Categories of Licensing
In order to obtain a licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), an individual needs to complete a licence application form indicating the licence category(s) required. A licensee who has not renewed their licence for five (5) years or more will be treated as a new licence applicant.
The following are the applicable licensing categories and their associated requirements:
Any person owning all or part of a horse that is racing in Ontario must hold a valid AGCO licence. To apply for an owner licence, an applicant must have a horse of racing age in Ontario. Owners must declare their trainer on the application form.
- Assistant trainer
New trainers must have received accreditation from the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), or hold a valid trainer licence with another racing jurisdiction, before applying for their Thoroughbred trainer licence with the AGCO.
The laws in Ontario require that any person who employs staff must be registered with the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Each year trainers must provide proof in the form of a Clearance Certificate that they are registered and in good standing with the WSIB. A Clearance Certificate can be obtained by contacting a WSIB office.
- Apprentice jockey
Before being granted a jockey’s or apprentice jockey’s licence, each applicant shall present to the Stewards a physician’s report of a complete physical examination, acceptable to the AGCO, and once every two years, an eye examination by an ophthalmologist or an acceptable optometrist.
The expense of these examinations shall be borne by the applicant. The Stewards, at their discretion, may grant temporary licensing without the completion of the above obligations for a specific limited period.
- Jockey’s agent
- Jockey’s valet
An individual applying for a groom licence must have their application form signed by their employer, who must be a trainer with a valid AGCO licence.
- Exercise person
- Hot walker
Occupational personnel are persons employed by the racetrack association, i.e. security, parking, catering, maintenance, cleaners, admissions, program department, publicity and office staff. An individual applying for an occupational licence must have their application form signed by their employer.
Veterinarians applying for an AGCO licence must hold a valid licence with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and be affiliated with a practice that is accredited to practice on horses.
- Authorized Agent
An authorized agent is a person who has been authorized to act on behalf of another individual in a variety of capacities.
Authorizations must be registered with the AGCO and an Authorized Agent Card issued. Owners must complete and submit an Appointment of Authorized Agent form with the appropriate fees to an operating AGCO Racetrack Licensing Office.
All pari-mutuel staff must hold a valid AGCO licence prior to working in the capacity. Failure to be licensed may result in fines for the racetrack association. An individual applying for a pari-mutuel licence must have their application form signed by their employer and be over the age of 18.
A tradesperson is a person not employed by the racetrack association, either directly or indirectly, and could include blacksmiths, feed supply persons, etc. All applicants for a tradesperson licence, both new and renewal, must obtain a signature from the racetrack association management to establish that their presence on the grounds is acceptable to the racetrack association.
- Stable Guest
A spouse, child or regular guest of an owner may apply for a stable guest pass; said owner must hold a valid AGCO licence and be present when the stable guest is in secure areas of the racetrack.
Horse improvement (breeding) programs in Ontario require participants to hold a valid AGCO licence. Individuals who own breeding horses that are not currently racing and wish to participate in horse improvement programs can apply for a program licence.
- Association Official
Association official licences are issued to individuals employed by the racetrack association, or who are working on behalf of the racetrack association, and include: department heads of the racetrack association, any employee needing access to the backstretch or paddock, Official Veterinarians, test inspectors, Lasix veterinarian technicians, OnTrack Media employees and ambulance attendants.
- AGCO Official
A Commission official licence is issued to employees of the AGCO and would include AGCO veterinarians, investigators, horse racing licensing agents, head office staff and Judges/Stewards.
Any individual residing outside Ontario must apply for a licence in the same manner as a resident of Ontario. All forms and fees apply.
The National Compact and Racing Commissioners International (RCI or ARCI) both offer a form of multi-jurisdictional licensing. These memberships are intended to ease the application paperwork for owners who intend to be racing in many jurisdictions. Multi-jurisdictional licensing is not considered reciprocal licensing.
For further information on these memberships:
Under Age Licensing
Persons under 16 years of age may be licensed with the approval of the Stewards and upon written consent of the parent or guardian. No person under 18 years of age will be licensed by the AGCO as an apprentice jockey or jockey, except those who have previously been licensed by another racing regulator.