In October 2020, the Ontario government released the Ontario Onwards Action Plan to make government services simpler, easier to use, and more convenient and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The Action Plan outlines how the government will make public-sector services more customer-focused, digital- and data-driven while increasing the speed of government operations and decisions.
In aligning with the objectives set out in the Action Plan, the AGCO continued to implement regulatory and internal reforms by making services more digitally accessible, reducing red tape, simplifying policies and creating more responsive and flexible services to the public. For example, to support businesses at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AGCO extended the term of all licences, registrations and authorizations.
The AGCO continues to build strategic partnerships and share information with other government ministries and agencies to strengthen collaborative and streamlined approaches. This includes effective relationships with the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Finance, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), the OLG and the LCBO.
In 2020–21, the AGCO worked collaboratively with the Government of Ontario on a number of liquor regulatory reforms to simplify rules, create flexibility and reduce unnecessary burden for liquor licence holders. For the horse racing sector, a number of rules were put in place to accommodate the return to horse racing and to ease industry burden while ensuring the welfare of equine and human athletes and other racing participants. For the gaming sector, the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming were amended to support a collaborative approach between the AGCO and charitable gaming centre operators, casino operators and the OLG for the safe re-opening of gaming sites. For the cannabis retail sector, the AGCO amended the Registrar’s Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores to temporarily accommodate delivery and curbside pickup services.