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Ontario Racing Commission
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About the ORC

Core Business Functions

Business and Strategic Plans

The Commission will continue to devote resources to meeting the core business functions which support its regulatory and legislated mandate. These are:

1. Officiate at all races

The Commission provides three officials (judges or stewards) to supervise races conducted at Ontario’s 18 licensed racetracks. These officials are responsible for the enforcement of the Rules of Racing. Officials conduct investigations into alleged rule violations, fine/suspend licensees for violations and conduct hearings on regulatory matters as required.

2. Compliance

This function, performed by investigators and/or compliance officers, includes:
  • Administration of the human drug-testing and breathalyzer program;
  • Searches for prohibited items (drugs/syringes);
  • Enforcement of racetrack security standards.

3. Investigations

The Commission employs civilian investigators and seconds police officers from the Illegal Gambling Unit of the Investigation Bureau of the Ontario Provincial Police. Key functions of the ORC’s Investigations Unit include:

  • Investigations of the more serious racing violations such as fraud and hidden ownerships;
  • Due diligence investigations on licence applicants or licensees;
  • Investigations into illegal gambling activities;
  • Investigations of horse abuse, race fixing or other racing and rule infractions, well as investigating horse deaths;
  • Monitoring and enforcing equine medication control programs;
  • Liaison between the Commission, the police community and other civilian regulatory bodies in and out of Ontario;
  • Enforcement of Judges/Stewards’ and Commission orders and rulings.  

4. Licensing

The Ontario Racing Commission issues over 30,000 licences to individuals and businesses involved in the horse racing industry. A large part of the licensing function is performed at each track facility and licensing agents are available during live racing for more effective client service. The licensing process includes applications from new racetrack owners, teletheatre locations and individuals involved in the industry (i.e.grooms, trainers, etc.).

5. Adjudication

The Commission hears appeals of rulings made by Judges and Stewards under the Rules of Racing and of the Director under the Rules and the Racing Commission Act, 2000. Appeals on minor matters may also be heard by an Industry Appeal Board, which is more accessible to licensees, less formal and less costly.

6. Regulation of Racetracks

In the public interest, the Commission Administration annually licenses racetracks and reviews racetrack business plans, backstretch improvement and fire safety plans and health and safety improvements as part of this process. In addition, the Commission currently holds public hearings on any proposed new racetrack facilities and/or relocations of existing racetrack facilities.

7. Public Hearings

The Commission conducts public hearings as a means of dealing with administrative issues or as a means of obtaining public input into programs or policies affecting the industry.

In addition, the Commission has sole jurisdiction and discretion in granting race dates in the province and may consider applications in a public hearing in order to consider the views of other tracks, horsepeople and members of the public. The Commission also reviews business plans put forward by the individual racetracks prior to approving race dates.

8. Industry Support

In the complex environment of horse racing, the Commission is committed to using its resources to provide support to the industry where issues arise that have regulatory implications. The organization also supports the industry through its responsibilities for program development, oversight and program administration.

a) Industry Planning: In response to issues raised by the industry, the Commission provides support to the industry through integrated planning efforts, facilitation and program development.

b) Program Delivery: The ORC oversees and administers industry programs where the Province of Ontario has invested public money in the industry.

Horse Improvement Program: The Horse Improvement Program (HIP) is a racing and breeding incentive program that was established in 1974. The program plays a direct role in increasing employment in the racing industry, helping Ontario farms remain economically stable and encouraging ownership in Ontario-sired horses. The Commission assumed responsibility for the management and administration of HIP in 2005.

Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program: Through an agreement between the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and owners of the Ajax Downs Racetrack, the Commission assumed responsibility for the planning, development and administration of funds from the industry slot revenue generated at the track. The Commission determined that an industry wide plan was required to ensure the broadest impact to create economic benefit for the Ontario economy. Revenue to the program began in March 2005 with the opening of the slot facility at Ajax Downs.

ORC Google Location 10 Carlson Court

Suite 400

Toronto, Ontario

M9W 6L2

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