The 2021–2022 fiscal year saw tremendous change, challenge and opportunity for the AGCO. We modernized existing legislation, added new mandates to our portfolio and, most importantly, maintained our steadfast commitment to protecting the public interest. We also supported our customers by providing the opportunity to adapt and operate flexibly within changing circumstances while maintaining high regulatory standards.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the AGCO was resolute in ensuring we regulated while protecting the public interest. We also made sure Ontarians had continued access to the goods and services provided by our licensees and registrants. For example, we worked with the Ontario government to establish new rules allowing cannabis retailers to offer delivery and curbside pick-up services permanently beginning in March 2022. These services were first introduced as a temporary measure early in the pandemic and were positively received by cannabis retailers and consumers alike.
For the horse racing sector, we introduced a broad set of rule changes to modernize and reflect current industry practice, while ensuring integrity of the sport was maintained. This included increasing operational and economic flexibility for racing participants and enhancing equine welfare.
A new liquor framework was implemented under the new Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019 (LLCA), which came into effect in November 2021. This framework enables the AGCO to modernize the way we regulate the sale, service and delivery of liquor and allows for a more flexible approach to regulation. The LLCA also provides enhanced social responsibility measures in line with our commitment to public protection.
Throughout the year, we continued our work with the Ontario government and the sectors we regulate to address the recommendations in the Auditor General of Ontario’s 2020 Value for Money Audit.
We finished the year on the brink of a milestone as we look forward to launching a competitive open market for internet gaming (igaming) in Ontario. We worked collaboratively with the Ontario government and iGaming Ontario (iGO) to establish a regulatory framework that protects consumers, supports market growth and enables business opportunities. With igaming operators registered, information technology systems in place and a robust compliance framework established, we are proud to support the launch of this new regulated sector. In addition, we developed a regulatory framework for single-event sports betting, which the Canadian government legalized in 2021. The AGCO will have a vital role in the regulation of this new mandate as offerings become available in the province.
As a regulatory agency serving the people of Ontario, we strive to integrate Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DI&A) sustainably into our operations. This past year, we began implementing a multi-year DI&A strategy so that we can continue to effectively deliver inclusive, accessible and responsive services to our customers, stakeholders, the public and our employees.
A strong, engaged and motivated workforce is key to ensuring we deliver on our mandate of regulating in the public interest and with a customer focus. Supporting staff has been central to our success. In addition to our DI&A strategy, we introduced flexible work arrangements and new and enhanced employee wellness initiatives, which strengthen our “People First” approach.
It has certainly been a transformative year at the AGCO, and I am extremely proud of the achievements we were able to reach. I would like to express my deep appreciation for the dedication and professionalism shown by all AGCO employees as we eagerly embrace another exciting year to come.