First Nations Force Ontario and OLG into Arbitration

MISSISSAUGAS OF NEW CREDIT TERRITORY, ON, May 17, 2017 /CNW/ - The Ontario First Nations (2008) Limited Partnership (OFNLP2008) has initiated arbitration proceedings against Ontario and OLG in an effort to force them to honour their agreement with First Nations.

In 2008, First Nations in Ontario signed the Gaming Revenue Sharing and Financial Agreement (GRSFA) with Ontario and OLG that settled a $2.1 billion dollar lawsuit against Ontario in exchange for 1.7 per cent of gross gaming revenues for a period of twenty-five years.  Gross revenues, as defined in the agreement, include non-gaming revenues (NGR) generated at casinos and slot facilities.

Privatization of casinos and slot facilities is part of the modernization plan for gaming in Ontario. OLG has divided the province into a number of gaming zones.  Private companies bid on the zones with the successful bidder entering into a Casino Operating and Services Agreement (COSA) with OLG.  The COSA, to which First Nations are not parties, provides for the Operator to receive all NGR from the sites directly.  At the same time, Ontario and OLG have unilaterally begun to treat NGR as having been removed from the calculation of Gross Revenues under the GRSFA. OFNLP2008 considers this a gross breach and direct threat to the integrity of the GRSFA.

According to OFNLP2008 Vice President Linda Commandant "It is shocking that Ontario politicians were negotiating the Political Accord with First Nation leadership in 2015, that in part, reaffirms Ontario's commitment to revenue sharing with First Nations, while at the same time Ontario and OLG officials were dealing with third parties behind closed doors to give away the First Nations' 1.7 per cent share of the NGR that wasn't theirs to give."  Mrs. Commandant went on to say, "Even more shocking to me is the fact that OLG did not inform OFNLP2008 what they were doing in these secret negotiations with our gross revenue entitlement. We only learned of it when our Senior Staff saw it as a footnote in last year's OLG audit statements." This unilateral action by Ontario and OLG officials could significantly be in excess of $100 million dollars in needed revenues to the First Nations.

OFNLP2008 is looking forward to having the Arbitration Panel correct this and restore full benefit of our entitlements to First Nations.

BACKGROUNDER

Ontario First Nations (2008) Limited Partnership (OFNLP2008), Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) are parties to the Gaming Revenue Sharing and Financial Agreement (GRSFA).  The GRSFA was entered into in order to settle a multi-billion dollar lawsuit by First Nations against Ontario that arose from the decision of a prior government to take away revenues promised to First Nations from the Casino Rama gaming site.  The purpose of the GRSFA was to ensure the sharing with First Nations of revenues, both gaming and non-gaming, generated at gaming sites in the province. The Approved Purposes of the funds are for capital and/or operating expenditures in respect of community development, health, education, economic development and cultural development.

A copy of the GRSFA can be found on our website www.ofnlp2008.org

The Political Accord between First Nations and Ontario can be viewed at https://files.ontario.ca/political_accord_en_1.jpg

SOURCE Ontario First Nations (2008) Limited Partnership

For further information: Randy W. Sault, General Manager, OFNLP 2008, (905) 768-7557, 1 (800) 208-0884

Organization Profile

Ontario First Nations (2008) Limited Partnership

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