ORC Announces Effective Dates For New Rules

Published: January 4, 2012 08:01 pm EST

Following the completion of the public consultation process, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has announced the effective dates of new and modified rules of racing

, including minor wording changes to rules affecting the Out Of Competition program, the search rules, and rules regarding “intent” surrounding the use of non-therapeutic drugs.

Additionally, the ORC has implemented rule changes to create an assistant trainer requirement in standardbred racing.

Rules establishing new standards for safety vests and safety helmets in thoroughbred racing have been approved with an effective date of January 1, 2013, allowing a year for implementation.

For more specific information, please refer to the following Directives:

Standardbred Directive Number 5 – 2011
Standardbred Directive Number 1 – 2012
Thoroughbred Directive Number 5 – 2011


New Requirements for “Apprentice” Trainer Licence
(See Standardbred Directive Number 1 – 2012)

Working with Standardbred Canada, a new program has been created for the accreditation of new trainers. The objectives of the new program are:

• To bring all licensed trainers and prospective trainer participants to a level of professionalism and guide them in their development.
• To strengthen the trainer accreditation process, and establish a testing structure that is both practical and written, based on horsemanship, equipment, business practices and the rules and regulations.
• To provide trainers with a guide that will serve as a reference tool, to include a formal set of procedures for the business of training.

As previously required, a prospective trainer will have to work as a groom for a period of two years before challenging the trainer examination. Now, following successful completion of the written examination, the proponent will have to apply to become a “C” apprentice trainer where he or she must be mentored by an “A” trainer for a period of six months.

After the six months, the apprentice trainer must also successfully complete a practical examination and achieve a passing grade of 90% before being eligible to apply for an upgrade to an “A” trainer.

Those trainers who currently hold an “A” licence will not be required to complete the new accreditation program.

Search and Seizure Authorities
(See Thoroughbred Directive Number 5 – 2011 and Standardbred Directive Number 5 – 2011, SB Rule 37.09 and TB Rule 39.09)

The words “acting on reasonable and probable grounds” have been changed to “acting upon reasonable grounds that the business of horse racing in any or all of its forms is taking place”.

The purpose of the change is to provide more specificity on what the designate of the Director must have reasonable grounds to believe. The amendments establish more clearly the authority granted to designated investigators including the authority to conduct inspections.

Attempt and Intent Rule
(See Thoroughbred Directive Number 5 – 2011 and Standardbred Directive Number 5 – 2011, SB Rule 6.46.1 and TB Rule 15.31.01)

The primary change to the rule is to expand “possess or use” to “possess, administer, traffic, or attempt to possess, administer or traffic”.

The purpose of this change is to strengthen existing ORC Rules surrounding the proper possession and sale of legitimate drugs, substances and medications, and at the same time, discourage irresponsible production and/or trafficking of illegal performance enhancing drugs. In addition, changes were made to address misrepresented, unlabelled and unknown drugs as well as improving some of the clumsy wording which existed.

Safety Reins/Lines Requirements Modified
(See Thoroughbred Directive Number 5 – 2011 and Standardbred Directive Number 5 – 2011, Chapter 2 Definitions, SB Rule 26.12.01 and TB Rule 29.04.01)

Safety reins/lines were approved as a requirement in 2008 but the rule was not made effective, pending development of standards. A Safety Reins/Lines Pilot Program was put in place which provided manufacturers with opportunities to trial their products with horsepeople. With a number of new varieties of lines now made commercially, the Board is pleased with the improved options now available to participants. Unfortunately, standards for safety reins/lines satisfactory to the Ontario market are still unavailable, making implementation of the requirement problematic. The Board will review the issue in the future when and if standards come into place, but until then, the rule has been changed from a requirement to a best practice. Additionally, the definition of safety reins/lines was changed in order to accommodate the varied solutions developed by the industry to increase safety.

Standards Approved for Thoroughbred Safety Helmets and Safety Vests
(See Thoroughbred Directive Number 5 – 2011, TB Rule 9.05.01 and 14.02)

The previous Thoroughbred Rule provided that “a safety helmet … approved and developed for race riding and training” and did not provide any guidance on what is considered “approved”. Recently Thoroughbred Model Rules as revised by the Racing Commissioners International detailed a number of standards accepted to be best practice. The ORC has approved these standards for use in Ontario, with an effective date of January 1, 2013, to allow industry participants sufficient time to comply.