On Thursday, the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) issued the following letter to Deloitte Consulting, the consulting group currently engaged by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) to study the economic impacts of the Racing/Breeding industry in Ontario.
In the letter, the SBOA states that "notice has been given to the government pursuant to the Proceedings Against the Crown Act and litigation will commence shortly." SBOA President Walter Parkinson told Trot Insider that due to a statue of limitations the notice had to be filed prior to March 12, 2014 -- two years after the initial announcement that the Ontario government would be ending the province's partnership with racing under the slots-at-racetracks program.
The SBOA is asking Deloitte to clarify its mandate with respect to its study.
"If Deloitte has been, or may be engaged by the government to assist it in respect of litigation arising out of the cancellation of SARP, and without understanding more, we do not consider recent requests for economic information from standardbred breeders to be appropriate."
The letter appears in its entirety below.
As you know the SBOA represents the standardbred breeding industry in Ontario. As you may also know the government of Ontario has, to date, refused to discuss compensation for the harm that breeders have suffered as a result of the precipitous cancellation of SARP in March 2012.
As a result, Standardbred breeders have been forced to look to the courts for compensation for the harm they have suffered. Notice has been given to the government pursuant to the Proceedings Against the Crown Act and litigation will commence shortly. This is most unfortunate, particularly in light of the government’s decision to provide in excess of $80.6 million dollars in compensation to racetrack owners. In order to properly understand and respond to Deloitte’s requests we would appreciate clarification of Deloitte’s engagement and in particular the entity which it has been engaged by, the nature of the mandate it has agreed to perform and whether any part of that mandate includes litigation support in claims by standardbred breeders arising out the cancellation of SARP.
If Deloitte has been, or may be engaged by the government to assist it in respect of litigation arising out of the cancellation of SARP, and without understanding more, we do not consider recent requests for economic information from standardbred breeders to be appropriate. We also require clarification of how the confidentiality of any information that has been requested will be ensured and the parties with which this information will be shared.
Standardbred breeders would be pleased to have a discussion with Deloitte on behalf of the government about the appropriate measure of compensation within the context of bona fide settlement discussions or within the context of litigation. Accordingly, until such time as the mandate of Deloitte has been clarified we are not in a position to provide information. We trust you understand our position and would be pleased to discuss any aspect of this letter further with you.
From the SBOA (Ontario)