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Information for Licensed Members

Jurisprudence Exam

The College's jurisprudence exam requires applicants to demonstrate knowledge of and the ability to apply relevant Ontario legislation and regulations, as well as College standards and guidelines.

2016 Annual Report

The College's 2016 Annual Report "Strengthening Our Foundation" discusses the College's priorities and accomplishments throughout the year.

FAQ - Professionalism in Advertising

Can a client “like” a veterinary practice’s Facebook page?

Yes. This is not considered a testimonial as long as the veterinarian has not solicited the client to do so. When a veterinary practice advertises promotions on their Facebook page, but only provides the promotion to people who like their page, they are using an incentive to gain a positive review, which is like a testimonial. This is prohibited. 

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Can a veterinarian advertise?

Yes, veterinarians can advertise the professional and ancillary services they provide. Changes to Regulation 1093 allow for veterinarians to market their services to members of the public in order to improve the viability of their practices. Advertising by veterinarians should convey professionalism as it can affect the public perception of, and respect for, the entire profession of veterinary medicine. See the standard on Professionalism in Advertising for more information.

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Can a veterinarian use testimonials in his/her advertising?

No. Veterinarians may not make use of client testimonials in the advertising they produce or have produced. Clinic websites should not have links to third party review websites. It is prohibited to use reviews or thank you cards/letters from clients or a story from a patient’s perspective in advertising on a clinic’s public website or other public medium. These are examples of a testimonial. Testimonials have long been a restriction of regulators. See the document on Testimonials for more information.

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Can a veterinarian use incentives programs to try to increase his/her client base?

No. Clients should not be offered compensation, rewards, or incentives to refer others to a veterinarian’s practice. 

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Can a veterinarian use coupons in advertising?

Yes. Coupons can be used in advertising. This is one method of advertising prices. 

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Can a veterinarian thank a client if he/she finds out the client referred a new client to the clinic?

Yes. If a client, of their own accord, speaks highly of the clinic to family and friends and this results in a new client, a veterinarian can thank them. A thank you can be verbal or a card/letter can be sent. If you wish to show your appreciation for the referral by giving a gift card, or a discount on services or products, that is fine too. This scenario differs from incentive programs because the client made the referral because he/she wanted to; not because he/she felt pressured to or that he/she would be rewarded for doing so.

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Can a veterinarian post photos of client’s pets or share case stories of a client's patients on his/her clinic's website or social media platforms?

Before posting pictures or case stories of patients, a veterinarian needs to get the client’s consent. If a veterinarian is obtaining client consent to share an animal’s case story, be sure the client understands and agrees to what information will be shared. Written or verbal consent from clients is appropriate. If a veterinarian chooses to get verbal consent, it should be documented that consent was obtained. Posting pet photos or case stories on a clinic's website or social media should not be used as testimonials.

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Can a veterinarian offer rewards programs for services and products?

Rewards programs can be used. Clinics can participate in third party rewards programs so that clients can use their points cards for example.

Veterinary facilities can also offer their own rewards programs for clients. For example, if a certain number of bags of food are purchased, they will get a free bag. Or perhaps if clients spend a certain amount of money, they will reach a free service or a discount on a future invoice. Rewards programs cannot be used to promote new client referrals.

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Can a veterinarian be involved in an endorsement?

No. Veterinarians cannot endorse specific products, brands of products, brand-name drugs or third-party service providers. For example, a veterinarian could not participate in a print ad campaign where he/she gives a testimonial about a product or service such as “I use product X on my own horses because it is the best on the market”.

Veterinarians can advertise the products they stock at their clinic on the clinic website. This is not considered an endorsement, unless the descriptors used make it such. This lets clients know what products and services are provided by the veterinary facility. For example, advertising that “our clinic stocks item A” is fine. Advertising that “our clinic stocks item A because it is the best” is not appropriate as this would be seen as an endorsement.

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Can a veterinarian ask clients to rate him/her on a review or third party website?

No. Veterinarians cannot ask individuals to rate them or provide a review on a third party website as this is soliciting testimonials. If a client, of his/her own choice, writes a review on a third party website about a veterinary clinic and his/her experiences there, they are free to do so. The College has no regulatory authority over third party websites. Clinic websites should not have links to third party review websites. See the document on Testimonials for more information.

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Can a veterinarian advertise that he/she specializes in a specific service, like dentistry?

In order to use the terms “specialize” or “specialist”, the veterinary facility must have a veterinarian on staff who holds a certificate of specialization from the CVMA and/or the AVMA. It is acceptable to advertise that a veterinarian has "an interest" in dentistry.

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Can a veterinarian advertise prices?

Yes, prices can be advertised. When advertising prices, be clear as to what is included in the price cited.  Also indicate if any taxes will be additional or if they are included. As with all advertising, fees cannot be misleading. 

Discounts can also be advertised.  For example, if a veterinary clinic is promoting dental health month, dental cleanings can be advertised as being X% discounted. Seniors, military, multiple pet, new client discounts can all be advertised as well if that is part of the veterinary facility’s fee structure.

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Can a veterinarian advertise in the “Welcome Wagon” or Realtor welcome package?

Before advertising in the “Welcome Wagon” or similar community welcome package, a veterinarian should ensure the opportunity to advertise was offered to multiple businesses and the advertising is not exclusive to that veterinary practice, since this can be seen as an endorsement or promotion of that practice.

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Can a veterinarian advertise a $1 exam?

Yes. The College does not make policy related to business models or fee structures. Veterinarians who own practices determine the fees and charges for their services. Advertised prices should not be deceptive or misleading. As with all fees, clients need to be informed about what the $1 exam does and does not provide.

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Can a veterinarian advertise his/her services are better than another?

When advertising their practice, veterinarians cannot use comparisons to, or statements of superiority over, another practice/veterinarian, for example, “the best in town” or as “delivering the most compassionate care”. Such comparators are not usually verifiable.  

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What can a veterinarian say in an advertisement?

Regulatory requirements outline the guidelines to follow when developing any form of advertising.  The information provided in an advertisement should:

  • be factual and verifiable
  • not be false, misleading or deceptive
  • contain no testimonials
  • contain no comparisons to, or claims of superiority over, another veterinarian or veterinary practice
  • contain no endorsement or promotion of specific products, brands of products, brand-name drugs or third-party service providers
  • not guarantee a cure
  • not be misrepresentative
  • not make claims about the utility of any type of treatment beyond what can reasonably be supported as professional opinion

Advertising should not demean the integrity or dignity of the profession or to bring the profession into disrepute.

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Where can a veterinarian advertise?

Veterinarians can advertise in any public medium. This includes print, radio, television, internet social media, and on signs and bulletin boards.  Veterinary clinics can also participate in tradeshows, such as “pet expos” by having a booth. 

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The clinic was voted “Best Veterinary Clinic” through the local newspaper. Can the clinic advertise this?

Yes, this can be used in the clinic’s advertising as long as the ad clearly states that the clinic was “voted Best Veterinary Clinic” and the source of the award (i.e., the name of the newspaper). 

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