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As It Touts Employment, OLG Lays Off Woodbine Employees

Published: October 3, 2012 12:56 pm ET

Last Comment: October 8, 2012 10:28 am ET | 24 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

While representatives from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. are travelling across the province touting its urban casino expansion plan as a job creator to anyone that will listen, it is also in the midst of giving out pink slips to employees at its slots parlour at Woodbine Racetrack.

A report by the Toronto Sun explains that the Public Service Alliance of Canada union which represents workers in the slots parlour is very upset that the OLG is issuing layoff notices to almost 10 per cent of the staff that works within the slots parlour.

Layoff notices were issued to 33 employees on Monday, October 1, many of which had been at Woodbine since the slot parlour opened. The article states that, ironically, the OLG is planning on filling 40 positions in the coming weeks, most of which will be part time positions.

“The OLG is clearly making huge profits,” PSAC Spokeswoman Sharon DeSousa was quoted as saying. “Why would they lay off nearly 10 per cent of their workforce (at Woodbine)? You wouldn’t be giving them layoff notices ... you’d be transferring them. If you have jobs available, why are you terminating employment?”

Desousa was also quoted as saying, “Those workers feel betrayed their employer would give them such little notice, let alone any sort of heads up. We’re going to fight it. The employer will have to make a business case as to why they can’t re-hire.”

The OLG has stated that the decisions were made due to technological changes within the operation.

(With files from the Toronto Sun)

October 8, 2012 - 10:28 amIam guessing Shawn we wont

Roy Steele SAID...

Iam guessing Shawn we wont see your trailer on the Hieghway anytime soon.
You say racing is no different to any other bussiness model .... you couldnt be more wrong or right as the case maybe. When you are assured of a piece of the pie your bussiness model is based around that when that piece is eaten by someone else without fair warning then that becomes life threating. Horse racing investment is spread over a period of time .. when we bred our mares everything was fine just after they gave birth the rules changed signifantly what do we get for a long term investment not including everyday expenses with other horses in training NOTHING ZERO ZILCH anyway you want to describe it and times that a few thousand times.
When a gas plant is relocated for nothing more than political reasons huge compensation is awarded to the parties.
When the auto sector is in trouble billions of our dollars are doled out to help it townships enter into a bidding war to secure new bussiness from the auto sector I WOULD SAY THAT IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT TO WHAT YOUR ARE QUOTING. Supply and demand you say let me ask you this everyone is frightened of offshore companies coming into the country as they will undercut underpay that is not supply and demand Sean that is a race to the bottom. A fair and level playing field yes innovative ways of promoting the brand yes a little different than sitting back and letting the govt bailing you out when your in trouble..... oh the big three not even Canadian at least our money is staying in the country.

October 5, 2012 - 4:41 pmI have a friend at one of the

I have a friend at one of the OLG sites who said that they are laying off (firing)unionized employees at the current casino sites with unionized employees.

The OLG is trying to send a message to the current non-unionized employees at their sites that if they attempt to unionize prior to their casino modernization master plan being completed, we will fire you!

The Ontario Lottery Corporation is acting on behalf of their fearless leaders Dalton McGodfrey. They are currently running their casino and slot properties just like the Liberal government is running the a corrupt dictatorship.

This is also all part of the overall plan to destroy collective bargaining.

Ontario better wake up and take back their province because every day that goes by is one day closer to our Americanization.
Your children's future is in jeopardy. What are you going to do about it?

October 5, 2012 - 4:08 pmNow is the time all track

John Hill SAID...

Now is the time all track owners should form an association and tell the OLG to extend SARP or no slots on their property,we have nothing to lose, the tracks would lose only rental space fees being offer by OLG. OLG stands to lose billions and their jobs. So who is really in the drivers seat here ?

October 5, 2012 - 10:37 amObviously Shawn Murphy isn't

Obviously Shawn Murphy isn't a Breeder or has much ,if any ,serious money invested in the racing/breeding industry!! .Perhaps Shaun knew of the Govt's One year outclause to allow them to cancel SARP[am I the only one who didn't know ?] and he brilliantly avoided investing in Farms,trucks,trailers,broodmares,yearlings,Stallion shares,exercisers,farm tracks,groomers,etc etc...but hey Shawn thanks for telling me there will still be racing,I feel much better!!

October 4, 2012 - 6:17 pmJim, You are absolutely

Greg Parke SAID...


You are absolutely right, I am sure there is a deal to keep WEG going (ever wonder why COSA was created).
The big guys are more than happy to race at the small tracks and take money but what happens when a small guy goes there.
Unless this hits the papers or news chanels this will go nowhere and it will be the end of horse racing at the grass roots level.
Great analogy Greg, the rich survive the rest succumb to a slow painful death.

Greg Parke

October 4, 2012 - 1:32 pmI have just read the Annual

Paul Gangle SAID...

I have just read the Annual Financial Report of the OLG. By their own admission in the report, the so called "resort casinos" (Caesars and Niagara casinos) suffered a decrease in revenue of $45.8 million while OLG casinos and slots increased by almost $29 million. The question that comes to my mind is why does the OLG want to end the slots when they account for 31% of the total revenues of the corporation while the resort casinos are suffering a significant decrease. It is quite obvious that Mcguinty and Duncan did not pass Accounting 101 nor did they pass Business Economics. Now they want to build these so called mega casinos to lose more money..... Makes no sense.
There are some other issues that I have as well. Namely, why two head offices, one in Sault Ste. Marie and the other in Toronto. Secondly, why did the OLG, a Crown corporation, lend Caesars, a private company, almost $226 million (pg 52 of the report) on an UNSECURED loan basis with $125 million still owing? Clearly the auditor general needs to investigate the business practices of the OLG. There are many other issues as well. This report makes for some very interesting reading and all you business gurus out there should obtain one from their website. Godfrey and co. have a lot of explaing to do!!

October 4, 2012 - 11:51 amThere is no tort or cause to

Norm Brunet SAID...

There is no tort or cause to sue the government. The contract was terminated legaly, however the Industry does have cause to sue for the mispresentation that SARP was a subsidy. This would serve twofold in correcting a wrong and the publicity that would be garnered would be pricelees.
New ball game if the courts would interpret SARP for what it really is.

October 4, 2012 - 9:49 amRebecca needs to be hired to

Regina Ertel SAID...

Rebecca needs to be hired to do this. This is what is needed!!

October 4, 2012 - 9:10 amRacing will not collapse.

Shawn Murphy SAID...

Racing will not collapse. There will still be racing at many of the tracks that are currently racing, people will still be employed, breeders will still breed, bettors will still be betting.The stronger sites will survive, the weaker ones will not. This is no different than any other business model.What they are doing now is right sizing, its a reaction to supply and demand. People will have to find work if there employers downsize, again this is no different than any other business. When at a majority of the smaller tracks the purses for the night are larger than the total handle there is something wrong with the model. If you had a business and your expenses were higher than your revenues it wouldnt take long to figure out your business model has some flaws. The changes are going to hurt, the landscape will dramatically change but we will all be fine in the long run. Purses at WEG will be reduced by more than half, some top trainers will move to the States, drivers will follow and smaller tracks will close their doors. Times change, options for entertainment change, better options are out there for bettors, the racing game will adapt.
I totally agree with making a statement, if you want to make people aware of the cause, line the highways with trailers, make some noise,the fight has not been as strong as it should have been.

October 4, 2012 - 8:34 amrecbecca,,wish i was wrong

jim cauchon SAID...

recbecca,,wish i was wrong but,

the silence that is deafening is coming from the top guys in the Ontario game because theyve been told to lay low til the small guys are forced out..

associations and WEG are alive and will continue forward,though obviously purses will be be under much discussion in months ahead.

if you want to lay a trip on anyone..TIME TO CALL ON THE BIG NAMES HERE AND ASSOCIATIONS and find out whats really going on.....

OLG, Godfrey, Tannenbaum, Libs are dividing and conquering all of you.....

their hopes, by dragging feet (see mr mcmeekin) the small will give up or collapse,,leaving the top names to be rewarded with a new version of 'the show' ,,, not as lucrative but still worth a full time commitment



October 4, 2012 - 7:51 amI cannot believe that the

I cannot believe that the Federal Government has not stepped in yet to over-rule these unbelievable tactics and decisions made by the Provincial Government and the OLG.

October 4, 2012 - 7:34 amRebecca Hamilton is 100% on

Regina Ertel SAID...

Rebecca Hamilton is 100% on the money. This is exactly what needs to be done. The message has to be sent to the PUBLIC...only horsepeople read the Standardbred News This should have been done 6 months ago. The PUBLIC needs to be aware. This needs to happen today!!!

October 4, 2012 - 6:23 amIf this continues, it will be

If this continues, it will be the demise of the Liberal Government, just as it was in New Brunswick when they tried to go ahead with the SALE of N. B Power without any consulation or public imput..BUT unfortunately time is running out in Ontario and if something is NOT done very very soon it WILL be TOO late.
Far too many questions have not been answered and yet they continue on their quest to ruin the Ontario Race industry and many lives.
Put an injuction on this and halt it immediately so at least we can get some answers if there is any.!!!
This MUST STOP now!!!!

October 4, 2012 - 4:43 amWell said, and this is the

Tom Kelly SAID...

Well said, and this is the war of 2012 ! But till now except for Tony MacDonald and Jody Jamison and their families we have had no leadership only self preservation by individuals.. If you wish to hit the GTA news please forward your comments to ROSI DIMATO at the Toronto Star..

October 3, 2012 - 9:21 pmIt has now been six months

It has now been six months (half a YEAR) since the blow was delivered to the horse-racing industry. There have been consultations, a couple of small demonstrations at Queens Park and elsewhere. There has been a lot of rhetoric from both sides, suggestions about how to keep the industry alive, denials from the government, abundant accusations, offers of support from a Senator, other current and past politicians, business persons and others that seem to have fallen by the wayside, painful stories about the losses that have already occured in the breeding sector as well as track closures and their employees already out of work. Woodbine wil likely shut down at the end of this year for at least three months (Merry Christmas/Happy New Year). Horse sales have been cancelled. Farms have laid off employees. Everyone's assets have been greatly devalued - can I sell you a racehorse?

I have said this before and now I am going to say it again... ultimatum (is) required from OHRIA and ALL other organizations and racing representatives right NOW, to the current government as well as to the Conservatives AND the NDP. All out WAR from ALL parties who are surely losing their livelihoods is required to carry our message to the general electorate. We can all concur that canceling SARP is a bad/stupid/incomprehensible move on the part of the Fiberals and their colleagues, but if we cannot get that same message to the urban masses who still have no clue what this boondoggle is all about, then all of the hoping and praying will not stop the inevitable demise of the racing industry in Ontario. Every horse trailer should have a sign on it saying that Dalton and Dwight (Dumb and Dumber) have condemned the magnificent animals on board to death. Then those trailers should be lined up for miles on all major arteries serving the GTA, London, Ottawa, Barrie, Hamilton/Flamboro/Waterdown (McMeekin's backyard), Windsor, etc.. So what if the public gets inconvenienced for a few hours. The trailer safari then needs to head to Queens Park along the Gardiner Expressway, the Don Valley expressway and down Yonge Street for a MASSIVE demonstration (not hundreds but THOUSANDS). Everyone dependent on the racing industry (meaning every horseperson, vet, blacksmith, feed supplier, Dodge/Ford/Chevy truck dealer, trailer manufacturer, track owner, tack supplier et al) needs to anti-up and pay for PAC ads on every TV station (they only need to be 15 second spots to get our message out). We need to flood every media outlet with the message that there are no answers from the government that explain why they are going ahead with a plan that cancels the most profitable product that OLG currently has and they have nothing in place to generate the $$$ currently coming from SARP. When the government loses the revenue stream coming from SARP currently used to support healthcare and education, will Ontarians be prepared for the inevitable cuts to healthcare and education that most surely will follow the shortfall in the revenue stream? There will be no mega casino complex built and up and running in time to contribute what will be lost from the tracks after March 2013, so where will the revenue for the government come from to replace that lost from SARP? It is time that EVERYONE wake up and smell the coffee! We must stop dreaming and DO what must be done to save ourselves.

October 3, 2012 - 7:17 pmJust the 17 tracks themselves

Norm Brunet SAID...

Just the 17 tracks themselves without counting the OLG staff would be over 5000 jobs. Restaurant staff maintenance security...If 300 a track that would be 5100 jobs 17 x 300 = 5100

How is it that the a Government, New York brings in measures to protect the animal and across the border a government makes a decision that will impact the lives of over 13,000 horses. What does that say for our society in Ontario !

October 3, 2012 - 5:56 pmHistory has shown that you

doug lovely SAID...

History has shown that you can not reason with
a dictator.

October 3, 2012 - 5:20 pmHas Mr. Godfrey explained how

Has Mr. Godfrey explained how he plans to replace 1.1 billion per year in slot income March 31st 2013 ? If you or anyone you know pays taxes in Ontario you should be VERY afraid of this cretin.

October 3, 2012 - 4:36 pmThis message is for our

This message is for our ASSOCIATIONS... are we gonna wait till its over to do something big to make them move? It's more than time... please, lets call a meeting and do some planning HURRY UP!

October 3, 2012 - 4:30 pmGreg Price is right! Legal

Paul Gangle SAID...

Greg Price is right! Legal action in form of a class action law suit is the only alternative. The doctors did it and only then did the gov't sit up and pay attention and started the process of negotiation. These guys are acting like renegades who think that they can do whatever they please without any consequences. In the meantime, livelihoods are at stake. My question is when are the opposition parties going to step up to the plate and put the Liberals on notice that their actions are totally unacceptable. Where are Horwath and Hudak and where is the accountability???.... We need to get rid of this rats nest..... TIME FOR A ELECTION!!!

October 3, 2012 - 3:43 pm38 layoffs in Sudbury with

38 layoffs in Sudbury with another 100 to go. Now 33 at Woodbine. That's 171 and that does not include anyone from the racing industry. There were also layoffs at Windsor. Does anyone remember how many. We need to keep track of this.

October 3, 2012 - 3:15 pmIn past years, OLG has been

Don Patrick SAID...

In past years, OLG has been able to quietly cut the jobs of non-unionized staff. They have been doing it for years by "Terminated Without Cause" firings. These firings were done out of the public eye. However, now that many employees are unionized, the OLG needs to explain some things, and follow the rules of the collective agreement.

The ruthless tactics of the OLG, along with them having no regard for their loyal employees, is certainly nothing new. Only something very radical, which could draw massive public attention, is going to awaken the public.

October 3, 2012 - 3:06 pmGreg You are bang on.


You are bang on.

These OLG scumbags have made backdoor deals with their Liberals scumbags and are making a mockery of our Democratic rights as citizens of Ontario.

Its damn well time that the people of this Province, as well as this industry do something about it. The time to peaceful negotiations is over, the gloves must come off.

October 3, 2012 - 2:13 pmThis is becoming a WILD WILD

greg price SAID...

This is becoming a WILD WILD WEST MOVIE......... Where two outlaws, Dwight Duncan, and God awful Paul Godfrey. Just go around shooting from the hip..... at innocent people...... hard working people.....people the work 10 times harder then these two men couldn't ever dream of ....... Yet they go around like bully's. There are forsure many hiddin agenda's that we will never know about..... I think Ive been pushed around enough where action should be taken against these people. Protests. There are over running us like Alexander the Great. Just going town to town taking from all of us. Im calling upon are leaders in harness racing to help us be heard.... cause they are not listening at this time...... SOMETHING RADICAL NEEDS TO BE DONE. LETS MAKE SOME NOISE IN THE NEAR FUTURE. SHOWING EDICATE IS NOT HELPING....

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