The AGCO remains committed to partnering and engaging across all the sectors it regulates to understand stakeholder perspectives, identify opportunities to be more effective and efficient, and collaborate with other organizations to improve regulatory outcomes.
The AGCO continues to use its enhanced engagement toolkit to connect with its diverse stakeholder network within Ontario, as well as nationally and internationally, to seek feedback on the issues they care about. One of these tools is a digital stakeholder engagement portal which provides the agency with access to innovative and accessible approaches to engage with its stakeholders and Ontarians. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this tool has been of particular importance, as it has allowed the AGCO to continue comprehensive consultations and engagements virtually rather than in-person to support the public health measure of physical distancing. Incorporating digital tools and programs will be a focus moving forward as it advances the AGCO’s key commitments to promote a digital-first mindset, be customer-centred and responsive, and support innovation and consumer choice.
The AGCO will continue to organize and execute stakeholder engagement activities across all of the sectors it regulates, as well as actively seek out and participate in stakeholder and industry events in an effort to better understand the trends and risks within these sectors, and to improve regulatory outcomes. Of particular focus for the gaming sector are two priorities. The first is for the AGCO to continue working with the Government of Ontario, iGaming Ontario, and stakeholders to establish a safe, open, and competitive online gaming market that will help protect consumers and provide more choice while ensuring a level playing field for new businesses. The second is to commence engagement with the gaming industry on potential refinements to the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming to understand current risks within the industry, to examine opportunities to reduce regulatory burden and support market innovation, as well as to continue to support recovery within the industry from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the liquor sector, the AGCO is committed to supporting licence and permit holders and industry stakeholders during the transition to the new liquor framework under the Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019. The AGCO will soon begin working to develop the Registrar’s Standards for Liquor that will build the outcomes-based regulatory model enabled by the LLCA. Development of the permanent standards will occur over the next two to three years and will include engagement with the industry.
The AGCO remains committed to building and maintaining partnerships with law enforcement agencies across Ontario, whether through regular contact with members of the Ontario Provincial Police Bureau assigned to the AGCO, through specialized educational seminars and materials on enforcement activities for front-line police officers, or information sharing. With respect to information sharing, the AGCO has continued to engage with regional and municipal police services on the Last Drink Program and is developing a pilot program that would automate information sharing.
Nationally, the AGCO is a member organization of the Association of Liquor Licensing Authorities of Canada and the Canadian Association of Gaming Regulatory Agencies and regularly engages with provincial and international colleagues in the cannabis regulation sphere. Internationally, the AGCO continues to be a well-respected member organization of both the International Association of Gaming Regulators and the North American Gaming Regulators Association. In the horse racing sector, the AGCO is a member of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, the umbrella organization of the official governing and rule-making bodies for professional horse racing, which sets international standards for racing regulation.
The AGCO will continue to leverage existing relationships and to proactively establish new ones with other regulators and organizations in order to promote collaboration, information sharing and enhance due diligence processes. This includes leveraging and strengthening existing memoranda of understanding, as well as establishing new agreements.
The AGCO will remain strategic in maintaining, engaging and developing relationships and partnerships with third parties within Ontario, as well as nationally and internationally, given the global elements of these regulated sectors.