Crown land use planning processes may result in proposed changes to Crown land use designations and policies. In some situations, it is desirable to ensure that there are minimal changes during the period that the land use proposals are being considered to maintain existing values and options. This need for short-term controls on land use changes, referred to as interim protection, usually occurs where there are proposals for a Recommended Provincial Park or Recommended Conservation Reserve, or where land is being considered for transfer to another agency.

Interim protection is primarily used to temporarily prohibit land uses or activities that may limit future land use planning decisions or are incompatible with the potential long-term designation of the area(s).

In considering land uses and activities that may be permitted or prohibited in an area subject to interim protection, consideration should be given to aligning those decisions with the potential future land use designation for the area (e.g. Recommended Provincial Park) or land transfer to another agency.

MNRF administered activities that may be prohibited in the areas afforded interim protection include, but are not limited to:

  • forest harvesting
  • road construction, utility corridors and trails
  • aggregate and peat extraction
  • water and wind power development
  • land dispositions including sales, leases, licenses of occupation, and land use permits

MNRF will generally complete dispositions where there was a prior commitment made before the area was subject to interim protection. A prior commitment refers to a written undertaking by MNRF that establishes a responsibility to complete an action or transaction. Prior commitments can include the issuance, extension or renewal of tenure documents, licences or permits to existing rights holders.

MNRF may work with other ministries or government agencies to request they consider the implementation of interim protection measures in these areas for activities they administer.

A key consideration when applying interim protection is the possible requirement for mining rights withdrawals under the Mining Act. MNRF shall engage ENDM early in any land use planning process that may necessitate the application of interim protection. Requests for withdrawals of areas under the Mining Act shall be developed by MNRF in close consultation with ENDM, consistent with the mineral exploration and development guidance in Section 11. Areas potentially withdrawn under the Mining Act should be scoped from the outset and modified as required through the land use planning process until, the final land use decisions are made.

Consideration shall be given to pre-consultation with Indigenous communities, organizations, and key stakeholders with the intent of sharing information, assessing support, and identifying any potential impacts associated with advancing a proposal.

Interim protection must be in place prior to an area proposed for protection (e.g. a Recommended Provincial Park or Recommended Conservation Reserve) being subject to broad public review (e.g. release of a planning document or a proposed land use amendment). The exact stage of the planning process to apply interim protection is determined on a case-by-case basis by MNRF and other government agencies that administer approvals and activities on Crown land.

Interim protection shall apply until:

  • the land transfer to another agency has occurred and the lands are therefore no longer administered by MNRF
  • a land use decision for the area(s) in question has been approved, after which the policy associated with the respective land use designation applies

Interim protection shall be reviewed by MNRF after a period of five years from its initial application, where a final land use decision has not been made. If MNRF determines that the land use planning process or proposal will not proceed, then interim protection shall be lifted by MNRF following engagement with other ministries as required. Where interim protection is removed, land uses permitted within the area shall be those that applied prior to the application of interim protection, unless these land uses have been amended through a formal land use planning process.