On April 1, 2016, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) ceased operations and on that date, as mandated by the Horse Racing Licence Act, 2015, the regulatory responsibilities for horse racing were transferred to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Non-regulatory functions were transferred to other organizations. Some functions that had been managed by the ORC were transferred to other organizations. To provide some clarity, the following is an overview of the industry landscape as it exists today.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
For information on the AGCO’s core regulatory functions, please visit What We Do: Horse Racing.
Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA)
The CPMA is a federal special operating agency within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that regulates and supervises pari-mutuel betting in Canada on horse races, thereby ensuring that pari-mutuel betting is conducted in a way that is fair to the public. Under its regulations, the CPMA sets out the requirement for a commission (in the case of Ontario it’s the AGCO that is the provincial regulator) to supervise and regulate horse racing, including setting the rules for racing. In order for a racetrack to operate in Canada, it must receive a racetrack licence from the provincial regulator before it can apply to the CPMA for a federal betting permit. Betting permits are granted on an annual basis. The CPMA also operates the national Equine Drug Control Program that is designed to deter the uncontrolled use of drugs or medication in racehorses participating in pari-mutuel races.
Equine Guelph is the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. It is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of horses by conducting research into diseases and common problems in horses and communicating these findings to both the scientific community and the equine industry. For horse owners and their caretakers, Equine Guelph provides a wealth of tools and information, as well as offering an extensive catalogue of webinars, workshops and online courses.
Horse Racing Appeal Panel (HRAP)
Unless expressly prohibited, all rulings or decisions made by stewards, judges, veterinarians, racetrack officials, racing association officials, licensing agents or officers or employees of the Commission, pursuant to the Rules of Racing 2016, are appealable to HRAP.
Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT)
Appeals of licencing decisions of the Registrar made pursuant to the Horse Racing Licence Act, 2015 are heard by the License Appeal Tribunal (LAT).
Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG)
OLG’s Horse Racing division supports racetracks by administering funding for purses and operational costs as set out in the Transfer Payment Agreements that the Ontario government has with racetracks.
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
OMAFRA is responsible for administering the Enhanced Horse Improvement Program that supports the breeding of high-quality Ontario racehorses and has responsibilities in the area of non-regulatory racehorse welfare.
Ontario Racing Association (OR)
In April 2016, OR assumed responsibility for the functions previously carried out by the Ontario Horse Racing division of the ORC. OR is responsible for setting an annual program of races and purses, attracting new horse owners, building a fan base and connecting the industry with government and the general public. This association serves as the voice of the horse racing industry and works closely with the OLG towards the integration of horse racing into OLG’s gaming strategy. Responsible for directing the breed improvement programs in Ontario, OR serves as the Program Administrator for the Standardbred (SIP) and Thoroughbred (TIP) Horse Improvement Program components of Ontario’s Horse Improvement Program (HIP) as well as the Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program (QHRIDP).