Superior Court Rules In Favour Of Breeders

By Ben Hamill - August 04 2020
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Superior Court Rules In Favour Of Breeders

The Superior Court of Canada, in a recent landmark ruling, ordered those individuals affected by the cancellation of government’s Slots at Racetracks program, deserving of monetary compensation for damages suffered. The way in which the Government of Ontario went about cancelling the program, ruled Justice M. Emery, has had a hugely negative impact on many breeders and other individuals involved in the local Standardbred horse racing industry.

The program, which was first launched in the early 1990s, sought to support the local horse racing industry, and at the same time also limit the expansion of casinos across Ontario. The revenue generated by the track-side slots venues supported not only actual racetrack operations, but also a host of different ongoing local projects.

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Significantly Short Notice

It all however came to an abrupt standstill when in 2012 the Liberal government drew a red line through the entire program – a program initially instituted by the Progressive Conservative government of the day. The sudden and abrupt nature of the cancellation of the program, much more so than the actual cancellation itself, is considered that which caused the bulk of the economic damage suffered by local horseracing individuals.

The industry was during the time leading up to the cancellation, afforded to more than a 6-weeks-long notice period in order to prepare for the final shutdown of the program. The situation was made all the worse by several people having had relied on the program for an income and livelihood. Not only was the cancellation considered to have been finalised on extremely short notice, but it also affected the entire industry in a very severe way.

The Turning Point

Two more years of extreme financial difficulty passed before in 2014, several local breeders joined forces by instituting legal proceedings against local government as a result of the challenges caused by the abrupt cancellation of the mentioned slots program.

Since it’s a well-known fact that cycles pertaining to Ontario’s horseracing industry last at least 5 weeks at a time, a 6-week’s notice period is obviously not nearly long enough in order to provide ample preparation time for any changes to come. The financial impact of the cancellation proved especially devastating on the Ontario Harness Horse Association, with the association having described the impact of the short notice as having been severe, significant, and substantial.

Since the cancellation constituted a breach on the part of the Ontario Government, ruled Justice Emery, government will now have to sufficiently compensate local horse breeders for the hardship and difficulties endured as a result of government’s thoughtless actions.

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