Administration Directive No. 1 – 2020 – Association Re-Opening Plan

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WHEREAS standardbred horse racing was shut down in the Province of Ontario on March 20, 2020, thoroughbred racing was scheduled to commence on April 18, 2020 at Woodbine Racetrack and May 26, 2020 at Fort Erie Race Track, and quarter horse racing was scheduled to commence on May 10, 2020 at Ajax Downs Racetrack, but delayed as a result of a provincial emergency order and in accordance with public health restrictions related to COVID-19;

AND WHEREAS the emergency order was lifted with respect to horse racing, effective Tuesday, May 19, 2020;

AND WHEREAS the AGCO requires that measures be put in place prior to the reopening of racing to facilitate the safe operation of racetracks for all participants and racehorses; 

TAKE NOTICE THAT, the Registrar requires:

  1. That pursuant to the Horse Racing Licence Act, 2015, the Rules of Standardbred Racing and the Rules of Thoroughbred Racing, prior to re-opening for any live horse racing in Ontario, each Association shall establish, implement, and maintain a COVID-19 pandemic re-opening plan, and individual site specific plans in the case of multiple site operators, to be submitted to the Registrar at least 2 business days prior to the anticipated site opening for live racing;
  2. And further that, the COVID-19 pandemic re-opening plan must address and demonstrate compliance with applicable requirements, guidance, and recommendations, including:
    1. legislative requirements governing re-opening and Declarations of Emergency;
    2. Ontario’s Framework for Reopening our Province or any subsequent provincial framework overtaking it;
    3. any applicable public health requirements, guidance, and recommendations that apply to the horse racing sector, including those made at the local and regional level; and
    4. any applicable industry best practices designed to mitigate risk related to the spread of infectious disease;
  3. And further that, any updates to COVID-19 pandemic re-opening plans must be submitted to the Registrar in a timely manner; and
  4. the Association shall make available to the public their COVID-19 pandemic re-opening plans and any updates to the plan; and
  5. Notwithstanding the submission of a COVID-19 pandemic re-opening plan, an Association may not open a site for live racing until the Registrar has provided the Association with approval to do so.  The Registrar’s decision regarding the opening of a site for live racing is not subject to appeal.


Jean Major