Consultations Continue Tuesday

Published: November 21, 2016 09:17 am EST

Ontario Racing (OR) will conclude the first round of scheduled in-person consultations on Tuesday, Nov. 22 regarding a proposed long-term funding framework for horse racing in the province.

The six previous sessions transpired in Toronto, Dundas, Sarnia, London, Ottawa and Port Perry. Tuesday's session takes place from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at Milton Heritage Park's Gambrel Barn, just outside Milton, Ont.

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.

OR will be releasing a preliminary consultation report shortly after the last in person consultation event on Tuesday. 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.

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

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, hosted 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)

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