Operational Performance – Other

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Service Strategy and Experience

The AGCO’s Service Strategy and Experience Branch was established in March 2019, bringing together the AGCO’s Contact Centre department, and Complaints and Inquiries Oversight function. Its enterprise-wide mandate is to deliver on the AGCO’s Service Excellence strategic objective by working with partners across the organization to ensure that:

  • a strong service culture is developed and embedded;
  • customer needs are the organizing principle around which policy development, service design and delivery are planned and executed;
  • AGCO service channels function optimally and meet customer expectations; and
  • the customer experience is monitored, measured, and managed.

iAGCO and Service Improvements

To create a more streamlined and digital experience for AGCO applicants and registrants, the AGCO continued its phased approach to its iAGCO online services:

  • Phase 1: May 29, 2017, for SOP applications and liquor manufacturers’ licensing;
  • Phase 2: January 29, 2018, for all liquor licences, and online submission of complaints and inquiries;
  • Phase 3: November 19, 2018, for lottery and gaming licences and January 14, 2019, for cannabis licenses; and
  • Phase 4(A): March 02, 2020, for horse racing licences.

The AGCO’s Digital by Default mindset continued to drive the agency’s modern regulatory approach with the rollout of iAGCO online services for horse racing licensees. These sector participants join liquor, lottery and gaming, and cannabis licensees in the adoption of online services.

As of March 2020, the online submission rate for liquor applicants was 94%, and 90% of gaming applications were processed online. Low-risk applicants now have quicker application turnaround times resulting from auto-issuance and auto-renewals of licences, where appropriate.

In 2019-20, the online submission rate for liquor applicants was 94%. In addition, 87% of gaming application were submitted online. Low risk applicants now have quicker application turnaround timelines resulting from auto-issuance and auto-renewals of licences, where appropriate.

In 2019-20, 93% of SOPs and 38% of liquor licence renewals were deemed low risk and issued automatically and the auto renewal rate for Gaming registrations was at 62%.

iAGCO improves the customer experience by allowing those who do business with the AGCO to apply for and manage their licences, registrations, and permits online, anytime from anywhere, through the iAGCO online portal.

iAGCO has resulted in a variety of efficiencies, including:

  • a simplified renewal process with the option to select longer renewal periods, resulting in reduced administrative burden for licensees and registrants;
  • elimination of the requirement for licensees and registrants to obtain and carry AGCO-printed photo identification cards;
  • a streamlined application process for low-risk applicants; and
  • a reduction in the number of documents and level of detail required.

TABLE 5 – iAGCO and Service Improvements

The submission of regulatory notifications (reporting of incidents or events of regulatory interest), liquor licence objections, cannabis public submissions, general inquiries, and complaints through iAGCO continues to increase.


2018–19 Volumes

2019–20 Volumes

Online Regulatory Notifications8,66625,074
Liquor Objections793241

Cannabis Submissions

(from the public and municipalities)


Here is what customers have to say about iAGCO:

  • “Great online experience. Very convenient to be able to do this during non-business hours from my own home. well done!”
  • “Application was easy to follow, simple to execute, seamless approval process.”
  • “Online service is far superior to the old paper form renewals. Thank you for making the process quick and easy.”

TABLE 6 – Contact Centre and Customer Service Support

The AGCO is committed to supporting its customers, the public and stakeholders through effective customer service support across a variety of channels.




Telephone Contacts (Contact Centre)100,384104,072
In-person customers (Head Office)8,9272,162
Self-Help (using automated voice messaging system)33,38636,386
Web Chat*n/a6,756
AGCO website visits1,754,9791,425,794

*Web Chat volumes are from September 2019 to March 2020.

Customer Satisfaction, Performance and Continuous Improvement

In 2019–2020, AGCO’s Customer Satisfaction Surveys were enhanced to improve consistency in how customer service insights are gathered across the AGCO’s common service channels (iAGCO, website, and voice) to measure and improve the AGCO Service Experience.

Enhancements included:

  • the introduction of questions aligned to the drivers of customer satisfaction;
  • the development of a common method of asking service questions; and
  • the adoption of a common five-point Likert scale to improve the compare-and-contrast service levels across service channels.

During the fiscal year, the Contact Centre answered 87% of customer calls within five minutes or less, exceeding its 80% service level target. AGCO customer surveys indicated a customer satisfaction rating of 84% for those who called the Contact Centre.

The AGCO continued its commitment to improving the customer experience with the launch of call-monitoring technology to monitor and improve the quality of customer calls and Web Chat interactions. Quality monitoring ensures that performance standards are adhered to and procedural compliance is met.

Eighty-one percent of AGCO customers were satisfied with their experience using the iAGCO portal, with cannabis and SOP applicants reporting the highest satisfaction levels. The AGCO website continues to be a primary source of information for AGCO customers.

Complaints and Inquiries

The AGCO’s Complaints & Inquiries Handling Policy continues to focus on complaints analysis, continuous improvement, and evidence-based decision making. Through regular performance monitoring, the AGCO’s average turnaround for addressing complaints about regulated entity compliance and licensing and registration, is holding steady at approximately 40 days.

New Service Channel: Web Chat for SOPs and Cannabis

In September 2019, the AGCO launched a new channel of communication to support and further enhance the customer service experience. Web Chat offers customers a direct, web-based digital line to the Contact Centre Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This popular service, currently available to Special Occasion Permit and cannabis customers, is scheduled to expand to other lines of business.

Strategic Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is a key element in the delivery of AGCO priority initiatives and decision-making. The AGCO shares information with, consults, and educates stakeholders to ensure overall understanding of regulatory requirements and improve regulatory outcomes and compliance. Engagement supports the AGCO’s risk-based and compliance focused regulatory approach, and the commitment to being customer-centred and responsive.

In 2019–2020, stakeholder engagement, education, and training activities included the hosting of webinars and national/international delegations, consultations, and industry stakeholder information sessions, as well as participation in industry-focused forums, conferences, and working groups.

A key engagement event was the second AGCO Stakeholder Summit in November 2019, which helped to build and solidify external stakeholder community relationships. With the theme, Design Thinking: How the AGCO is Updating its Modern Regulatory Toolkit, the Summit featured a keynote speaker on digital disruption, and profiled AGCO activities to inform regulatory decisions through data use, improve compliance collaboratively through education, training and awareness, and create its Better, Faster, Smarter service strategy and burden reduction. The event was attended by over 100 key external stakeholders from across all the industries the AGCO regulates, as well as government partners and public health and social responsibility groups.

To support Ontario’s burgeoning cannabis industry the AGCO continued to engage with stakeholders that had already received a retail store authorization as well as individuals and companies interested in obtaining a cannabis retail store authorization. The 2019/2020 fiscal year saw the AGCO engaging in a more concerted manner, and on a more regular basis, with First Nations that were interested in hosting a provincially-regulated cannabis retail store. Specifically, in July 2019 the AGCO held an information session for First Nations and responded to over fifty unique questions and concerns regarding AGCO’s regulatory framework for cannabis retail. Throughout the duration of the year, the AGCO continued to meet with First Nation leaders on an individualized basis and was invited to participate in a First Nation cannabis retailing workshop.

The AGCO, in partnership with the Ministry of the Attorney General, met with a variety of international delegations with representation from New Zealand, the Netherlands, New Jersey, and New York to discuss cannabis legalization and Ontario’s regulatory approach to cannabis retailing.

The AGCO also continued its engagement with horse racing industry stakeholders as part of the AGCO’s ongoing review of the Rules of Racing. This included the following initiatives:

  • An extensive consultation was conducted, including 10 interviews with jurisdictions around the world and approximately 300 responses to its Ontario industry-wide survey, on the adjudication of in-race interference. Input will be supplemented through ongoing engagement prior to the implementation of any future changes to how interference is adjudicated in Ontario.
  • In consultation with industry representatives, the AGCO designed and implemented incremental changes to urging rules in the province, which will continue to be assessed and adjusted over future racing seasons.
  • Following extensive consultation in 2018-2019, the AGCO implemented a Concussion Protocol Pilot at thoroughbred racetracks for the duration of the 2019 racing season that included interactive education sessions with more than 125 attendees. Following an evaluation of the pilot involving input from many participants, the protocol will be expanded to include more participants in the province.

In addition to targeted industry outreach, the AGCO continued to engage in a focused and coordinated manner with municipalities on its regulatory frameworks for liquor, cannabis, and charitable gaming.

In May 2019, the AGCO hosted the final webinar in a four-part municipal webinar series focused on liquor regulation in Ontario. More than 200 municipal registrants attended, with a participant satisfaction rate of 100%.

In June 2019, the AGCO hosted an event in partnership with the City of Ottawa for liquor licensees and industry/neighbourhood associations. The meeting strengthened awareness of the AGCO’s role in liquor regulation and municipal responsibilities in bylaw enforcement, while building better channels of communication and relationship development between local residents and liquor licensees.

The AGCO remains committed to meaningful engagement to understand the various stakeholder perspectives and inform policies and programs across all its regulated sectors, as well as to building and maintaining strong and valued partnerships and alliances to improve regulatory outcomes.

Compliance Services

Compliance Services (CS) is responsible for conducting regulatory inspections, audits, and financial investigations across all lines of business regulated by the AGCO. Throughout 2019–2020, CS continued with the implementation of an integrated compliance function. CS has achieved the objective of having all Compliance Officials (COs) trained to deliver compliance services across multiple sectors by having all COs providing oversight in at least two sectors.

Audit and Financial Investigations Branch

1. Casinos and Slot Machine Facilities

In 2019–2020, the casino sector continued to transition to a private sector–operated model under OLG’s modernization strategy. It also fully transitioned to a standards-based regulatory approach, under which the AGCO establishes clear industry objectives and standards. Regulated entities then determine the most efficient and effective way to meet them. The AGCO assesses compliance by obtaining assurance that objectives and standards are being met.

This approach benefits the AGCO and Operators by providing more operational flexibility while strengthening regulatory outcomes in a way that does not unnecessarily burden those the AGCO regulates. It also allows the AGCO to proactively manage the evolving nature of its regulated industries and provide flexibility to be able to assume new regulatory responsibilities.

When conducting an audit at a casino facility, the AGCO assesses site compliance with the requirements under the Gaming Control Act (GCA), the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, 2001, and related regulations. The AGCO proactively helps regulated entities to comply with regulatory requirements using an approach based on education, collaboration, and deterrence.

During 2019–2020, the AGCO carried out nine risk-based audits/review.

2. Internet Gaming (iGaming)

As part of its regulatory assurance activities, the AGCO conducts audits, compliance monitoring and reviews, technical monitoring of the iGaming platform, and investigations of suspicious behaviour within the province’s PlayOLG.ca gaming platform. The AGCO applies a risk-based approach to its activities, including its eligibility assessment and registration process, technical assessment and approval of updates to the OLG iGaming solution and new games, and the application of regulatory assurance activities to assess compliance with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.

During 2019–2020, the AGCO carried out one risk-based audit.

3. Charitable Gaming (cGaming)

As part of the ongoing multi-year initiative to revitalize and modernize charitable bingo in the province, the OLG and the charitable gaming Operators signed an amended agreement in 2019. The amended agreement provides Operators with increased flexibility in their overall conduct of the business and management of their operations while undertaking a number of new accountabilities. Operators are now accountable for their compliance with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.

In 2019–2020, the AGCO worked collaboratively with Operators in support of compliance with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming. The AGCO carried out education sessions with all Operators of the 33 cGaming centres in the province during the Fall of 2019.

4. Other Charitable Gaming

In addition to cGaming centres managed and operated by licensed Service Providers/Operators in partnership with charities, traditional paper-based bingo events conducted and managed by licensed charitable organizations continue to operate in Ontario. Charitable gaming revenues, including those that come from traditional bingos, are an important source of funding for a large number of not-for-profit organizations.

The AGCO continued to support the charitable gaming industry by supporting fundraising opportunities for charities and providing suppliers with opportunities for business growth through modernization initiatives. These included the bingo revenue model, introduction of eRaffles using a Random Number Generator, online 50/50 draws, changes to the break open ticket regulatory framework, the launch of Catch the Ace lotteries, as well as the AGCO’s work with the Charitable Gaming Strategic Working Group and Mega Raffle Working Group. While the role of provincial and municipal licensing authorities remains in place, this model provides for flexibility in how charitable games are licensed, managed, and conducted.

5. OLG Lotteries

The AGCO conducts audits and reviews of the OLG’s lottery management functions, processes, and systems. Applying a risk-based approach, the AGCO completed one technology-related audit of a lottery system and continued to monitor the implementation of the OLG’s lottery modernization. The OLG continued to modernize key components of its lottery and iGaming business, including a new OLG Player Platform, replacement of lottery terminals, an enhanced sports betting solution, a new web and app presence, as well as new games.

During 2019–2020, the AGCO monitored ongoing changes to the OLG’s lottery platform, assessed related risks, educated new Gaming-Related Suppliers on AGCO’s regulatory requirements and expectations, and assessed technology-related readiness.

6. Horse Racing

The AGCO conducts audits and reviews of Ontario racetracks to assess the effectiveness of governance structures and processes, the integrity of funds management, compliance with racetrack licences and with the Rules of Racing. AGCO Audit also collaborates closely with the OLG in areas of shared interest, such as governance and integrity of purse account management.

In 2019–2020, the AGCO carried out one follow-up audit of an Ontario racetrack.

7. Alcohol – Wineries and Liquor

The AGCO is responsible for administering the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) and specific sections of the Liquor Control Act (LCA). AGCO’s regulatory responsibilities include the licensing and regulation of the sale and service of beverage alcohol in liquor-licensed establishments (e.g. bars and restaurants) and manufacturers.

In 2019–2020, the AGCO applied a variety of tools and regulatory assurance activities to this sector, including five financial reviews in support of inspections conducted by AGCO Compliance Officials of licensed liquor establishments that were not compliant with terms and conditions of their licence and provisions of the LLA/LCA.

As part of an existing MOU with the AGCO, the LCBO conducts regular compliance audits of licensed wine manufacturers on behalf of the AGCO. During 2019–2020, a total of 213 audits of wine manufacturers was completed. In addition, the AGCO completed financial/compliance reviews of three licensed wine boutiques.

8. Cannabis

Following the federal legalization of cannabis for recreational use, the Ontario government announced in August 2018 a private retail model in which businesses can apply for licences in order to sell cannabis. In addition, the Ontario government mandated the AGCO as the regulator of this line of business.

Private retail stores were permitted to sell cannabis beginning on April 1, 2019, with the goal to further eliminate the illegal market and provide economic development opportunities for businesses in Ontario. The AGCO fulfills its responsibility for licensing retailers and authorizing stores by conducting eligibility assessments and enforcing legislation and the Registrar’s Standards using a number of tools, including inspections, assessment of point-of-sale and inventory tracking systems, education, and other regulatory assurance activities. The AGCO focuses on the safe, responsible, and lawful sale of cannabis, consistent with government legislation.

In 2019–2020, the AGCO worked with the OCS and industry partners to amend the Registrar’s Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores for “Click & Collect” eCommerce sales of cannabis products.

9. Financial Due Diligence and Investigations

The Branch’s Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) conducts financial due diligence reviews to assess the ability of an entity applying for a licence or registration to conduct its business in accordance with the principles of honesty, integrity, and financial responsibility. FIU reports are used to support the eligibility assessment process and licensing and registration decisions made by the Licensing and Registration Branch.

In 2019–2020, the FIU provided forensic expertise to support investigations by the AGCO/OPP’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau of suspected thefts or misuse of charitable lottery funds. The FIU completed 14 financial investigations.

Compliance Services Inspections

In 2019–2020, CS continued the vision of focusing on achieving the outcomes that support compliance in the most effective and efficient manner. This has meant focusing compliance resources where they have the greatest impact. Through these efforts, Compliance Officials have placed a greater emphasis on the areas that present the most significant risks. With efforts being focused on compliance outcomes, COs invest significant efforts into providing increased consultation and education with licensees and Operators.

Strategic Partnerships

CS recognizes the benefits of collaborative working relationships with police services and other regulatory bodies. Throughout 2019–2020, CS continued to seek out new strategic partnerships and collaborative approaches to promote compliance among all sectors regulated by the AGCO. 

In this fiscal year, CS increased its collaboration with municipal partners, including expanding a project to enable efficient referral of compliance information to the City of Toronto and continuing its collaboration with the City of Ottawa. CS continued to strengthen its network of municipal partnerships through increased joint projects and information-sharing initiatives.

CS has renewed its efforts to leverage technology to deliver education and awareness seminars to police officers servicing the remote areas of Ontario. During 2019, CS staff delivered a series of virtual education seminars to OPP Officers in Sioux Lookout. The success of this pilot will pave the way for development of education programs that police officers can participate in regardless of where they are located.

TABLE 7 – Compliance Services Inspections – Cannabis




Cannabis pre-opening1145
Unannounced Inspection3222
All other inspection types0154

TABLE 8 – Compliance Services Inspections – Raffles




Infractions cited51

In addition to commercial gaming inspections (see note following Charitable Gaming – cGaming, page 35), the AGCO continued to conduct inspections at sites that fall under O.Reg 207(1)(b) of the Criminal Code. These sites are conducted and managed by the OLG.

AGCO COs also provide education and outreach to the charitable gaming sector to ensure continued compliance. In 2019–2020, COs conducted 93 charitable gaming inspections and found 12 violations.