The clock is ticking down to March 31st, the date the Liberal government has set for the elimination of the revenue-sharing Slots at Racetracks Program (SARP), which will have a devastating impact upon racetrack workers across Ontario.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) launched a campaign in January to defend the jobs of 80 workers employed at Georgian Downs Racetrack in Innisfil, whose employment security is linked to the maintenance of the Slots at Racetrack Program. Job insecurity is not unique to Georgian Downs, workers at racetracks across the province will be impacted, as racetracks brace for tremendous revenue losses this spring, impacting over 55,000 jobs associated with the horseracing industry.
More than 100 employees represented by the Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) were recently laid off at Woodbine Racetrack. PSAC’s Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President Sharon DeSousa says Ontarians can expect to see job layoffs continue unless the government changes course:
“Premier Wynne has to act now to protect the good paying jobs Ontario’s horseracing industry sustains. It is clear across the province that racetracks are not going to be able to maintain their current staffing levels if the government replaces the Slots at Racetracks Program with lease agreements, as has been agreed to at more than ten tracks,” said DeSousa.
SARP has annually supported the horseracing industry with $345 million as part of its revenue sharing agreement, and put over $9 billion into the provincial coffers over the past decade. As part of a weak transition plan, the government intends to replace the racetracks’ share of Slots revenue with $50 million over the next three years – an inadequate amount that will see the slow death of a once thriving industry.
The decision to end SARP is part of the OLG’s modernization plan, which hopes to replace Slots revenue with income from major casinos in urban centres across Ontario.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Lino Vieira, PSAC Communications Officer – 416-577-0238 (firstname.lastname@example.org)