Skip to main content

Board Governance

On June 4, 2018, Ontario Racing (OR) announced the full composition of its new Board of Directors.
The first order of business for the new Board was electing, unanimously, Mr. John Hayes, the Independent Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Hayes brings significant business management and executive expertise to the role of OR Chair, with former positions in finance and administration positions with General Electric, Black & Decker and Home Depot.  He also has over 25 years of experience as a Standardbred race horse owner. He previously served as Gaming Director with Ontario Lottery and Gaming, with operational responsibilities at Georgian Downs, Ajax Downs, Grand River Raceway, Woodbine and other racetracks across the province. He most recently served as an At-Large Director of Ontario Racing.
"I am honoured to be appointed to the Independent Chair of Ontario Racing," said Mr. Hayes. "I have a passion for horse racing and am confident in the direction and approach of Ontario Racing. I look forward to working with the industry’s diverse group of stakeholders to create a sustainable future for the sport in Ontario."
In addition to Mr. Hayes, there are 10 seats, five from industry associations and five from racetracks, on Ontario Racing’s Board of Directors.
Bill O'Donnell (President, COSA, on behalf of Standardbred Horsepeople), Sue Leslie (President, HBPA, on behalf of Thoroughbred Horsepeople), Bob Broadstock (President, Quarter Horse Racing Owners of Ontario, on behalf of Quarter Horse Horsepeople) and Walter Parkinson (President, SBOA, on behalf of Standardbred Breeders), will represent the Associations on the board.
Jim Lawson (CEO, Woodbine Entertainment, on behalf, of Premier Thoroughbred Racetracks), Jim Thibert (CEO, Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, on behalf of Signature Thoroughbred Racetracks), Jessica Buckley (President, Woodbine Mohawk Park, on behalf of Premier Standardbred Racetracks), Hugh Mitchell (President, Western Fair District, on behalf of Signature Standardbred Racetracks) and Ian Fleming (General Manager, Clinton Raceway, on behalf of Grassroots Standardbred Racetracks) will represent the racetracks in the new composition.
“John brings substantial expertise and vast perspective in the areas of racing, finance and administration to his role as Chair of Ontario Racing," said Mr. Mitchell. “His previous experience on the OR Board, combined with his extensive grassroots racing experience make him the ideal person for this position.”
“Ontario Racing Management (ORM) looks forward to working with John and the rest of the Ontario Racing board in building a long-term foundation for success for the province’s horse racing industry,” said Katherine Curry, Executive Director, ORM. “Ontario Racing’s emphasis on transparency, inclusiveness, credibility and engagement to continue to develop confidence and credibility with all stakeholders in the industry will be critical to its achievements. Ontario Racing has laid the foundation for long-term success for all its stakeholders.”Learn more about Ontario Racing's Board Governance:

An overview of the Ontario Racing governance structure.

The Ontario Racing Board of Directors is representative of the broader horse racing industry to ensure that OR is led by experienced and knowledgeable individuals.

To promote and further the interests of horse racing in the province by fostering a trusted partnership with government and supporting the industry's self-determination for a sustainable horse racing industry.

Rules applicable to all committees of the Board.

Read here: Committees of the Board 

Customer Advisory / New Products, Technology and Revenue Committee

Read here: CNC Mandate


The Ontario Racing (OR) Conflict of Interest Policy enforces the existing OR Code of Conduct. This policy ensures integrity in all decision-making processes of the board of directors of OR is maintained by ensuring that directors are free from conflict or potential conflict in their decision making. The policy outlines the directors’ fiduciary duty to avoid conflicts of interest.  The policy will assist all directors and officers to understand their obligations when a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest arises.

Read here: Conflict of Interest Policy

The 2017-2018 Ontario Racing (OR) Business Plan describes the activities that OR will undertake over the next two years to significantly advance its strategic mandate and the fulfillment of its strategic objectives.  It reflects a deliberate and focused approach to building a long-term foundation for success, with an emphasis on inclusiveness, engagement, credibility, and transparency.

Read here: 2017-18 Business Plan