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Published: October 5, 2020 2:50 pm ET

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Contributions are now being accepted for the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).

Any Standardbred racing industry participant can join the plan. In order to qualify for the industry contribution to their retirement account, owners, trainers, and drivers must have participated in 12 races in Ontario in 2019. Owners and breeders will be credited based on the percentage of the horse(s) they owned or bred. Breeders must be the owner of a mare or mares whose offspring that were bred by them collectively raced 12 times in 2019 in Ontario. Assistant trainers and grooms must provide a T4, or letter from their employer verifying employment in 2019.

The RRSP initiative is funded through the pari-mutuel tax reduction (PMTR) funds. A portion of the horsepeople’s share of revenue has been allocated to fund the RRSP since its inception. The PMTR is calculated as a percentage of the total wager on horse racing in the Province of Ontario. Currently the horsepeople’s share of the PMTR funds is .40% of the total wager in Ontario. That .40% is split 60% to the Thoroughbred industry and 40% to the Standardbred industry. Of the share of revenue that is allocated to Standardbred, 60% is allocated to the RRSP.

Unfortunately, wagering has been in decline in Ontario for a number of years. There was a decrease in wagering on horse racing in Ontario in each of the last four years, and therefore there is declining revenue to fund the RRSP. In 2017, the total wager in Ontario was $882,098,637 and in 2019/20 the total wager in Ontario had declined to $784,209,470. The domestic bet; the wagers placed on horse racing in Ontario, is now close to $100 million a year less than it was just four years ago. Prior to 2010, Ontario wagering on horse racing was in excess of $1 billion per year.

While the impacts of COVID-19 on the Ontario wagering on horse racing are still unclear, all indications are that the total wager in Ontario will decline again this year.

The amount generated by the PMTR funds is ultimately divided by the number of participants that qualify for the industry contribution. The RRSP committee will meet to review the amount available for distribution and calculate the industry contribution once the number of eligible applicants is determined.

The deadline for contributions is December 1, 2020 but we urge you to get your information in soon to assist the office with managing the workload.

Further information and forms are available on the OHHA website or by calling the OHHA office at 905-854-6442 or 1-866-774-6442.


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