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About CVO

Council Elections

Your experience, skills and knowledge are needed on College Council!

Serving on Council is an opportunity to play a leadership role in veterinary regulation. The success of regulation is a result of the contributions of those who seek election to Council. Those who have served on Council or on a College Committee will tell you that it is an interesting and fulfilling role.

Am I eligible to run for Council?

To be a candidate, a licensed member must be nominated by two licensed members who are entitled to vote in the election. The nominee must consent to his/her nomination, and all nomination forms must be received in the College office by the stated deadline.

A member is eligible for election to the Council if, the member,

  • is engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine in the electoral district for which he or she is nominated or, if the member is not engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine, was, on the 90th day before the election, resident in the electoral district for which he or she is nominated;
  • is not in default of payment of any fees prescribed in any regulation or by-law made under the Veterinarians Act;
  • is not the subject of any current disciplinary or incapacity proceeding;
  • has not been found guilty of professional misconduct or serious neglect by the Discipline Committee or found to be an impaired member by the Registration Committee during the six years immediately preceding the election;
  • is not the holder of a licence that is subject to a condition or limitation as a result of a finding from a proceeding either in Ontario or another jurisdiction;
  • was not a Council member for both of the two terms immediately preceding the election;
  • has not been an employee of the College at any time during the three years immediately preceding the election;
  • is not a director, officer or employee of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and does not hold any other similar role or function with an organization whose interests conflict with the mandate of the College;
  • has not been disqualified from sitting on Council under the College by-laws at any time during the three years immediately preceding the election; and
  • has not been removed from a committee under the College by-laws for reasons related to the Council code of conduct at any time during the three years immediately preceding the election.

What exactly is the Council of the College?

The Council is the College’s board of directors. It is composed of 13 veterinarians and up to five public members. The veterinarians on Council are elected by their peers through a regional election process. The public members are appointed by government.

All Council members share the responsibility of fulfilling the College’s statutory mandate to regulate the veterinary profession in the public interest.

What is the role of a member of Council?

The Veterinarians Act provides the legal foundation for the College’s governance structure, activities and authority. The College is required to fulfil the role of a regulatory college established in this legislation. Serving on Council is a privilege and a unique opportunity to use your knowledge and experience to contribute to the betterment of the veterinary profession in Ontario. Each councillor helps the College deliver on its mandate of responsible, professional and ethical decision-making in the public interest.

The accountability of a member of College Council differs from that of a membership organization. Once elected to Council, veterinarians are not accountable to the licensed members in their electoral district, but instead to the statutes and laws governing the College.

Although a Council member may bring regional perspectives to the Council table, an elected Council member does not represent the electorate.

By accepting a position as a Council member, you occupy a position of trust and confidence. The best interests of the College and the public interest take precedence over your personal interests and the interests of veterinarians in your electoral district.

All Council members, whether veterinarians or public members, are equal around the Council table and participate equally in discussion and decision making.

I don’t have any experience on a Board of Directors. How can I contribute?

The College provides a thorough orientation session to introduce new members to the College, its mandate, current policies and ongoing activities. Orientation is also provided for each of its committees.

What does Council do?

As a member of Council, you participate in the work of College committees and contribute to the development of College policies and programs. Through service to the College, Council and Committee members are serving the veterinary profession in the public interest.

Council makes decisions concerning the policies which are used in:

  • licensing veterinarians,
  • accrediting veterinary facilities,
  • establishing and maintaining professional and ethical standards of practice,
  • developing quality assurance programs, and
  • resolving situations when standards have not been met.

Council is currently guided by its strategic plan which includes the following objectives:

  • Advance public voice in regulatory policy
  • Promote professionalism and self-regulation in the practice of veterinary medicine
  • Achieve commitment to the Legislative Reform of the Veterinarians Act
  • Ensure agility in public access to veterinary medicine
  • Champion One Health initiatives through veterinary leadership

Council members also make decisions on the College budget and serve on at least one Committee.

What is the commitment?

Council ensures that College policies are established in accordance with the College’s mandate, as set out in the Veterinarians Act. Council provides oversight and direction to the College’s Registrar and Chief Executive Officer.

Duties of a Council member include:

  • Attending every Council meeting
  • Participating on Discipline panels and at least one Committee
  • Reading meeting packages and preparing for Council deliberations (this is approximately a four hour activity prior to a meeting)
  • Participating in Council orientation and ongoing education sessions

What are the organizational values of the College?

It is expected that the behavior of Council and Committee members reflects the principles which support the continuing trust of the public and the veterinary profession:

  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Objectivity
  • Accountability
  • Relevance
  • Collaboration

All Council members must adhere to the statutory requirements, the Code of Conduct, the College By-Laws and policies.

Serving on Council is a great responsibility with a focus on important, challenging topics. However, having fun is also important and the collegial atmosphere of the College fosters a great working relationship between Council and staff.

Comments from former Council members ...

I joined Council in order to give back to the profession. Little did l know how personally transforming the overall experience would be. As a new councillor my initial learning efforts were directed to understanding and working within the not-for-profit self-regulatory model, developing positive working relationships with fellow councillors and staff and learning how to “listen” and find my “voice” during debates related to policies, finances or statutory matters.

Serving on committees and subsequently as President, required provided unparalleled opportunity to develop relationships with veterinarians and members of the public across the country, and to develop my personal leadership skills while working with the high performing teams of both staff and Council. The rewards were many.

Through this “stretch” opportunity I simply learned to trust that each council member’s particular and singular voice was so very important to informing fulsome debate and building consensus in decision making, no matter what their background. Serving on Council featured as one of the best overall experiences of my professional life. It was gratifying, fun and at times exhilarating to have a role in leading the profession forward.
Nina Szpakowski, DVM
CVO President 2012-13


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Participating on the CVO Council as a committee member was a rewarding experience that I recommend for any Ontario veterinarian that wants to give back to the profession.

Knowing that veterinarians face a broad range of challenges and opportunities I enjoyed being part of the solution in shaping the regulations governing our regulatory body with other motivated and concerned veterinarians, and public representatives.  

My time on Council was educational while I learned about the role of the CVO in regulating the veterinary profession to protect the public interest within the limits of provincially mandated rules and regulations. Finally, It was gratifying to know that everyone within the CVO organization was truly working to ensure that the Ontario veterinarians were poised to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Mike Pownall, DVM
CVO Council 2011-14