Second Industry Consultation Phase

Published: November 16, 2016 10:04 am EST

In advance of Ontario Racing's fifth in-person consultation regarding the proposed long-term funding proposal for the province's horse racing industry, a second phase of consultations has been announced.

A release from Ontario Racing (OR) notes that the interaction and discussion from the four sessions conducted thus far has been "both positive and overdue." To ensure the consultations reach as many of the province's participants as possible, OR will implement a second phase of consultation after releasing its preliminary report. That report will be published shortly after the final session in the first consultation phase.

Ontario Racing Encourages Industry Feedback on Long Term Funding

We have reached the halfway point of our consultation period regarding the proposed long-term funding proposal for the horse racing industry in Ontario. A warm thank you to all industry participants who have taken the time to attend these sessions in person, and to those who have submitted their feedback to us online and in writing. The interaction and discussion with industry participants in local racing communities has been both positive and overdue.

As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that we reach as many racing industry participants as possible, we will be implementing a second phase of consultation. We will be releasing a preliminary consultation report, shortly after our last in person consultation event on November 22. This preliminary report will be available for additional industry review and comment, before it is submitted to the OR Board of Directors, OLG and government, to inform the next steps in funding negotiations.

As we move towards the end of this first phase of our consultation, we encourage industry participants to join us at our next in person sessions in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 16, in Port Perry on Saturday, November 19, and in Milton on Tuesday, November 22. We also encourage industry participants to access our online feedback portal, which can be found here.

Phase two of this consultation will begin when the preliminary consultation report has been composed; this will be shared through our mailing list, posted online, and discussed directly with all industry association groups. We will allow a further 30 days for feedback on the preliminary report, as part of our commitment to ensure that industry views and perspectives on next steps towards a sustainable racing future are well represented by Ontario Racing.

This framework, subject to government approval, will be presented to the industry for feedback. If approved, this framework will provide the industry as a whole – from owners, trainers and breeders to racetrack operators – with the certainty they need to make investments in their businesses.

OR’s primary objective, to this point, has been to engage directly with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. and the government to provide input to the development of a road map to sustainable funding for the industry. Now, OR’s focus will shift towards engagement with the industry as a whole to garner feedback on this proposed framework.

This proposed framework is based on key principles including:

  • A new racetrack alliance: all Ontario racetracks that conduct live racing will be invited to create a new alliance. It is proposed that Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) will serve as the administrator of this new alliance.

  • Longer-term, predictable funding: Ontario’s horseracing industry can invest in their businesses beyond 2021.

  • Ongoing accountability and transparency: decision-making based on evidence and agreed upon success indicators.

  • Industry leadership: racetrack business plans, race dates, purse levels will be aligned across racetracks for a coordinated approach. Ontario Racing will play a key industry leadership role in the future.

Next steps include widespread ‘in person’ conversations with the industry about these principles, across Ontario. Sessions will take place in every region of the province that has horse racing. The following consultation schedule has been updated. (dates subject to change)

  • Wednesday, November 16 - 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - Ottawa (Rideau Carleton Raceway)

  • Saturday, November 19 - 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Port Perry (Golfer's Dream Golf Club, Scugog)

  • Tuesday, November 22 - 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Milton (Gambrel Barn, Country Heritage Park)

The four previous sessions transpired in Toronto, Dundas, Sarnia and London.

Ontario Racing encourages all interested parties to submit their feedback about the future of the industry by accessing its online consultation portal here. The portal includes a series of questions and the option to attach a word document, for those who would like to share additional thoughts. The proposed long-term funding framework was outlined in a webinar, conducted on October 19, and can be viewed here.

Ontario Racing will collate feedback from the industry, and this perspective will inform recommendations to government.

(With files from Ontario Racing)