Living Legacy Trust

Chair’s Message

March 31, 2004 is a significant date in the history of natural resource management in Ontario. Today, having successfully met its funding goals, the Living Legacy Trust reaches its sunset date and ceases operation.

Over the past five years, the Trust has granted approximately $31 million to projects designed to improve the management of our province's forestry and fish and wildlife resources, while leveraging an additional $50 million in partnership contributions. An important achievement of the Trust is in providing the means for competing stakeholder groups to reach consensus on decisions that affect our future. Industry, academia, environmentalists and communities came together to seek solutions that address the concerns of all interested groups.

Having funded 175 innovative projects, the Living Legacy Trust supports a wide range of improvements in natural resource access and management. The Trust has contributed to the advancement of science in forest sustainability, the development of broader skills among the forest management workforce and increased opportunity in forest employment. Other initiatives will facilitate the participation of First Nations in determining the future of forestry in the area north of the undertaking. The Trust has also funded the development of science-based guidelines and tools to promote an ecological approach to fish and wildlife management and to calibrate new technologies to measure fish abundance and productivity.

It has been a privilege to chair and serve with our volunteer Board of Directors whose diverse talents, sound judgment and unwavering commitment to the principles of the Trust resulted in the fair, responsible and constructive allocation of funds. The Trust's knowledgeable and dedicated staff worked tirelessly to ensure that the wishes of the board were carried out and in helping proponents reach their goals.

A result of our final funding decision and in compliance with the resolution of the Trust, Lakehead University will assume responsibility for the granting of remaining funds. The university will also develop and maintain a permanent repository of information and related documentation on the achievements of the Living Legacy Trust, ensuring that knowledge gained is safeguarded and that it remains accessible by the citizens of Ontario.

Michael Power

Role of the Trust

The Living Legacy Trust was established as an arms-length, $30 million fund by the Ontario Provincial Government in March 1999. Managed independently by a partnership of stakeholders, it addressed the Province's commitment to provide improved opportunities for the forest industry and to enhance fish and wildlife access and management.

Nine specific Funding Programs were established - allocating approximately $22 million to improved forestry practices and $8 million for fish and wildlife access and resource management.

Through a Trust Agreement, the Ministry of Natural Resources assigned full responsibility for administering and disbursing assets of the Trust to an independent Board of Directors. The composition of this Board reflected a range of interests.

The Living Legacy Trust had a five-year sunset date, with funding to be completed by March 2004.


The Premier of Ontario announced the creation of the Living Legacy Trust on March 29, 1999 along with other components of Ontario's Living Legacy. An innovative strategy, Ontario's Living Legacy Trust involved the largest expansion in history to Ontario's system of parks and protected areas, and included measures to improve the business climate for resource-based industries.

The Trust provided an opportunity to expand Ontario's capacity to improve the management of natural resources. It allowed the formation of strong, innovative partnerships among governments, environmentalists, communities and resource industries.

The forestry goals of the Living Legacy Trust supported the agreements reached in the Ontario Forest Accord. Approximately two-thirds of the funds were designated for improved forest management.

One-third of the funds were allocated for fish and wildlife access and resource management.

The Living Legacy Trust was a product of the Lands for Life negotiations which were significant in bringing a number of resource stakeholders together for face-to-face discussions for the first time. This process addressed a long-standing concern that the government was making important resource decisions without the direct involvement of interested partners and stakeholders. The input of groups affected by these decisions was essential to the successful implementation of the vision.

Productive, working relationships were developed between former adversaries and long-term issues were resolved collectively during the Lands for Life talks. In the view of all concerned, it was appropriate to create a model that would allow these positive relationships to flourish, giving the various partners a say in how the Trust was managed.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q. What was the Living Legacy Trust?

    A. The Living Legacy Trust was an “arms-length”, $30 million fund established by Premier Harris on March 29, 1999, as part of Ontario’s Living Legacy. Ontario’s Living Legacy was an innovative strategy that included the biggest expansion in history of Ontario’s system of parks and protected areas, while also providing measures to improve the business climate for resource-based industries.

  2. Q. Why was there a sunset date?

    A. The Trust had clear and finite objectives within the five-year timeframe. It has provided an important legacy for the province’s resource-based industries and for northern Ontario communities.

  3. Q. How were the funds managed and disbursed?

    A. Objective and transparent guidelines, application criteria and processes for applying and receiving approval were developed for each Funding Program. All applications were reviewed and approved or declined by the Board with advice from pertinent stakeholders and technical experts. Mechanisms for monitoring approved applications were part of the process.

  4. Q. What was the Ministry of Natural Resources' role in the Living Legacy Trust?

    A. The Trust was managed at arm’s length from government. Although the Ministry of Natural Resources had membership on the Board, the Ministry could not receive funds directly from the Trust.

    Ministry of Natural Resources staff played an important and valuable role by promoting and communicating information about the Trust to potential applicants and by reaching out to other organizations and community groups.

  5. Q. Did the Trust fund include private money?

    A. There were no individual or private donations to the Trust fund. However, applicants were required to invest matching funds (cash or in-kind) to qualify for funding for projects to study increased utilization of Crown timber and enhanced tree improvement science (refer to Funding Program 4). In addition, funds assigned to small rural communities to improve fish and wildlife habitat and access were matched at a ratio of two to one (refer to Funding Program 9).

  6. Q. How did the Living Legacy Trust relate to the Ontario Forest Accord?

    A. The Living Legacy Trust supported the delivery of several clauses in the Ontario Forest Accord. The Trust worked closely with the Ontario Forest Accord Advisory Board to ensure efforts were coordinated efficiently.