Today the Auditor General published a Value for Money Audit report on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The review identified some valuable areas for improvement. The AGCO has always been committed to continuous improvement and will work closely with the Government of Ontario and with the regulated sectors as it addresses many of the recommendations set out in this report.
In doing so, the AGCO will maintain its focus on delivering strong and effective regulatory services that are in the public interest. It will guide these further improvements using its existing principles, which are central to AGCO’s strategic planning process:
- Being a modern regulator, using evidence-based regulatory approaches that are focused on risk, outcomes and supporting enhanced compliance.
- Providing excellent service to the regulated sectors, by reducing regulatory burden, supporting innovation and consumer choice, and having a customer-centred and industry responsive service approach.
- Putting people first, by sustaining relationships of accountability and trust, be they with licensees, registrants, sector patrons and participants or the AGCO’s own workforce.
The AGCO strongly supports the value-for-money purpose of these audits and appreciates they are meant to cast an objective third-party look at government programs with the ultimate goal of ensuring the public interest is served. While every noted opportunity to improve value and effectiveness will be closely assessed, some of the recommendations would have the AGCO revert to an outdated approach to regulation that would increase burden and costs on the sectors. The AGCO is committed to finding appropriate solutions that would address any concerns raised without deviating from a modern regulatory approach. We also regret the Auditor General did not set these recommendations within the context of the AGCO’s many achievements in establishing oversight of new sectors, realizing service improvements, providing burden reduction, expanding sector engagement and partnership and most recently, offering fast and meaningful sector support in response to the pandemic.
Nevertheless, the AGCO is committed to addressing the report’s recommendations as a priority. Regulating with effectiveness and in the public interest drives all of the agency’s work on behalf of the people of Ontario. The AGCO values the strong reputation it has earned with government and businesses thanks to its history of hard work, dedication and partnership. The Auditor General’s report is an opportunity to improve its effectiveness even further.