First Nation prepared to mediate dispute with Government over new Toronto mega-casino

March 10, 2023
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Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation is outraged by the Ontario Government's "utter disregard" for agreements.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) and Great Canadian Entertainment (GCE) have announced that their mega-casino at Woodbine will open in Toronto this summer. The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN), however, feels disrespect has been shown to their previous First Nation agreements.

In 2016, MSIFN – the owner of the Great Blue Heron Casino – entered into agreements with both the Government and OLG, as part of Ontario's modernization scheme. The agreements were meant to ensure the Great Blue Heron Casino would be operated in a comparative manner to government casinos in the greater Toronto area.  

As part of the agreement, Great Blue Heron Casino revenue would also be provided to MSIFN to support development and services for the First Nation, including the provision of clean drinking water.

GCE is the operator of many Ontario Government casinos, including both Casino Woodbine in Toronto and the Great Blue Heron Casino at MSIFN.

MSIFN's Chief Kelly LaRocca said, "We entered into our agreements with a shared understanding that OLG and the Government would act in good faith and in accordance with their Honour of the Crown obligations, and in particular their contractual obligations set out in the agreements.

“Once again, the Government is acting without any engagement with MSIFN and is acting to disadvantage the Great Blue Heron Casino at MSIFN."

Mediation is scheduled to commence this summer.

LaRocca, who is also a lawyer, continued, “It's utter disregard for our First Nation and the Honour of the Crown. We continue to focus our good faith efforts on the mediation and will brace for whatever comes next."


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