The horseracing industry has been a part of the fabric of communities in rural Ontario for over 150 years. It has been the model for horseracing programs throughout North America. The horseracing industry paid a total of $1.5 billion in wages and salaries each year and generated $2.5 Billion to the Ontario economy. As many as 60,000 full and part time jobs were dependent on this successful industry. These included drivers, breeders, grooms, blacksmiths, veterinarians, feed producers and sellers, trainers and so on.
Much of the success of the industry in Ontario was due to the successful and mutually-beneficial partnership between the horseracing industry and the Ontario government through the “Slots at Racetracks” program. In early 2012, the McGuinty government announced that the program would end, thereby throwing the industry into chaos and uncertainty.
Despite band aid attempts by the Wynne government to modify its original decision, the results have been devastating. Thousands of jobs have been lost and the breeding industry has virtually collapsed and the majority of tracks are now closed. The impact can also be seen through the euthanizing of tens of thousands of horses, which found themselves unemployed and unaffordable. The outcome of the government's policy has been a tragic.
Click below to watch my most recent question about horseracing in the Legislature: