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About CVO

Council Elections

Council governs the College, similar to a board of directors. Councillors share the responsibility of guiding the College and making decisions that serve the public interest. Every October, the College holds an election in three of its 12 electoral districts.

What does Council do?

The College Council protects and serves the public interest through the regulation of the practice of veterinary medicine. The College is the regulatory body that licenses every veterinarian working in Ontario.

Serving on Council is an opportunity to play a leaderhip role in veterinary regulation. As a member of Council, you have the opportunity to participate in the work of College committees and contribute to the development of College policies and programs. Serving on Council is an interesting and fulfilling role. 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:

  • Inspire Quality Practice through assuring competence
  • Create a culture of collaboration by engaging all stakeholders in veterinary self-regulation
  • Advance One Health stewardship enabling public health initiatives within veterinary medicine
  • Lead Legislative Reform of the Veterinarians Act that enhances regulatory transparency, flexibility and innovation

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

Who serves on Council?

The College Council are made up of 13 elected veterinarians from across Ontario and up to five public members appointed by the provincial government. Veterinarians are nominated and elected by their peers to serve a three-year term. Licensed members who are in good standing and reside or work in the electoral district are eligible to run for Council.

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
  • In addition to Council activities, each Council member also serves on one to three committees.

Time Commitment:

It is important that those wishing to serve on Council consider the time commitment and responsibilities involved.

  • Approximately seven days of Council meetings. For example, the 2016 agenda includes three two-day Council meetings and an additional one-day Council meeting.
  • Each Committee meets 4-6 times per year.
  • Council members are also encouraged to participate on panels for Discipline hearings

Council members can expect to dedicate 10-20 days a year to Council business, depending on Committee activities.

What’s in it for me?

Your service as a member of Council regulates the veterinary profession in the public interest. You will particpiate in decision-making about standards of practice and professional conduct. With your Council colleagues, you will lead the profession by sharing ideas and perspectives to help shape the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario. Each councillor helps the College deliver on its mandate of reponsible, professional and ethical decision-making in the public interest. 

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

Serving on Council is an opportunity to shape the regulation of the veterinary profession for years to come.


Council and committee members are reimbursed for expenses incurred while carrying out College business. They also receive a per diem of $400 for each whole meeting day and $200 for a half day.

Meetings are held at the College’s office in Guelph, Ontario.

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


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