Welcome to the OHHA
April 22, 2013
YOU ARE INVITED TO A SPECIAL DINNER WITH ANDREA HORWATH AND TARAS NATYSHAK
This event is scheduled for Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 pm in West Copetown. For further information and the registration form please…..Click here.
March 13, 2013
DINNER WITH TIM HUDAK RESCHEDULED
Due to a scheduling conflict encountered by the PC Party it is necessary to reschedule the dinner with Tim Hudak which was originally slated to take place on March 19th.
This PC fundraiser is now confirmed for Tuesday May 14, 2013; venue and time unchanged. The amended registration form can be accessed here.
The Executive Director of the PC Ontario Fund and OHHA thank you for your understanding and offer sincere apologies to those who have already registered in case this date change causes any inconvenience.
January 10, 2013
OHHA BOARD ELECTS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The OHHA Board of Directors met yesterday, January 9, 2013, to elect the Officers and Executive Committee for 2013.
Ken Hardy was re-elected as President for a third term.
Mr. Hardy thanked the board for its continued support. He acknowledged the difficult circumstances in which the racing industry currently finds itself and he expressed his concerns pertaining to the future of racing.
Other members of the OHHA Executive Committee are:
First Vice President: Jody Jamieson
Second Vice President: Kent Baker
Treasurer: Paul Lindsey
Executive Members: Peter Core, Dave Gibson, Anthony Haughan, Jim Whelan and Mark Williams
December 7 2012
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
The OHHA Annual Membership Meeting is scheduled forSaturday, January 26, 2013 – 2:00 pm Delta Meadowvale Hotel (Hazel McCallion Room) 6750 Mississauga, Ontario
We invite and encourage all our members to attend this meeting.November 1, 2012
OHHA RESPONDS TO OMAFRA PANEL REPORT
The Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA), which represents the majority of Standardbred horsepeople in Ontario, after careful consideration of the final report as prepared by the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel, would like to share its initial reaction to the publicized content.
Unfortunately, we are not greatly surprised by the recommendations as communicated by the panel. Given the process that has surrounded the government’s intentional dismantlement of the harness racing sector the outcome appears to have been predetermined.
To be clear, the decision to kill the Slots-at-Racetracks Program was made before the release of the Drummond report. Mr. Drummond, in his recommendations, noted the program should be reviewed, not eliminated. OHHA has historically supported a review realising there were issues with the existing arrangements, particularly the minimal reinvestment by some racetracks into the infrastructure in order to enhance the industry.
Misinterpreting the recommendation from the Drummond report, the government announced that SARP was dead, effective March 31, 2013. A multitude of reasons were provided for this decision: it was going to help the fiscal position of the province, it was a “subsidy” to the industry, the industry was unsustainable, a new model was needed….. We have heard it all and none of the reasoning withstands even the most basic test of scrutiny.
Given the public pressure applied by OHHA and others, the OMAFRA panel was appointed to appease the industry and buy the government time. This week we were presented the final report excluding a segment of financial information. The panel developed a model based on revenue generated from pari-mutuel wagering in 2011. The report clearly demonstrates that the impact will be significant, particularly on the Standardbred industry.
While we applaud the recommendations calling for accountability and transparency, obligations we have repeatedly asked and encouraged the ORC to enforce, OHHA will not and cannot accept a report that buries a dagger in the back of its membership.
Investments by our members and members from other organizations have grown the economy. In addition to the SARP program contributing in excess of $14 billion dollars to the provincial treasury since its introduction, direct taxation from the economic activity generated by the racing sector is approaching a quarter of a billion dollars. $1.25 Billion dollars per year have been received by the government to provide services for our fellow citizens. Apparently “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” doesn’t register with this government.
The panel shows a certain level of naïveté by suggesting that gutting Standardbred race dates and purses will keep Ontario competitive with other jurisdictions. Given that our major competitors south of the border are increasing racing opportunities and purses, we will become far less competitive in racing opportunities, purse monies and in the breeding shed. How will the demand for the Ontario Standardbred increase under these circumstances? What will be the loss of economic activity and loss of revenue for government under this proposal?
The extreme bias favoring the A Thoroughbreds is an affront to the Standardbred industry. While we will not engage in a divide and conquer discussion, to recommend that Standardbreds lose 54% of race days and over 60% of purse monies, compared to a minimal decline of race days and purses for A Thoroughbreds, is a grave injustice by any measure. Yes, we will hear about the tremendous cut to the Thoroughbred B tracks and OHHA deeply sympathizes with those who will be affected at Ft. Erie Racetrack.
The fact that government doesn’t want a partnership on slot machines but is willing to partner with racetracks on other types of gaming is more than a little confusing. Of course, none of this increased gaming revenue is available to horsepeople, but will be used to offset racetracks operational expenses.
While we thank the panel for its time and effort we feel deeply disheartened. This is a confidence-shaking report, a bad deal for harness racing, and a bad deal for the people of Ontario.
The panel refers to OHRIA as representing the horse racing industry. However, this particular association certainly does not seem to represent the rank and file of the harness racing sector. The latest results of its efforts could not have made this any more evident as reflected in its initial submission to OMAFRA and the ensuing final report presented by the panel.
As we mentioned at the beginning, this was a political process designed to achieve a pre-determined outcome to the benefit of a few and the detriment of many. Ending the SARP was never about the dismal fiscal position of the province; they could have enhanced the program if they wanted to improve the province’s finances.
The only rational response is to reject the report. We must continue to work with all elected officials to move the industry forward in a meaningful manner. As we have since our inception (1961), OHHA will continue to provide open and responsible leadership on behalf of all its members and we welcome and value our members’ continued input.
For further information contact:
Brian Tropea, General Manager
905-854-6442 or 1-866-774-6442 ext. 222
ON OCTOBER 30, 2012 THE HORSE RACING INDUSTRY TRANSITION PANEL’S FINAL REPORT WAS RELEASED.
To read the report…..Click here.
ON AUGUST 17, 2012 THE HORSE RACING INDUSTRY TRANSITION PANEL RELEASED ITS INTERIM REPORT.
To view the report…..Click here.
Panel to Work With Industry on Future of Horse Racing
McGuinty Government Helping Industry Transition to More Sustainable Future
- Work with the industry to help develop a vision for the future.
- Provide recommendations to the government on how to allocate transition funding.
- Advise on the modernization of other industry revenue sources to assist the industry in becoming more self-sufficient.
A final report from the panel is expected in late summer 2012.
- Ontario will provide up to $50 million over three years in transition support to the industry.
- Employment Ontario will help displaced workers in the industry find jobs and training.
- Since 1998, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has provided nearly $3.7 billion to horse racing in Ontario through the Slots at Racetracks program.
- The industry is expected to receive a payment of $340 million from the OLG this year.
- The Slots at Racetracks Program gives 20 per cent of gross slot revenue. That money is shared equally between the track operator and those involved with running horses at the respective tracks. The program will end on March 31, 2013.
- Mark Cripps
- Susan Murray
racing industry facing serious declines
The 2011 racing season has been completed and the statistics are now available. The new racing model developed and implemented by the Ontario Racing Commission for the 2011 season led to declines in purses paid, opportunities and pari-mutuel wagering. To view a comparison between 2010 and 2011 click here.