The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) is strongly condemning
the government’s decision to force hundreds of hard working Ontarians out of
work by closing the OLG slots at racetracks in Windsor, Fort Erie, and Sarnia.
“This is a sad day for hundreds of families in these communities who found
out today that they are being forced out of work by the government,” said Sue
Leslie, President of OHRIA. “Closing these slots will undoubtedly hurt horse
racing in Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia, which in turn will cause even more
economic pain for these communities,” Leslie added.
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s decisions to close the slots in Windsor and
Fort Erie particularly, don’t make sense in light of the government’s stated job
creation efforts. Fort Erie’s 115-year-old racetrack is the town’s largest
employer and Windsor already has Ontario’s highest unemployment rate (10.7%)
before the decision was made to force more than two hundred people out of work.
“We appreciate the government is facing difficult economic realities.
However, the government should recognize the significant private sector
investment made in breeding, training and farm operations, along with related
infrastructure, all of which have huge economic spinoffs to all levels of
government,” said Sue Leslie.
“It is important that the government and Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) work together on a transformation plan to ensure a strong core industry that allows for economic growth and job maintenance for the thousands of individuals who earn their livelihood in horse
racing and breeding.”