A Year of Change and Transformation
The AGCO is Ontario’s regulator for the sale and service of alcohol, for lottery and gaming, for horse racing and most recently for the private retailing of cannabis. Like other government services, we are living in a time when industry and citizen expectations for sensible, responsive and digitally enabled government services continue to grow. The AGCO has long been at the forefront of modern industry regulation and, over this past year, we were well positioned to regulate new and rapidly evolving sectors.
This 2018-2019 annual report details the efforts of this agency over the past fiscal year, during which we reached several milestones in our continual approach to modernize our business processes and optimize service delivery.
- As of January 2019, AGCO customers now conduct all of their liquor, cannabis, lottery and most of their gaming-related transactions online. Our iAGCO online service delivery portal provides a quicker, easier, more convenient way to apply for and manage licences, authorizations, registrations and permits, anytime from anywhere. Over this last fiscal year, a rapidly growing number of customers conducted their transactions with the AGCO online, with many experiencing quicker turnaround times through automatic approvals and renewals. iAGCO survey respondents reported a 93% satisfaction rate with this online channel.
- Ontario’s horse racing participants are now better protected thanks to new health and safety measures introduced by the AGCO this past year, including a race-day medication ban for horses and the launch of a pilot protocol to ensure jockeys diagnosed with a concussion are fully recovered before they return to racing. These measures, based on ongoing engagement with horse racing stakeholders, demonstrate our commitment to modern industry reforms.
- We also launched new reforms to electronic raffles, providing Ontario charities with greater flexibility and increased opportunities to raise funds for their important causes.
Our partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Bureau (through the Bureau assigned to the AGCO) continued to build on the effectiveness of investigations and collaboration with law enforcement across the province. Having the provincial police service directly embedded within the AGCO’s operations is unique to these sectors in North America, helping to streamline, standardize and improve our investigative response while strengthening our efforts to ensure integrity and public safety in the sectors we regulate.
In our commitment to reducing the regulatory burden for customers, we began a transformation to improve outcomes that has already shown results. Our newly-created Value Task Force is refocusing and broadening our red tape reduction initiative to help us align with the government’s overall agenda. Its mandate to drive value, disrupt and remove obstacles is leveraging opportunities and accelerating work already underway in three major streams: regulatory burden, external services and internal services. We also continued our work towards our AGCO 2020 agenda, to accelerate efforts to modernize our compliance approach, the customer service experience we provide, and our people management approach while allowing us to maintain a meaningful regional presence and streamline the delivery of digital services. Customer service is a priority for the AGCO and we are committed to continuously improving the customer experience. For example, we have transitioned away from paper-based manual processes, to online digital channels that are quicker and more convenient for customers, as evidenced by our high satisfaction rates. In March 2019, we established a new Service Strategy and Experience Branch to further prioritize customers in our policy development, service design and delivery, and to drive higher rates of satisfaction. Also in development is the option to add a web chat channel to contact the AGCO.
In addition to all of this, over the past year we’ve continued to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our regulatory oversight through the use of data analytics and regulatory intelligence to support evidence-based policy and program design.
The AGCO’s new role in the regulation of private cannabis retail became a key priority this year. We were able to quickly adopt this new line of business thanks to our experience working closely with government on public policy implementation, risk-based and outcomes-focused regulation, and established licensing and compliance monitoring processes.
2018-2019 was year of change and transformation for the AGCO, one in which staff responded to every challenge placed before them. I am proud of what we have collectively accomplished in such a short period. As I reflect on this agency’s efforts, it is only right to recognize the engagement, the dedication and the commitment of the entire AGCO team, from our Board of Directors to our front line staff and everyone in between. From the re-examination of our leadership culture, to the reimagining of our management approaches to the modernization of our service delivery, our journey continues. Along the way, we will continue to build this agency into the leading organization it needs to be in the future.
<Original signed by>
Chief Executive Officer