Service Strategy and Experience

The AGCO’s Service Strategy and Experience Branch’s mandate is to deliver on the AGCO’s Service Excellence strategic objective by working with partners across the organization to ensure:

  • a strong service culture is developed and embedded;
  • customer needs are the organizing principle around which policy development, service design and delivery are planned and executed;
  • AGCO service channels function optimally and meet customer expectations; and
  • the customer experience is monitored, measured, and managed.

In 2020–2021, the branch has enhanced its capacity with additional expertise in service analytics, and service design, to better assist the AGCO putting the customer at the centre of all service design and improvement initiatives.

iAGCO and service improvements

In October 2020, the AGCO launched the final phase of iAGCO online service delivery. The AGCO’s Digital First strategy includes modernizing service channels to provide an enhanced experience.

Organizations seeking charitable gaming licences from the AGCO and Electronic Gaming Suppliers seeking gaming approvals now conduct all AGCO-related transactions online through the iAGCO portal.

iAGCO has been the largest transformational project the AGCO has undertaken to modernize how we conduct our business, aligning with our goal to be a Modern Regulator and meeting our Service Experience objective of offering customers an easy, convenient and digital way of doing business with us. Now, all AGCO licensees, registrants and authorization holders can conduct their transactions online anytime from anywhere.

The AGCO was especially well-positioned to leverage iAGCO in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our online service platform allowed most of our customers to continue to transact with the AGCO despite unprecedented emergency measures, while allowing AGCO staff to seamlessly transition to working remotely.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant economic hardship for many AGCO licensees and registrants, particularly in bars, restaurants, casino gaming and horse racing. The AGCO has taken unprecedented steps to provide support by extending licensing and registration terms in 2020.

iAGCO user survey responses consistently show that our customers are extremely satisfied with the iAGCO services they use and appreciate the improved service experience. From the beginning, the rates for auto-approvals and auto-issuances have been high and have only grown over time:

  • As of September 2020, there were 190,902 iAGCO portal users.
  • From iAGCO launch in May 2017 to October 2020, 87% of 13,118 user survey respondents indicated they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their experience using iAGCO.

As AGCO staff close out of this project by transitioning tasks, roles and responsibilities to ongoing operations, a new iAGCO Product Team is delivering on the AGCO’s strategic business goals through the fostering and building of iAGCO functionality. The AGCO’s Project Management Office, which provided leadership and oversight from start to finish and worked closely with our vendor, Computronix, has also undergone change to better respond to ongoing corporate project needs. The AGCO continues to refocus its efforts to further develop the iAGCO platform to deliver on organizational modernization and transformation goals.

TABLE 5: iAGCO liquor & gaming submission rates & auto-renewals




Online submission rate for liquor applicants



Online submission rate for gaming applicants



SOP auto-issue



Liquor licences auto-renewals



Gaming registration auto-renewals



The decrease in 2020–21 numbers can be attributed to the COVID-19 emergency measures.

TABLE 6: iAGCO and service improvements


2019–20 Volumes

2020–21 Volumes

Online Regulatory Notifications



Liquor Objections









Cannabis Submissions

(from the public and municipalities)






Here is what customers have to say about iAGCO:

“Your customer support is magnificent!”
“The process was very smooth and simple.”
“I found the AGCO portal very user friendly. Best Government Website ever!”

TABLE 7: Contact Centre and customer service support

The AGCO is committed to supporting its customers, the public and stakeholders through effective customer service support across a variety of channels.




Telephone Contacts (Contact Centre)



In-person customers (Head Office)



(Head Office in-person Services were halted, and transitioned online due to the COVID-19 Pandemic)

Self-Help (using automated voice messaging system)



Web Chat




AGCO website visits





*Web Chat volumes are from September 2019 to March 2020.

Customer satisfaction, performance and continuous improvement

The AGCO is committed to the continuous improvement of its customers’ service experiences and uses both quantitative service performance measures and customer feedback to gauge service performance and uncover customer insights that are used to improve service design and delivery.

Since March 19, 2020, AGCO Customer Services has offered Contact Centre services remotely, in accordance with Ontario’s COVID-19 Response. Using remote technology that was enabled to support the AGCO’s Continuity of Operations Planning, the AGCO pivoted to a virtual contact centre environment with no break in customer service delivery, while supporting public health safety objectives.

During this fiscal year, the remotely operated Contact Centre answered 91% of customer calls within five minutes or less, exceeding its 80% service level target. AGCO customer surveys indicated a customer satisfaction rating of 84% for those who called the Contact Centre, the same rating as the previous year.

Customer satisfaction surveys of the AGCO’s common service channels (iAGCO, website and voice) indicate an overall customer satisfaction rating of 72%, down from 78% in the previous fiscal year. With the Contact Centre’s rate unchanged at 84%, and a slight decline of the AGCO survey (41% to 39%), the most significant change was to iAGCO satisfaction, from 78% in 2019–20 to 67% in 2020–21. The AGCO experienced significant changes in the composition of licences being processed that relate directly to the opening and closure of business activities as part of the Province’s COVID response. Due to closures, typically more satisfied customers, including SOP applicants, represented a much smaller proportion of total services in 2020–21 than in previous years.

Complaints and inquiries

The AGCO’s Complaints & Inquiries Handling Policy continues to focus on complaints analysis, continuous improvement, and evidence-based decision making, with a renewed focus on ensuring complaint documentation is consistently meeting the needs of both due diligence requirements, and complainant satisfaction. Through regular performance monitoring, the AGCO’s turnaround for addressing regulatory complaints greater than 30 days improved to 26% in 2020–21 from 30% in 2019–20.

New service channel: Web Chat for SOPs and cannabis

In September 2019, the AGCO launched a new channel of communication to support and further enhance the customer service experience. Web Chat offers customers a direct, web-based digital line to the Contact Centre Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This popular service, currently available to Special Occasion Permit and cannabis customers, is scheduled to expand to other lines of business.

Compliance Services

Compliance Services (CS) is responsible for conducting regulatory inspections, audits and financial investigations across all lines of business regulated by the AGCO. Throughout 2020–21, CS continued to conduct regulatory inspections, in-person and virtually, across all lines of business during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure business continuity while supporting the broader public health objectives.

Audit and Financial Investigations Branch

  1. Casinos and slot machine facilities
    In 2020–2021, the casino sector transitioned to a private sector–operated model as part of the OLG’s modernization strategy. It also fully transitioned to a standards-based regulatory approach, under which the AGCO establishes clear industry objectives and standards that regulated entities are responsible for meeting.

    This approach benefits both the AGCO and Operators through reduced administrative burden, increased operational flexibility and strengthened regulatory outcomes. It also allows the AGCO to proactively manage the evolving nature of its regulated industries and sectors while taking on new regulatory responsibilities.

    When conducting an audit at a casino facility, the AGCO assesses site compliance with the requirements under the Gaming Control Act (GCA), the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, 2001, and related regulations. The AGCO helps regulated entities to comply with regulatory requirements by taking an approach based on education, collaboration and deterrence.

    During 2020–2021, the AGCO carried out three risk-based audits/reviews.

  2. Internet gaming (igaming)
    As part of its regulatory assurance activities, the AGCO conducts:
    • audits
    • compliance monitoring and reviews
    • technical monitoring of the igaming platform
    • investigations of suspicious behaviour within the province’s gaming platform.

    The AGCO applies a risk-based approach to all of its activities, including its eligibility assessment and registration process, technical assessment and approval of updates to the OLG igaming solution and new games, and the application of regulatory assurance activities to assess compliance with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.
    During 2020–2021, the AGCO carried out three risk-based audits/reviews.

  3. Charitable gaming (cGaming)
    As part of the ongoing multi-year initiative to revitalize and modernize charitable bingo in the province, the OLG and the charitable gaming Operators signed an amended agreement in 2019. This provides Operators with increased flexibility in their overall conduct of the business and management of their operations while undertaking a number of new accountabilities. Operators are now accountable for their compliance with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.
    To help Operators comply with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming, the AGCO presented education sessions for two new cGaming centres during the Fall of 2020.
  4. Other charitable gaming
    In addition to cGaming centres managed and operated by licensed Service Providers/Operators in partnership with charities, traditional paper-based bingo events conducted and managed by licensed charitable organizations continue to operate in Ontario. Charitable gaming revenues, including those that come from traditional bingos, are an important source of funding for a number of not-for-profit organizations.
    The AGCO continued to support the charitable gaming industry by supporting fundraising opportunities for charities and providing modernization initiatives for suppliers to support business growth. This included the Bingo Revenue Model, introduction of eRaffles using a random number generator, online 50/50 draws, changes to the break open ticket regulatory framework, the launch of Catch the Ace lotteries, as well as work with the Charitable Gaming Strategic Working Group and Mega Raffle Working Group. While the role of provincial and municipal licensing authorities remains in place, this model provides for flexibility in how charitable games are licensed, managed and conducted.
  5. OLG lotteries
    The AGCO conducts audits and reviews of the OLG’s lottery management functions, processes and systems. Applying a risk-based approach, the AGCO completed one technology-related audit of a lottery system and continued to monitor the implementation of the OLG’s lottery modernization. The OLG continued to modernize key components of its lottery and igaming business, including a new OLG Player Platform, replacement of lottery terminals, an enhanced sports betting solution, a new web and app presence, as well as new games.

    During 2020–2021, the AGCO monitored ongoing changes to the OLG’s lottery platform, assessed related risks, educated new Gaming-Related Suppliers on AGCO’s regulatory requirements and expectations, and assessed technology-related readiness.

  6. Horse racing
    The AGCO conducts audits and reviews of Ontario racetracks to assess the effectiveness of governance structures and processes, the integrity of funds management, compliance with racetrack licences and with the Rules of Racing. AGCO Audit also collaborates closely with the OLG in areas of shared interest, such as governance and integrity of purse account management.
    In 2020–2021, the AGCO carried out two follow-up audits of Ontario racetracks.
  1. Alcohol – wineries and liquor
    The AGCO is responsible for administering the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) and specific sections of the Liquor Control Act (LCA). The AGCO’s regulatory responsibilities include the licensing and regulation of the sale and service of beverage alcohol in liquor-licensed establishments (such as bars and restaurants) and manufacturers.
    In 2020–2021, the AGCO conducted a variety of regulatory assurance activities, including five financial reviews in support of inspections conducted by AGCO Inspectors of licensed liquor establishments that were not compliant with terms and conditions of their licence and provisions of the LLA/LCA.
    As part of an existing Memorandum of Understanding with the AGCO, the LCBO conducts regular compliance audits of licensed wine manufacturers on behalf of the AGCO. During 2020–2021, a total of 245 audits of wine manufacturers was completed. In addition, the AGCO completed financial/compliance reviews of two licensed liquor establishments and three licensed wine boutiques.
  2. Cannabis retail stores
    Cannabis Private retail stores were permitted to sell cannabis beginning on April 1, 2019, to help eliminate the illegal market and provide economic development opportunities for businesses in Ontario.
    The AGCO fulfills its responsibility for licensing retailers and authorizing stores by conducting eligibility assessments and enforcing legislation and the Registrar’s Standards. This includes conducting inspections, assessing point-of-sale and inventory tracking systems, education and other regulatory assurance activities. The AGCO focuses on the safe, responsible and lawful sale of cannabis, consistent with government legislation.
    In 2020–2021, the AGCO worked with the Ontario Cannabis Store and industry partners to amend the Registrar’s Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores for “Click & Collect” eCommerce sales of cannabis products.
    As part of cannabis pre-opening inspections, Inspectors conducted 522 completed systems assessment (point-of-sale systems, inventory tracking system, click & collect systems and payment processors).
  3. Financial due diligence and investigations
    The Branch’s Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) conducts financial due diligence reviews to assess a licence or registration applicant’s ability to conduct its business in accordance with the principles of honesty, integrity, and financial responsibility. FIU reports support the eligibility assessment process and licensing and registration decisions made by the Licensing and Registration Branch.
    In 2020–2021, the FIU provided forensic expertise to support investigations by the AGCO/OPP’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau of suspected thefts or misuse of charitable lottery funds. The FIU completed 15 financial investigations.

Compliance Services inspections

In 2020–2021, CS continued to focus its resources on areas of higher risk with a continued emphasis on being outcomes-based and compliance-focused. Inspectors achieved this by investing significant effort into proactively working with licensees and registrants to ensure regulatory compliance.

Over the fiscal year, CS effectively used virtual compliance activities that allowed for continued communications between the AGCO and its stakeholders during the pandemic and allowed for enhanced service delivery with less regulatory burden.

Strategic partnerships

CS recognizes the benefits of collaborative working relationships with police services and other regulatory bodies. Throughout 2020–2021, CS continued to seek out new strategic partnerships and collaborative approaches to promote compliance among all industries and sectors regulated by the AGCO.

In this fiscal year, CS continued to increase its collaboration with municipal partners, including participation in a new multi-ministry COVID safety awareness and compliance team of more than 200 provincial offences officers from various ministries throughout Ontario. This coordinated provincial initiative to combat COVID is an area where CS has been instrumental in assisting the effort to keep Ontarians safe.

CS has continued to work in strong collaboration with its strategic partners from the local police, public health units, and bylaw enforcement departments to limit duplication of local compliance and enforcement efforts.

TABLE 8: Compliance Services inspections – cannabis







Cannabis pre-opening






Unannounced inspections



All other inspection types



TABLE 9: Compliance Services inspections – raffles







Infractions cited



In addition to commercial gaming inspections, the AGCO continued to conduct inspections at sites that fall under 207(1)(b) of the Criminal Code. These sites are conducted and managed by the OLG (see “3. Charitable Gaming (cGaming)”).

AGCO COs also provide education and outreach to the charitable gaming sector to ensure continued compliance.

Help us improve the AGCO website

Complete a short survey