Ontario Breaks Open Red Tape to Help Charities Reach More People

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Government Protecting What Matters Most by Eliminating Unnecessary Fundraising Fee

July 19, 2019 10:00 A.M.

Ministry of the Attorney General

BARRIE — Today, Attorney General Doug Downey was joined by representatives from the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children to announce new changes that will make life easier and more affordable for charities and the people who support them with their hard-earned money.

Downey announced the elimination of a burdensome provincial fee applied to the sale of break open tickets that has been tying up dollars that should be dedicated to charitable work. The change cuts red tape and will allow charities to contribute an additional $4 million to our communities.

As part of their fundraising, many charities rely on revenue from the sale of break open tickets. Removing the fee will help charities do more for people by ensuring more of the money they raise is used to support those most in need.

"When people choose to support a charity with their hard-earned money they want to know that investment is making the maximum impact on a cause they care about," said Attorney General Doug Downey. "To make life easier for charities and the people who hold them close to their hearts, Ontario's government is no longer charging charities an administrative fee on break open tickets so more revenues can support important causes and local communities."

Break open ticket lottery events conducted by eligible charitable and religious organizations are regulated and licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in partnership with municipalities. The AGCO will continue to ensure that these, like all charitable gaming and licensed lottery events, are conducted safely, securely and with integrity.


Quick Facts

  • In 2017/18, the provincial fee on the sale of break open tickets cost charities approximately $4.7 million.
  • Break open tickets are made of paper or cardboard and have tabs that can be torn open to reveal a series of symbols. The winning combination of symbols can be found at the back of the ticket.
  • To qualify for a licence to sell tickets, select winners and distribute prizes, charities need to demonstrate to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario that they provide a charitable benefit to residents of Ontario.
  • In March 2019, Ontario announced changes allowing Ontario residents to participate in online 50/50 draws at sporting events, regardless of where they live. This initiative allowed the MLSE Foundation to generate more than $6 million during the Toronto Raptors historic playoff run, raising more than three million dollars for MLSE foundation supported charities and programs that benefit young people and communities.



“Thanks to the Ontario Government’s ability to evolve fundraising options online for charities and their supporters, our 50/50 draws have enjoyed resounding success during the 2019 NHL and NBA Playoffs. We look forward to investing funds raised in long-lasting legacy initiatives that will change the lives of youth through the spirit and power of sports.”

Tanya Mruck

Executive Director, MLSE Foundation

“As a small non-profit we are grateful for the support that we receive from OLG Charitable Bingo and Gaming Centres and Break Open Tickets. Support like this allows us to continue to offer no cost peer to peer support programs for children, teens, young adults and caregivers who are grieving the death or terminal illness of an immediate family member.”

Marcy Baldry

Development Director, Seasons Centre for Grieving Children

“OCGA members are truly appreciative of this government’s commitment to charities. Removal of this fee will help to stabilize the Break Open Ticket sector as a fundraising tool for Ontario charities.”

Lynn Cassidy

Executive Director, Ontario Charitable Gaming Association

“Our organization uses BOT funds to support Children’s Intervenor Services. This program is designed to assist children who are deafblind to be involved in their communities with the support of Intervenor services. Our families have used this funding for intervenor services, respite services or fees for camp, swimming or music lessons. The funding can also support family caregivers with training opportunities related to deafblindness, such as sign language. Outside of the education setting, there are not dedicated funds for Children Intervenor services so without this funding children would not be able to access Intervenor Services outside of school.”

Cindy Rock

Director of Financial Operations, Sensity