06/18/2013 12:09 EDT | Updated 08/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Horse Racing Towards a Better Economy

The new Ontario government believes in a strong, sustainable future for the horse racing industry in this province. We have a plan, guided by the report of the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel, for a way forward that will put the industry on a sustainable path - and while we've already made a lot of progress, we know there is more work to be done.

We have committed up to $180 million to support the industry over the next three years as it adapts to a smaller and more sustainable model. Agreements for transition funding have been signed with 12 racetracks and there will be horse racing at 15 tracks right across the province this season. Details about those agreements are publicly available on the Ministry of Agriculture and Food website.

Last week, I was happy to announce that the government would support the Horse Improvement Program - which will total up to $30 million in each of the next two years - to give Ontario's vibrant racehorse breeding industry the confidence that there is a future here for Ontario-bred racehorses.

The Horse Racing Transition Panel has spent hundreds of hours working with stakeholders. In their report, they recommended a new market-driven model that works for the industry and is good public policy. This model will include integrating horse racing with the modernization of the province's gaming strategy, which will provide additional revenue sources for racetracks.

I have asked the Panel to consult with the industry over the summer and to present a detailed a plan for the future of horseracing in Ontario by October 2013 that would see the industry take ownership for its long term future success. Those consultations will begin on June 21, and I encourage everyone who has an interest to share their views.

I know how important the horse racing and breeding industries are to the culture and economy of communities across Ontario, and that is why our government will continue to work with the industry to ensure that it has a strong, sustainable future.

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