The focus of ABM Indigenous: Ontario North is to

  • offer an economic development network for Indigenous communities in the region to move their business goals forward based on their priorities, no matter what stage of economic development they are at;
  • provide a hyper-productive forum for Indigenous and non-Indigenous SMEs to find partners to sharpen competitive edges, improve products and services and capacity to benefit from procurement opportunities; and
  • engage industry to increase participation by Indigenous businesses in the supply chain for existing or planned projects.

““ABPA’s mission is to enhance opportunities for Anishnawbe Business in Northern Ontario through advocacy, education, leadership, and strategic relationships.

ABM is the first initiative spearheaded by the ABPA to connect businesses and communities in the region to build respectful and rewarding relationships that lead to mutually beneficial agreements and arrangements. We encourage all communities, especially those at the beginning of their economic and business development journey, to participate in showcasing the economic power of Indigenous people in our region. We call on all non-Indigenous businesses that have, or want to have, a synergistic relationship with Indigenous business and community leadership in our territory. The common objective is to create viable equitable opportunities for Indigenous business and communities.

Join the ABPA at ABM to help us achieve our vision of Anishnawbe business success and we will work symbiotically in achieving your business goals.” – Jason Rasevych, President, ABPA

Start your registration here.

For detailed registration fees, click here.

Projects in Northern Ontario

  1. Watay Power ($1.6 Billion Transmission Line): On April 2, 2019 – The Ontario Energy Board has approved Wataynikaneyap Power LP (Watay Power)’s leave to construction application to proceed with the massive northwestern Ontario power line project. The $1.6-billion project involves stringing 1,800 kilometres of power lines to connect 17 remote First Nation communities, north of Pickle Lake and Red Lake, to Ontario’s power grid for the first time.  Wataynikaneyap is a licensed transmission company owned by 22 First Nations communities. It’s involved in a 51/49 per cent partnership with Fortis Ontario, a subsidiary of Fortis, a St. John’s NL electric and gas utility company with assets across North America.
  2. Supercom ($777 Million Transmission Line) On January 30, 2019, NextBridge Infrastructure LP was awarded the construction of the East-West Tie (EWT) by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). The Leave to Construct (LTC) approval allows NextBridge to proceed with Valard immediately with the construction of a new transmission line.  Supercom will ensure maximum employment and economic benefits for the six proximate First Nations from the East West Tie. Opportunities include the procurement of materials, services and labour from First Nations. The proposed East-West Tie (EWT) project involves the construction of a new transmission line between Wawa and Shuniah, near Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. The line will cross through or pass by numerous municipalities and First Nations along the north shore. The transmission project will provide a more reliable electricity supply and support future economic development activities in the region. Industrial activities in Northwestern Ontario, particularly in the mining sector, will demand improved electricity supply in the coming years. Supercom Industries LP (Supercom) is a 100% First Nation owned business. We are a unique partnership of six First Nations – Fort William First Nation, Red Rock Indian Band, Pays Plat First Nation, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, Pic Mobert First Nation and Michipicoten First Nation – and Supercom Industries Ltd; the general partner corporation owned by the same six First Nations. Each First Nation is located along the north shore of Lake Superior in Northwestern Ontario and has its own governance, territory and culture. The traditional territories of our six First Nations are inherently connected to the natural resources of the north shore. Today, our collective territories are the route of the East West Tie Transmission Project – one of Ontario’s highest priority transmission lines linking Thunder Bay to Wawa.
  3. Mining in Northwestern Ontario: Last November, the  Thunder Bay CEDC hosted an event featuring a presentation by Greenstone Gold of its Hardrock open-pit mine development, near Geraldton, that drew 250 spectators from the city’s industrial supply community. The turnout and the degree of interest only reinforces that Thunder Bay has come a long way in becoming a major service and supply hub, and workforce provider for the mining industry.  Close to 500 Thunder Bay companies are either directly involved in the industry or devote a portion of their business to it. Northwestern Ontario offers a diverse range of mineral potential, but gold remains its backbone. The 1.5 million ounces produced in 2017 represent 20 per cent of Canada’s total output in the precious metal, a figure that should only increase. The prospects for new gold mines look promising, with Pure Gold in Red Lake, Treasury Metals in Dryden, and Greenstone Gold in Geraldton all close to reaching their respective permitting finish lines over the next three years. The supply chains for these mines are enormous. Of the $60 million spent by Goldcorp on supplies for its remote Musselwhite Mine in 2017, $45 million of that was spread out among 390 Thunder Bay companies. It’s an economy unto itself.  During his tenure, the CEDC has posted an online mining supply directory, often stages company presentations, and in 2012 prepared a mining readiness plan, spurred by the excitement of the Ring of Fire. The comprehensive strategy provided a checklist of the city’s and northwestern Ontario’s infrastructural strengths and weaknesses in transportation, electricity, business development, Indigenous partnerships, workforce, available land and housing supply, and potential research and development opportunities.
  4. Ring of Fire $60 Billion Mining Deposit (James Bay Lowlands): Provincial cabinet minister Greg Rickford offered a stay-tuned response to the government’s plans to advance the construction of an access corridor to the Ring of Fire. The minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Indigenous Affairs reaffirmed the Ford government’s commitment to opening up the mineral deposits in the remote James Bay region. In his Jan. 23 remarks at the Procurement, Employment, Partnerships Conference in Sudbury, Rickford referred to the James Bay mineral belt as a “region of prosperity” that’s been “complicated and overburdened with bureaucracy.” As a former board member of Noront Resources, Rickford said with $20 million already invested in the region, funding was released for a road study and environmental assessment of the first leg of a north-south access corridor up as far as Marten Falls First Nations, about 100 kilometres short of the mineral deposits. Rickford talked about forming a “coalition” of willing partners among First Nation communities and municipalities who support the construction of an access road as a “practical and pragmatic exercise” that will create jobs, generate revenue, incentivize business, and connect isolated Northern reserves. In an interview, Rickford defined that coalition as those communities that want to lead the environmental assessment processes and view the access road as a “corridor of prosperity” that will allow new infrastructure and business opportunities into the region if the mines go into development. He praised Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations, which have shown “extraordinary leadership” in leading the environmental assessment for the proposed roads.
  5. East -West Ring of Fire Road – Pickle Lake to Webequie: The first step in a provincial environmental assessment (EA) of a supply road to the Ring of Fire is underway. Webequie First Nation, the community closest to the Far North mineral deposits, has initiated the EA study of a permanent road running from Webequie’s airport to the fly-in exploration camps near McFaulds Lake in the James Bay lowlands. The length of the proposed road is 107 kilometres. According to a document posted Jan. 25 on a community road project web page, the EA’s terms of reference (ToR) are being prepared, which basically outlines the framework and the work plan for the study. The ToR will be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for review this spring.  The actual environmental assessment, slated to start this year, is a three-year process. Since September 2017, Webequie, as the road proponent, is tasked with selecting the route and doing all the consultation with the community, trappers, harvesters, and other land users. SNC-Lavalin has been hired to provide the community with environmental and engineering support.
  6. Ring of Fire North-South Road – Aroland to Marten Falls (Estimated $500 million) : ECOM has been selected by Marten Falls First Nation to conduct the road study and environmental assessment (EA) for a transportation corridor that will eventually lead to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits The global engineering giant will work with the remote James Bay region community to complete the provincial EA and do the preliminary design for a proposed permanent access road. In a Nov. 22 news release from the community, Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and council expressed confidence that teaming up with AECOM “will deliver good outcomes for the community and the region.” Marten Falls is a community with a registered population of 720, located on the Albany River, about 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and about 100 kilometres southeast of the Ring of Fire. Those Indigenous communities deemed ready for mining development have been handed the responsibility of building, planning and operating these corridors, and have agreed to follow the environmental assessment process on how these roads could impact the environment. The Marten Falls road would be the first of a two-phase construction project to build a north-south corridor into the isolated chromite and base metal deposits. The first leg would connect the remote community to the provincial highway system in the Aroland-Nakina area, at the north end of the Painter Lake forestry road. A second phase will involve a crossing of the Albany River to create a corridor to the future mining camp. This right-of-way is widely believed to be the path for a future ore-haul railway for Noront Resources to send chromite off for processing.
  7. Greenstone Gold (capital cost $1.25 billion) : On March 28, 2019 – Centerra Gold Inc. (“Centerra”) (TSX: CG) and Premier Gold Mines Limited (“Premier”) (TSX: PG) announced that the provincial Environmental Assessment (“EA”) for Greenstone Gold Mines (“GGM”) Hardrock Project (the “Project”) was approved on March 26, 2019 by the Minister of Environment, Conservation & Parks of Ontario with concurrence from Cabinet.  The Federal EA was approved on December 13, 2018 by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada.  GGM is a 50/50 joint venture between Centerra and Premier for the joint ownership and development of the Hardrock Project. he main objective of the 2019 workplan is to continue the process of developing and de-risking the Project, with C$54 million planned to be invested to: advance permitting including construction permit applications; progress detailed engineering; complete an additional 18,000 metres of drilling, targeting areas that are planned to be mined in the first five years of operations, and update Reserves & Resources; and, incorporate the results of the optimization work that was completed in 2017 and 2018, and update the Project economics.

Important Dates

Super Early Bird Rate: Expires April 26, 2019.
Early Bird: Expires May 17, 2019.
Payment Due Date: May 31, 2019.

Please note the payment due date is not a registration deadline. On the day of the payment deadline, we remove all inactive or unpaid accounts from the event.  Provided your application is approved, we will accept new registrations into the show as long as we have space. Payment and active business matching is required immediately.

For detailed registration fees, click here.

Membership and Sponsorship of ABPA

In partnership with ABPA, we are planning to return to Thunder Bay annually. We are therefore invested in ABPA’s success and they are in ours.

For ABPA to pursue their mandate. they need to increase memberships and raise sponsorship funds. ABPA will offer sponsorships for this event. Revenues are not shared with ABM and sponsorships are not applicable to any other ABM event.

All ABM Partners will be featured along with ABPA’s sponsors at ABM Indigenous: Ontario North.

You are also be able to add an ABPA membership during the registration process. Members receive 10% off their primary delegate fee.

For sponsorship inquiries for this event, please contact Jason Rasevych, Director with ABPA, at jrasevych@gmail.com.


The conference rate of $124 will expire on May 17, 2019 after which time rooms are available at the best available rate.

Group Code: 190609-ABPA

Valhalla Inn

1 Valhalla Inn Rd, Thunder Bay, ON


If you have attended ABM In the past, your profile is in the system. All you need is your email and password. There is a password reset feature if you do not recall it. Once you are in your account, you can simply chose the event you want to register for.

If you are new to ABM, sign up for an account, chose your event and complete your application. The information entered into your online application becomes your business matching profile. The system retains all information you enter so if you cannot finish it in one go, your information will still be there when you log back in.

Approval Process

First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities are automatically approved.

Companies are vetted. It is understood and respected that companies will attend with the goal to sell goods and services to Indigenous communities. However, preference is given to those companies that provide business opportunities extending beyond a “simple” customer/supplier relationship including procurement, training, employment and partnerships.

Start your registration here

We are here to answer questions and help. 1-604-483-3532 or info@ravenevents.ca

Even if technology is not your thing, we will work with you to make your attendance at ABM productive and successful.