Ontario Minister of Agriculture Ted McMeekin has announced that the OMAFRA Panel charged with recommending the path ahead for a sustainable Ontario horse racing industry has requested more time to complete its deliberations.
The Panel’s final Report had been due on September 30th, but is now expected around mid-October.
Breeders with yearlings in the Forest City Sale had been praying for a concrete government commitment prior to that London auction on October 13-14. Any positive news before that Sale now seems extremely unlikely.
McMeekin’s Press Release appears below:
September 27, 2012
The horse racing industry transition panel has asked me, on behalf of itself and the industry, for additional time to complete its work. The panel members have told me that they are encouraged by the industry’s willingness to work together on a successful transition to a more self-sustainable business model.
The panel wrote:
We have been engaged with the industry and believe we have made substantive progress on delivering on our mandate. In fact several representatives of the industry have given us written proposals on a way forward. We recognize that the horse racing industry is at a crossroad and has challenging decisions to make as it considers its future opportunities.
In order to deliver a comprehensive final report with thoughtful recommendations to the government, we need additional time. On behalf of the panel and the industry we request up to another two weeks to explore details of how such a model would work. We are optimistic that there is the potential to develop a framework that could work for both the industry and government.
I have agreed to the panel’s request and look forward to receiving its final report, in mid-October.
The Honourable Ted McMeekin, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs