Originally established in 1950 under the Racing Commission Act, the Ontario Racing Commission is a Crown agency of the Ontario Government responsible for regulating the horse racing industry in Ontario. The Commission reports to the Ministry of Government Services and assists the ministry in fulfilling its responsibilities in ensuring public confidence and social controls in the gaming sector. The ORC maintains the integrity of the horse racing industry through regulation and standards setting.
In response to changes in the industry, the Government of Ontario passed new legislation in 2000, called the Racing Commission Act, 2000. The Act converted the Ontario Racing Commission to a self-financing regulatory agency with a Governing Board.
Members of the Commission continue to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, but the Commission itself operates at arms length from government. Although removed from direct government financing, the Commission remains a Crown agency and is accountable to government through a number of mechanisms, including a yearly audit conducted by the Provincial Auditor. The Governing Board meets on a monthly basis to conduct the affairs of the corporation and to deal with corporate governance issues. Members also perform an adjudicative function through the conduct of hearings on regulatory and policy matters.
These changes have provided the Commission with the tools to make significant improvements to the manner in which the racing industry is regulated. Increased resources have given the Commission the capacity to respond more quickly to issues as they arise. In addition, the ability to implement new regulatory initiatives such as health and safety programs, allow the Commission to be a better and more effective regulator.