OLG Modernization: Sousa & Orazietti

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Statement from Minister Sousa in response to the release of the Auditor General’s Special Report on OLG Modernization

I’d like to thank the Auditor for her work in developing this report and its suggestions as we continue to roll out the OLG Modernization plan.

OLG Modernization is a bold plan to bring the province’s gaming strategy into the 21st Century to promote jobs and growth across the Province.

While she highlights some areas where we could have done better…the Auditor General credits Premier Wynne for making important changes to the OLG modernization plan, like implementing a fair and transparent casino hosting fee formula, and horse racing transition assistance.

The AG states OLG’s procurement processes to date have been fair, open, and transparent.

And she credits us for taking a number or steps to prevent and mitigate problem gambling.

The plan was designed in 2012 in response to declining OLG revenues and the need for capital investment to maintain the OLG’s footing.

Modernization set out to increase the OLG dividend to the Province, engage private operators in gaming facilities, and ensure that proper capital investments are made.

When the plan was initially determined, ambitious revenue targets and implementation timelines were set to develop a strategy that best fit the conditions at the time. The risks to implementation and the flexibility of the plan were recognized from the outset.

As we move forward, the OLG is ensuring that the Modernization Plan remains flexible so that implementation is done effectively and is best suited to the needs of communities.

And we are continuing to move forward on it.

In fact, last week we issued the first RFP for land-based gaming.

We have also shown a consistent drive to ensure a new path forward for Ontario’s horse racing industry.

That’s why our government immediately acted upon the recommendations of the Horse Racing transition panel to provide $500 million over five years to support the industry and provide new opportunities for growth.

We’ve also integrated horse racing into our gaming strategy, to ensure it is core to our modernization of the lottery and gaming system in Ontario.

However, we cannot return to the unaccountable that program that the previous PC government created. The Horse Racing Transition panel made clear in their final report that the SARP program lacked transparency and did not focus on what matters; growing the industry.

We have been clear, we believe in a sustainable future for the industry, but the PC government’s Slots At Race Track Program was unaccountable and lacked transparency.

This is exactly why our government cancelled the program, and moved forward with a new plan to support the industry towards a vibrant future.

The central principle of the Modernization Plan is municipal engagement and decision making. The 2012 policy strategy was designed and continues to be an ongoing consultation with municipalities and stakeholders.

We remain committed to attracting new investments in jobs, regional economic development, and maximizing the return from the OLG to the Province.

And that includes OLG’s Sault Ste. Marie Office. It continues to be critical to the success of the lottery and gaming business in Ontario.

These jobs are important for OLG and for the city and we will continue to develop ways to ensure OLG’s office and staff in Sault. Ste. Marie will continue to play a key role.

Both myself and Premier Wynne have been clear that there are no plans to move OLG jobs from Sault Ste. Marie, and that we are committed to keeping OLG jobs in the community.

The OLG will continue to implement the Modernization strategy under the leadership of the new Chair Phil Ollson and Board appointed in 2013.

UPDATE: Sault M.P. Orazietti Issues Statement

Today, Finance Minister Charles Sousa re-asserted the province’s commitment to maintaining the Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s (OLG) head office in Sault Ste. Marie.
 
“The OLG’s Sault Ste. Marie Office continues to be critical to the success of the lottery and gaming business in Ontario,” said MinDavid Orazietti Sault MPPister Sousa. “These jobs are important for OLG and for the city and we will continue to develop ways to ensure OLG’s office and staff in Sault. Ste. Marie will continue to play a key role. Both myself and Premier Wynne have been clear that there are no plans to move OLG jobs from Sault Ste. Marie, and that were are committed to keeping OLG jobs and head office in the community.”
 
Minister Sousa re-confirmed the province’s position following the Auditor General’s report on OLG Modernization.
 
“Our government has consistently affirmed the importance of maintaining OLG jobs and head office in Sault Ste. Marie because we recognize that OLG employees in the Sault are critical to the long-term success to the modernization plan and the industry as a whole,” said David Orazietti, MPP. “I’m very pleased by today’s news restating that position. These jobs are vital to the economic well-being of our city, and I will continue to work with the Premier and the Minister of Finance to further strengthen OLG’s presence in our community moving forward.”
 
In April 2011, Orazietti and OLG CEO Rod Phillips announced that the government did not intend to move forward with the Drummond report’s recommendation on OLG restructuring, and that the Sault office would continue to play an integral role in OLG operations.
 
Since that time, Minister of Finance Charles Sousa has consistently maintained that position, stating that “I continue to assure you that the OLG’s head office in Sault Ste. Marie will remain open.”
 
Last August, the Premier further confirmed that “the province’s number one priority right now as a government is helping businesses create jobs and grow. Our plan includes the OLG head office remaining in Sault Ste. Marie. Keeping that office there has and will continue to help the city and local economy remain on sound footing so it can continue to prosper. Through modernization, we will ensure that Sault Ste. Marie continues to have an important role in the shape of the OLG’s future.”
 
Announced in 2012, the OLG Modernization plan is designed to develop the province’s gaming industry and create jobs and economic growth throughout the province. Once fully implemented, modernization will generate approximately $1 billion annually in additional revenue, which goes directly towards funding hospitals and other provincial priorities.

 

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Craig Huckerby
Craig Huckerby is a seasoned broadcast and media professional with over 38 years in local media. Starting in television, Craig became known as "the weather guy" on local television before pioneering internet media in the Sault. Craig is credited for bringing local television back to the Sault via the internet in 2003 with LTVNEWS.COM and was instrumental in launching SooNews.ca and Local2.ca. Craig is happy to be part of the Sault's newest media team of ONNtv and SaultOnline.com