September 1, 2014

Ontario Agri Business Association Tells Ontario Government That Harness Racing Spends $30 Million With Feed Suppliers

 

Dear Minister Duncan,

The Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA) is a voluntary, not-for-profit
organization that serves to represent the interests of crop input retailers,
country grain elevator operators and feed manufacturer members working out of
331 locations and employing over 8,000 people in rural communities across
Ontario.

OABA members are very concerned about recent announcements regarding the
future of the slots-at-racetracks partnership. OABA’s members benefit from a
dynamic equine sector in the province and a decision to eliminate the
slots-at-racetracks program would have a significant, negative impact on many of
our member businesses.

A number of our member firms depend on the equine sector and the horse racing
industry in particular for their success. The growth of the racing industry has
been very beneficial at a time when feed production targeting traditional
livestock and poultry sectors is in decline. The harness racing industry alone
is worth over $30 million to Ontario’s feed manufacturers, distributors and
retailers. Equine feed tonnage lost due to this government decision will not be
replaced and will potentially result in the loss of jobs at our member
facilities.

The slots-at-racetracks program has been a successful government/industry
partnership that has helped create a vital and sustainable horse racing industry
in Ontario. This has resulted in positive economic spinoffs for a number of
stakeholders throughout rural economies. OABA strongly encourages the government
to reconsider changes to the slots-at-racetracks program. Rural Ontario cannot
afford to lose an important economic driver like the horse racing industry.

Respectfully submitted,

ONTARIO AGRI BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

David Buttenham
Chief Executive Officer

Cc:
Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
Brian Tropea,
General Manager, Ontario Harness Horse Association