Horse Breeders Sue the OLG for Breach of Contract

A lawsuit involving breach of contract launched earlier this year by Ontario horse breeders has resurfaced as an election issue this spring as candidates hit the campaign trail.

A group of 35 standardbred horse breeders launched the breach of contract suit against the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to the tune of $65 million several weeks ago. The amounts claimed include $60 million for “negligence and/or intentional misrepresentation, breach of contract and unjust enrichment,” and $5 million in punitive damages.

The Background

The lawsuit has to do with the OLG’s cancellation of a program called the Slots at Racetrack Program or SRP. In short, the SRP provided enhanced purse money via revenue from the slot machines – up to about $345 million per year for the industry and it had been in place since 1998. All the stakeholders, including horse owners and racetrack owners, have felt the disastrous effects to a decision that has virtually decimated the business in this province.

The program was cancelled by the government officially on March 12, 2012 and the two-year limitation on launching a lawsuit was approaching.

The Lawsuit

The standardbred horse breeders claim that cancelling the SRP “was arbitrary, capricious, irrational and demonstrates bad faith by the OLG and Ontario.” The suit also alleges that while the Ontario government has paid more than $80 million in compensation to racetrack owners, it has not offered fair compensation to the horse breeders. Other issues in dispute:

  • The lawsuit alleges that there were certain obligations on both parties – the government and the horse breeders – regarding how the program would run in the future, including providing sufficient notice of cancellation.
  • A notice period of several years would acknowledge the nature of the industry and its necessity for making long term investments.
  • The lawsuit also includes several statements from government officials the claimants say is proof the provincial government and the OLG both breached their contractual obligations to horse breeders.

What About Your Cancellation Clause?

The cancellation clause is a very important part of any contract – but especially one that deals with your income. An employment contract involves your bread and butter so it’s vital to make sure your interests are protected and that you won’t be left in the lurch when it’s been cancelled without proper notice or you’re stuck in an untenable situation with no good way out.

  • You need someone in your corner.

Whether you’re about to sign a contract or you’re currently involved in one and thinking of getting out, cancellation clauses and other issues can be complex and the consequences far reaching.

Know your rights. Contact the breach of contract lawyers at Petrillo Law today by calling (905) 949-9433 and let us use our expertise to help you make the right decisions.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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