Our government recognizes the long and rich history of horse racing right here in Ontario, and as Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, I have always believed that a successful and sustainable horse racing industry plays a vital role in local economies all across this great province.
Horse racing is not only an exhilarating sport that brings people together, but also plays a crucial role in local economic development — supporting thousands of good jobs in communities across Ontario.
As part of our government’s ongoing commitment to the horse racing industry, we recently announced a new long-term funding agreement of $105 million a year for 19 years, starting next April.
While our government will be providing the financial framework over the next two decades, along with new accountability and transparency measures, the sector will be responsible, through Ontario Racing, for making effective business decisions that will ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of horse racing and breeding in Ontario.
We know that regional race tracks play a unique role in the cultural fabric of our rural communities. We also know there has been a growing uncertainty about the long-term viability of these tracks. Because of this, we’re investing an additional $2 million each year for the next three years to help tracks innovate and diversify their businesses, allowing the industry to continue to thrive and enrich small communities across the province.
As a government, we believe in making investments that create good jobs, support local economic growth and build up our local rural communities.
This is a part of our government’s plan to support care and create opportunity in rural Ontario during this period of rapid economic change.
It is our investments into sectors like horse racing, as well as in infrastructure, small businesses and broadband that will ensure that people today, as well as our future generations, have the opportunity to live, work and have a good life all across the province of Ontario.
Jeff Leal is Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs.