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Information for Applicants

Licensure FAQs

What duties can I perform as a veterinary medicine new graduate before I am licensed by the College?

Once a student has completed the curriculum of the OVC undergraduate program he/she must obtain a licence with the College prior to practising veterinary medicine or holding themselves out as a veterinarian including the use of the titles Dr. or veterinarian. Until the licence is issued, that new graduate may only work as an auxiliary. 

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Which schools are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association – Council on Education (AVMA-COE)?

You can find this list on the AVMA website.

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Where do I find a listing of acceptable unaccredited schools?

You can find this list on the AVMA website.

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What are the National Board Examinations?

The National Board Examinations consist of up to three examinations that measures entry-level competence in the theory and practise of veterinary medicine in a North American context. They are:

  • the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE)
  • the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE)
  • the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE)

How many examinations you will be required to pass depends on whether or not the school where you earned your basic veterinary medicine degree has been accredited by the AVMA-COE.

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What are the licensing requirements for a graduate of an AVMA-COE accredited school?

If you graduated from an “accredited” veterinary school, you will need to take the NAVLE and pass it on your first or second attempt; if you do not pass it in two attempts, you will have to take the CPE once you have passed the NAVLE as well.

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What are the licensing requirements for a graduate of an acceptable unaccredited school?

If an applicant for licensure is a graduate of acceptable but unaccredited school, they are required to pass the three National Board Examinations (the BCSE, the NAVLE and the CPE) to be considered for a General Licence. The College provides internationally trained veterinarians with the opportunity to acquire practical experience working under the supervision of a General licence-holding member, before they have passed the CPE.

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What duties can I perform while I am studying to obtain my veterinary degree at the Ontario Veterinary College?

The Veterinarians Act specifically exempts undergraduate students enrolled in the DVM program at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) of the University of Guelph from the need to be licensed with the College while engaging in the undergraduate curriculum of studies. The provision permits these students to participate actively in externships and other clinical activities under the immediate or direct supervision of a CVO licensed veterinarian, both on campus during coursework and in clinical practice placements when placed in an elective rotation or in an externship. Students must be identified to clients as student learners.

A first year veterinary student is considered to be an ‘auxiliary’ and is restricted to only performing procedures which can be delegated to auxiliaries. An auxiliary cannot perform major surgery including castrations, declawing and dental extractions.

After a student completes their third year, he/she can participate in the externship program at the OVC which permits the performance of surgery under immediate supervision.

If a student is volunteering or working at a clinic outside of their DVM program – then they are restricted to acting as an auxiliary and cannot practise veterinary medicine. 

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What duties can I perform as a veterinary medicine new graduate before I am licensed by the College?

Once you have completed your degree in veterinary medicine you must obtain a licence with the College to work as a veterinarian. Until you have your licence issued you may only work as an auxiliary.

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How long is an application valid?

An application and supporting documentation are valid for one year, once submitted. Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the Registrar retains the right to seek resubmission of any outdated materials. The need for resubmission of application materials is determined by the applicant’s current activities. If an applicant is asked to resubmit any part of an application, the application fee will not be charged again.

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How do I request access to my record or to information that the College has related to me?

Applicants can request access to their records by submitting a written request, with contact information and information to identify themselves, to the Registrar, College of Veterinarians of Ontario at inquiries@cvo.org or by regular mail to 2106 Gordon Street, Guelph, Ontario N1L 1G6.

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How is access to records or information provided?

An applicant is permitted to review the file in person at the College office, or copies can be sent to her/him, as appropriate. Occasionally, applicants request that certain documents in their file be forwarded to another licensing body, and responses to those requests are honoured (within 1-2 days) at no charge. Please visit the College's Privacy Code for further details.

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How long does the College retain licensed member records?

The College’s Retention Schedule specifies that an incomplete or denied record be kept for 10 years in an electronic format.

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Why would access to my records be limited or refused?

An access to records request would rarely be limited or refused. This may occur when something in the record is considered to be a safety risk to the applicant or another person if released. Legal advice specific to an application is, however, privileged, and would likely not be released to an applicant.

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How are veterinarians licensed in emergency situations?

Under the Licensure of Veterinarians in Emergency Situations Policy Statement, the Registrar is authorized to carry out the following actions pertaining to application for licensure made in response to a declared emergency:

  1. to issue and, where necessary, renew a short-term licence to veterinarians who are directed by a federal or provincial government body to perform specific veterinary services solely for the short-term, special purpose of dealing with the specified emergency situation.
  2. to waive application and licensure fees;
  3. to accept, as the nature of the emergency warrants, the Chief Veterinarian of Ontario or of Canada as the supervising veterinarian of short-term licensees, waiving the requirement for an undertaking to be signed by both parties;
  4. to waive the documentation requirement to have letters of standing sent from other jurisdictions, instead confirming that the applicant holds active licensure in good standing through direct communication with the regulator of the originating jurisdiction.

Registration Steps:

Applicant is to complete and submit the application for licensure
The Chief Veterinarian of Ontario or Canada submits a letter to the College detailing the request, including the following information:

  • the type of work to be performed and the reasons why this work will be performed
  • the dates (if known) that the applicant will be in Ontario

College staff to obtain verification from the regulator of the originating jurisdiction to verify licence number and to check professional standing.

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Questions about licensure?

Lindsay Sroule
Principal, Licensure & Professional Corporations
lsproule@cvo.org