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Information for the Public

Self Regulation

The College and veterinarians share responsibility and accountability to self-regulate. The role of the College is to protect and serve the public interest by ensuring veterinarians provide quality, competent and ethical services. The role of licensed members is to provide safe, quality care and also to accept accountability for doing so. Self-regulation is a privilege.

The more than 4,500 veterinarians in general and specialty practice in Ontario value professionalism and are committed to ensuring that the public receives quality, ethical care. That is why the safe delivery of veterinary medicine is at the heart of everything the College does.

The College is funded by the licence fees paid by each veterinarian in the province.

How does self-regulation protect the public?

Regulatory colleges, many of which exist in human health care and other professions (ie. law, teaching, engineering), were established to protect the public’s right to safe, effective and ethical services.

Legislation and regulations are in place to protect the public interest. Here are some examples:

Consent: Informed owner consent is required for treatment.

Privacy and Medical Records: Veterinarians can only provide information to you or someone you authorize to represent you. You must consent to the release of your information, unless it is required or permitted by law.

Professional Conduct: The public, including clients, have the right to file a complaint with the College if they have concerns about the care provided by a veterinarian or the actions or conduct of a veterinarian.

Licensure: The College is responsible for ensuring that every applicant meets the educational requirements and standards of qualification to become licensed to practise veterinary medicine in Ontario.

Accreditation:  Veterinarians must practise from a professional environment which meets the standards to be granted a Certificate of Accreditation, which is posted in the veterinary facility. Look for the Certificate when you visit your veterinarian.

Quality Assurance: The College’s Quality Practice program promotes continuing competence and continuing quality improvement among the licensees.

The public can have confidence in the knowledge that only those licensed by the College – regulated, highly trained veterinary professionals – can practise veterinary medicine. To be confident you are consulting with a licensed veterinarian, check the Public Register.

The veterinary profession has been regulated in the public interest in Ontario since 1874. By establishing and maintaining standards for veterinarians and veterinary facilities, the College ensures the public has access to safe, competent and ethical veterinary care.

Every veterinarian practising in Ontario is licensed with the College and every facility has been inspected and accredited by the College.