The AGCO’s corporate communications function provides a range of services and products that help the agency deliver on its strategic objectives in a way that cultivates relationships of trust, understanding and support with its internal and external stakeholders.
The AGCO’s “Digital by Default” communications approach places a priority on digital communications to inform and engage with the public, its customers, and employees by leveraging digital channels and taking advantage of the benefits of rich media to support the agency’s overall modern regulatory approach.
Communication activities that will be a focus next fiscal year include media relations, digital communications for stakeholders, channel content development, as well as communications planning and support for agency initiatives, and stakeholder engagement activities. These services help the AGCO provide stakeholders with the information that matters to them at the right time and in the right place while acting in the public interest.
The agency continuously monitors its communications strategies and products for usability, engagement, and in response to changing government priorities. The AGCO continues to refine its communication approaches and has developed rapid response strategies to quickly support government announcements and distribute important information in a timely manner. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AGCO quickly refocused its communication efforts to support the government’s response and used its established channels to inform the public, licensees, and registrants about the changes, restrictions, and public health measures put in place.
Initiatives and Products
Rapid response to emerging issues
Working collaboratively with policy, legal operations, and compliance services, the corporate communications team has established processes to reduce the normal turnaround time to create and distribute information in a matter of hours. This can include drafting news releases, information bulletins, direct emails to licensees and registrants as well as fact sheets for AGCO Customer Service and Compliance Officials. These processes include French translation for all public-facing communications products.
AGCO’s website, agco.ca, remains a primary information and communication channel for the agency and its stakeholders. This site is also the gateway to iAGCO, the agency’s online service delivery portal. The website is compatible with tablets and mobile devices for ease of use. The agco.ca site provides information for all lines of business and is updated regularly to reflect new programs and changes in government policy. The website also hosts educational videos to help clarify important processes and changes.
The AGCO generates analytics reports that measure a number of key website performance indicators. These reports help gauge how well the site is contributing to business objectives related to education, awareness, and compliance. The AGCO also captures direct user feedback from users to better understand how easily users can find the information they came for. All of this is with the goal of continually improving and expanding the site to meet the needs of the AGCO’s stakeholders.
AGCO Engagement Website
The AGCO also maintains an engagement website, connectagco.ca. The site allows interested stakeholders to follow and participate in engagement opportunities to provide input on AGCO projects, policies, and initiatives.
The AGCO is taking a more proactive approach to community engagement and exploring opportunities by expanding its social media footprint in a meaningful and manageable way. The number of followers to the AGCO’s social media channels continues to grow. Every day, the AGCO publishes information about new applications for liquor licences and for cannabis retail stores with links to the process for the public to share their views or concerns.
To align with the Ontario Public Service’s digital objectives, the AGCO continues to pursue a digital first strategy and is implementing relevant tools to promote an improved digital footprint by 2022.
With the introduction of Ontario’s open and competitive igaming market, licensing of retail cannabis stores, the modernization of liquor, and changes to horse racing regulation, the number of AGCO media inquiries continues to rise. The AGCO is now receiving over 400 media inquiries each year, including those from newspapers, radio, magazines, web-based news blogs and television. The agency strives to respond to these requests in a timely and transparent way.