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Frequently Asked Questions

Accreditation FAQs

Can I advertise that I am opening a new practice?

Yes, you may indicate on a sign the hospital will be opening however you may not put a date for the opening since this is subject to the passing of the inspection.

Can my veterinary clinic share office space with another local, pet-related business?

The Accreditation Committee has identified circumstances in which it is reasonable for the Committee to grant exemptions to the requirement that a veterinary facility must not operate in connection with another enterprise.   These circumstances include facilities that are affiliated with a university or college; facilities that have components which are physically divided from the main structure; and facilities that are in a sharing arrangement, such that some elements of the facilities (such as a lobby or reception area) are shared even though the separately owned and operated facilities remain operationally independent. 

Do I need to have an accredited companion animal mobile to make house calls?

While the Committee is authorized to grant exemptions to any requirement for a Certificate of Accreditation, it does not have the authority to exempt a member from the requirement to practice from an accredited veterinary facility. However, Council has taken the position that it is in the public interest for licensed veterinarians—who are working from accredited companion animal facilities, but who do not have an accredited companion animal mobile facility—to be able to attend to patients at a client’s home on rare occasions when a house call is in the best interest of the client and/or patient (euthanasia of a geriatric animal is one example). In such cases—where the service is not part of the regular practice, not advertised, and client consent for the provision of the service by a veterinarian without a certificate of accreditation has been obtained—the College may, in such isolated situations, use its discretion and decide not to prosecute a veterinarian for practising without an accredited mobile.

How do I prepare for the inspection of my veterinary facility?

Step 1: Complete the Application for Inspection and Accreditation of a Veterinary Facility form
Step 2: Review the appropriate Sample Inspection Checklist for your facility type
Step 3: Contact the College with any questions

I have just purchased a facility - what do I do?

Complete the Application for Inspection and Accreditation of a Veterinary Facility. Confirmation from the seller of the sale is required.

Contact Ministry of Labour, Radiation Protection Services (416) 235-5922, regarding X-ray registration.

I heard that a new practice is opening in my area – can I learn who the owner is?

No, information with respect to pending practices is confidential until the practice has been inspected and permitted to open.

I want to open a new practice – what do I do?

Complete the Application for Facility Name. The Registrar reviews all applications for facility names, a process which can take up to two weeks. Upon approval of the facility name, you have six months to book an inspection, after which the name becomes available to another applicant. Once the name is approved and the facility is fully equipped, complete the Application for Inspection and Accreditation of a Facility to book the inspection. You are not permitted to open until you have passed the inspection. Since there are no records at this point, a temporary Waiver of Enforcement is issued if the inspection report is acceptable to the Registrar, allowing the practice to open.

The inspector will return in 60 days to check medical records.

What do I need to do to conduct a Microchip and/or Rabies clinic?

Read the appropriate Position Statement to understand the conditions under which the College permits temporary programs to occur from a non-accredited facility. Application forms are found on the Forms & Applications section of the website. The College requires two weeks to process the application.

What do I need to know about managing an x-ray machine?

You need to contact the Ministry of Labour, Radiation Protection Services at (416) 235-5922 when:

  • you purchase a new x-ray machine;
  • move the existing x-ray machine within the facility;
  • the facility moves;
  • you purchase an additional x-ray machine e.g. dental, mobile;
  • you give up possession of an x-ray source, or
  • the ownership of the facility changes


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. 

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Can a veterinarian use coupons in advertising?

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

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

Continuing Professional Development

How do I differentiate CPD activities from work-related responsibilities?

CPD includes activities you pursue to maintain your professional competence, keep up with innovations and advancements, or develop expertise in a new area or scope of practice.  CPD activities do not include routine work-related responsibilities.  A key way to differentiate CPD activities from routine professional responsibilities is that CPD activities lead to professional reflection and to identifying the impact the new information may have on your practice.

How many hours of CPD do I have to complete?

Based on the average number of hours members report each year, the College recommends that members complete at least 50 hours of CPD each year, or 150 hours over a three-year period.

How many hours of CPD does the activity I completed count for?

The real time spent pursuing each learning activity is recorded.  If a veterinarian spends 2 hours reading veterinary journal articles about a new treatment option, 2 hours are recorded.  If a veterinarian spends 2 hours at an evening seminar, 2 hours are recorded.

I just received my licence from the College. Do I have to complete 50 hours of CPD in my first year as a licensed veterinarian?

Many newly licensed veterinarians choose to prorate the recommendation of 50 hours of CPD each year, or 150 hours over a three-year period, based on the number of months they will have been licensed for during the reporting period.  This is entirely acceptable.  CPD hours should not be reported for activities completed before a veterinarian receives her/his licence.

What CPD information am I required to report to the College?

As part of the Annual Licence Renewal process, veterinarians are required to report the number of CPD hours they completed for each activity type during the preceding 12-month period ending on the 31st day of October.  This information is collected on the Annual Renewal Form.

What is the reporting period for CPD activity?

CPD hours are calculated and recorded based on a reporting year of November 1st to October 31st.

What tools does the College provide to assist me with recording and reporting my CPD hours?

The new CPD Activity Log is now available to veterinarians in the Professional Practice Portal.  CPD activities completed on or after November 1, 2015 can be logged using this tool.  

CPD Activity Log

Information logged using the former CPD Portal, can still be accessed by veterinarians in read-only mode until February 29, 2016. The College will retain, until March 1, 2021, a record of all activities logged through the CPD Portal. During the time period between March 1, 2016 and March 1, 2021, you may request a copy of your CPD Portal data by contacting Megan Callaway, Principal, Quality Practice at

For the Public

Can veterinarians prescribe medical marijuana?

As per the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (federal government legislation), veterinarians are not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.

Veterinarians are not prohibited from prescribing cannabidiol (CBD) oil or capsules, and hemp (e.g., hemp oil, hemp seed oil). However, there is currently little evidence on the use of these products for animals.

If a veterinarian prescribes CBD oil, it must be purchased in Canada from a licensed dealer. CBD is a Schedule II drug in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and, therefore, veterinarians must maintain a controlled drug log.

Clients can sometimes find products containing active ingredients found in the cannabis plant without a prescription and will ask veterinarians about using them on their animals.  The decision to advise clients about the use in animals of marijuana or related products will be based on the veterinarian’s professional judgment. Factors to consider in making recommendations about these products and discussing their use with clients are:

  1. Is there enough information in the literature about the use and benefits of marijuana and related products in animals for specific diseases?
  2. What are considered safe doses in animals?
  3. What are the risks of use?
  4. What quality control/safety measures are in place for the production of these products? Do they contain the label claimed components and strengths? Are they effective?
  5. Is it legal to be in possession of these products in Canada? In Ontario? The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act has very strict regulations. Advising clients to use illegal substances for their animals would also be considered Professional Misconduct (see Regulation 1093 ( section 17(1) ss 45 “45. Conduct unbecoming a veterinarian.”).

For more information, contact Health Canada (

Do I have the right to purchase medication from an internet pharmacy rather than my veterinarian?

Yes, you can request a written or oral prescription for a medication and can use that prescription as you wish. However, you should be aware that products obtained outside of Canada are not subject to the same regulated approval process that drugs approved by Health Canada/Veterinary Drugs Directorate. You should research the Internet supplier before making your purchase to decide whether or not you wish to assume that risk.

The CVO regulates the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario, including the issuance of prescriptions and the dispensing of drugs, but the regulation of pharmacies – in Ontario or elsewhere – is not within the jurisdiction of the College or its licensed veterinarians.

See Health Canada's web page on Buying Drugs on the Internet. While its content refers to purchasing drugs for human use on the Internet, some of the information will be useful for you.

How does the complaints process start?

In order for the College to review and investigate complaints from the public, the complaint must be received from the complainant by the College in writing. The statement of complaint should clearly and precisely set out the following information:

  • the name(s) of the veterinarian(s) being complained about
  • the name of the veterinary facility
  • a description of the problem
  • an outline of the concerns or issues for the committee to consider
  • the dates on which the events occurred
  • the name and contact information of anyone else who may be able to provide further information
  • copies of invoices or other documentation that may aid the committee in its review of the issues
  • the complainant's full name and mailing address

Click here to learn more about the Complaints Process.

I would like to file a complaint about my veterinarian. How do I do this?

In governing the practice of veterinary medicine, the College is dedicated to protecting the public interest. One of the College's many responsibilities is to oversee the professional conduct of Ontario veterinarians. Through its complaints committee, the College investigates complaints about veterinarians related to the practice of veterinary medicine.

It seems like most of my dog's examination is conducted by the technician, shouldn't the veterinarian do the entire exam?

The College supports and encourages the appropriate delegation of professional services to suitably trained auxiliaries. Such delegation permits veterinary care to be provided promptly, efficiently and effectively.

Veterinarians continue to be accountable for the professional services they have delegated. According to Council policy, auxiliaries in companion animal practice are not permitted to diagnose, prognose, prescribe or perform major surgery.

For further information, review The General Principles of Delegation.

My veterinarian offers dentistry services, does he need to be a specialist to do so?

No, a veterinarian with the appropriate skills and training may offer dentistry to his/her clients. That veterinarian, however, cannot say he/she is a specialist in dentistry. In fact a veterinarian with a complicated dental case may suggest referral to another veterinarian with a recognized specialty in dentistry.

My veterinarian won't give me medication for my cat without examining him. I know what's wrong with my cat as he had the same symptoms a couple years ago. Why do I have to pay for a costly examination?

When a veterinarian recommends and/or provides treatment for an animal, a valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) must exist. The College's Position Statement on the VCPR requires a valid VCPR for the dispensing of ANY treatment product. A veterinarian must have sufficient knowledge of the animal, including its health status, immunization history, nutrition, management, environment and hygiene, to provide a diagnosis and recommend treatment.

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). 

What qualifies a veterinarian to call him or herself a specialist?

A veterinarian in Ontario cannot use the term specialist unless he or she is Board-certified in a specialty recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).  The term specialist is only permitted to be used by specialists who are certified by a recognized veterinary specialty organization approved by the AVMA.  Examples of specialty designations include American College of Veterinary Surgeons – small animal, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine – large animal, and American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists.  There are currently just under 300 veterinary specialist practising in Ontario.

Different than a specialty designation, a veterinarian who has a practice focus in a specific area may communicate this focus by stating they have

  • an interest in ...
  • additional education in ...
  • a specific focus on ...

Licensure FAQs

Can I perform surgery as a locum?

Locums can offer the same services as any other veterinarian.

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.

How do I notify the College that I am now a board certified specialist?

The Public Register identifies all members who are specialists (those who hold certification with one of the American Board of Veterinary Specialists). To add this information to the Public Register, please contact the College so the designation can be verified either by viewing the original board certification or a notarized copy.

How do I renew my licence with the College?

Licensed members can expect to receive their Annual Licence Renewal information early in October. The deadline for the annual licence renewal is November 30th each year for submission of information and fees.

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

Licensed members 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 or by regular mail to 2106 Gordon Street, Guelph, Ontario N1L 1G6.

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 or by regular mail to 2106 Gordon Street, Guelph, Ontario N1L 1G6.

How do I update my work information and/or home address?

If your address changes, you must notify the College in writing within 30 days of the change. The College must have your current home address, all practice addresses and email address on file. Only your primary practice address will appear on the Public Register.

How is access to records or information provided?

A licensed members is permitted to review the file in person at the College office, or copies can be sent to her/him, as appropriate. Occasionally, licensed members 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.

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.

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.

How long does the College retain licensed member records?

The College’s Retention Schedule specifies that licensed member records be kept indefinitely in an electronic format.  

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.

If I am licensed in Ontario, can I do locum work or practise in the U.S. or other Canadian provinces?

You will need to apply to each state/provincial board for licensure and meet their licensing requirements. Some jurisdictions may have temporary licences and others may require a full licence. They will also require a letter of standing to be provided from any regulatory body where you have been licensed. Some jurisdictions have their own form to be completed by other licensing bodies.

What are the fees for licensure in Ontario?

Please refer to the Licence Fees page.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

When can I refer to myself as a specialist?

From time to time, the term specialist gets defined in practice differently than intended. A veterinarian in Ontario cannot use the term specialist unless he or she is Board-certified in a specialty recognized by the AVMA.

To describe oneself as a specialist, when one is not, is considered professional misconduct. The term specialist is reserved for specialists who are certified by a recognized veterinary specialty organization approved by the AVMA. Stating one “has a specialty in…” is considered to be claiming specialist status. The same applies to the use of discipline-specific specialty terms such as radiologist, surgeon, and pathologist.

Different than a specialty designation, a veterinarian who has a practice focus in a specific area is able to communicate this focus by stating they have

  • an interest in ...
  • additional education in ...
  • a specific focus on ...

Public clarity in advertising and communication is essential. The public deserves to make an informed choice in all circumstances related to their animal(s)

When I retire can I still refer to myself as a veterinarian?

If you hold a current valid licence with the College, you can use the prefix Dr. and use the official title of veterinarian. If you do not hold a current valid licence with the College, you are able to use the post-nominal letters earned with the degree in veterinary medicine that was awarded to you (ex. DVM, BVSc).

Where do I find a listing of acceptable unaccredited schools?

You can find this list on the AVMA website.

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

You can find this list on the AVMA website.

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 licensed member or another person if released. Legal advice specific to an application is, however, privileged, and would likely not be released to the licensed member.

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.

Mediated Resolution FAQs

How does the MRP work?

Once the Registrar has identified that a matter may be suitable for the MRP, College staff invite the complainant and the veterinarian to participate in the mediation program. With their written consent to participate, the mediator will meet with the complainant and the veterinarian either separately or together to attempt to reach an agreement. If the mediation is successful, the agreement is forwarded to the Complaints Committee for review and approval. If the mediation does not result in an agreement, the matter will move on to the Complaints Committee.

Is the MRP always an option?

The MRP is not suitable for all complaints. The College Registrar identifies cases which are appropriate. Those involving serious allegations of professional misconduct, misuse of controlled drugs, fraud, animal abuse, misrepresentation, sexual impropriety or falsification of records will go to the Complaints Committee. Cases involving a licensee who has been subject to more than one similar complaint or discipline finding will also be dealt with by the Committee.

Is there a cost?

The College assumes all the costs associated with the mediation.

What happens if I do not wish to participate in the MRP?

If either party does not wish to participate in the MRP, the matter would proceed to the traditional Complaints process. The participation of both parties is required for the MRP to work.

What’s the result?

Any reasonable proposal may be explored as a resolution. Some options for resolving a case through MRP may include:

  • a letter acknowledging the incident with an understanding of the distress it caused the patient/family;
  • the facility establishes policy changes or initiatives that will serve to improve veterinary care;
  • an agreement the veterinarian will undertake further education on the issues surrounding the complaint; or
  • an apology by the veterinarian to the complainant.

Which cases are most suitable for the Mediated Resolutions Program (MRP)?

The MRP is not appropriate for all complaints. The College Registrar will review your complaint to determine if it is suitable for the MRP. Generally speaking, cases involving communication concerns or minor standard or practice issues would be given the opportunity to be resolved through an alternative approach, as long as both parties agree to pursue the MRP.

Who is the facilitator?

The MRP engages the services of a third-party mediator, not a member of the College’s staff or a College committee.

Practice Advice

Am I allowed to offer coupons for discounted veterinary services?

Yes. The provision of discounts is an example of a component of a particular business model and is permitted.

Can I add an additional charge on the fees of the itinerant veterinarian?

The College regulations prohibit adding a charge to a disbursement or cost. For example, a client may be billed for the services of an itinerant veterinarian who provides a service to a client at the primary veterinarian's clinic. This clinic is not prohibited from charging reasonable fees associated with coordinating appointments, providing the facility space, staff and some equipment.  However, when a client is charged for these items, they should appear as separate invoice items so the client is aware of the individual charges. What is prohibited is an additional charge on the fees of the itinerant veterinarian, without additional service provided by the primary veterinarian. 

Reference: Section 17.1 Para 14 of Regulation 1093

Can I dispense a controlled substance to the client of a veterinarian from a neighbouring clinic?

While it would seem the neighbourly thing to do, the College regulations only allow a member to dispense controlled substances to animals that are under his/her direct care. Clients do have the option of having the prescription filled by a pharmacist at a community pharmacy.

Reference: Section 28, Paragraph 6 of Regulation 1093

I have other questions about advertising. What resources are available to me?

The Advisory Statement - Advertising which provides guidance for advertising is available for review on the College website in the Resources section. Alternatively, please contact the College’s Practice Advisor for assistance with any specific questions you may have.

I suspect that an animal is being abused or neglected. What are my obligations?

According to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, a veterinarian is obligated to report suspected animal abuse. Specifically, the Act states that “every veterinarian who has reasonable
grounds to believe that an animal has been or is being abused or neglected shall report his or her belief to an inspector or an agent of the Society. 2008, c. 16, s. 8”.
Reporting suspected animal abuse or neglect is a permitted violation of client confidentiality addressed in Section 17 of Ontario Regulation 1093 of the Veterinarians Act.

Professional Corporation FAQs

Can a family member be a shareholder?

No, the Ontario Business Corporations Act requires that all issued and outstanding shares of the professional corporation be owned, directly or indirectly, by a member of the particular profession.

Can I give you the accredited facility address as my professional corporation address if I work there but don’t own the practice?

No, the Ontario Business Corporations Act requires every professional corporation to have a registered office, which is the address registered with the Ministry. This information is shared on the Public Registry. If this address is a member's home address, an alternative is to provide a P.O. Box.

The College maintains its Public Register in the public interest. Any request for removal of this information must be submitted in writing to the Registrar.

Can shares be held through a Holding Company?

Yes, according to the College By-Laws, holding companies may own shares of a veterinary professional corporation, so long as all of the shares of the holding company are held by veterinarians holding a valid licence issued by the College.

Do I have to post the Certificate of Authorization in my facility?

No, you are not required to post the Certificate of Authorization for your professional corporation. The College does recommend storing the certificate in a safe place, as your professional corporation is not authorized to operate without this. The certificate also indicates the expiry date at which time the Managing Director must apply for its renewal.

Does my home address have to be posted on the College website?

The College By-Laws state that the address and phone number of the professional corporation must be accessible to members and public during normal business hours. Therefore if you are not an owner of a facility through which the professional corporation practices, then your home mailing address will be used. An alternative is to provide the College with a P.O. Box number.

Does my professional corporation name need to be on invoices?

As per the Ontario Business Corporations Act, professional corporation names must appear on invoices and consent forms, in addition to the facility name. The professional corporation name does not replace the facility name.

Ontario Business Corporations Act

Legibility (5) Despite subsection (4), a corporation shall set out its name in legible characters in all contracts, invoices, negotiable instruments and orders for goods or services issued or made by or on behalf of the corporation and in all documents sent to the Director under this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. B.16, s. 10 (5).

How do I change the name of my professional corporation?

All professional corporation name changes must be approved by the College before amending the name with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS). Here are the steps:

  1. Submit a name application to the College for approval of the new name.
  2. Once approved by the College, contact the MGCS to amend the name with the Ministry.
  3. Submit the completed ‘Change of Information to a Professional Corporation’ form, along with the ‘Articles of Amendment’ from the MGCS to the College.
  4. The College will issue a new Certificate of Authorization to the Managing Director.

How do I request a Certificate of Status through the MGCS?

Please visit the MGCS website or call the toll free number (1-800-361-3223), for more information on obtaining a Certificate of Status. The College is not permitted to contact the MGCS on behalf of members or professional corporations.

What are the fees for incorporation of a professional corporation?

  • The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) sets fees for its processes.
  • There is currently no fee for the name application with the College.
  • The fee as of October 1, 2014 for the Application for Certificate of Authorization is $400 + HST
  • The fee as of October 1, 2014 for Renewal of your Certificate of Authorization is $150 + HST
  • The fee for making changes to a Professional Corporation is $200 + HST.

What is the difference between a professional corporation and a business corporation?

A professional corporation has restrictions on its activities. The Ontario Business Corporations Act restricts the professional corporation from carrying on a business other than the practice of the profession. Veterinary professional corporations are regulated by the College By-Laws. Business corporations do not have these restrictions and are not governed by the College.

Quality Practice

Are clients and patients directly involved in the Peer Advisory Conversation?

No. Clients and patients are not involved in the discussion. The conversation does include a medical records review and a discussion about patient care, but advisors do not observe treatments.

Are the questions the advisor will ask me available to review prior to the Peer Advisory Conversation?

Yes. The conversation tools and forms are available on the College website at:

Can I share my experience with the Peer Advisory Conversation with others?

Yes, participants are free to share their own experience. The conversation tools and forms are available on the College website. Sharing of the discussion details (i.e. the specifics of the cases discussed, etc.) and written report is up to the participant; participants may share these with others if they want to.

Can information or the outcomes of my Peer Advisory Conversation be made public on the Public Register?

No. Information from the Peer Advisor Conversation is confidential.

Can the information collected by the Quality Assurance Program be shared with other College Committees?

No. All information collected within the Quality Assurance Program is confidential and cannot be shared with other College Committees. In rare cases, advisor concerns may be brought to the Registrar for review. This only happens if public safety is a significant concern and may result in a follow-up conversation.

Do I need client consent to allow the Peer Advisory Conversation advisor to look at medical records?

No, the College is permitted by law to review medical records of members for the purpose of quality assurance. The College maintains a strict privacy policy regarding the management of all documents and their contents.

Does my employer have to pay me for my time spent in the Peer Advisory Conversation?

An employer is not obligated to pay employees for time spent participating in a Peer Advisory Conversation. Conversations can be scheduled at your convenience. In the Pre-Conversation Questionnaire, you will be asked to select preferred days of the week and preferred times for the conversation which may include morning, afternoon or evening time slots.

How are the Peer Advisory Conversation advisors selected and trained?

Advisors apply and are selected based on the information they submit as well as an interview. Once selected, an advisor undergoes a rigorous training process. Following that they must complete a full Peer Advisory Conversation of their own before starting to be active as an advisor. Data will be collected around the advisor’s performance. The information will be reviewed and used to provide feedback to the advisor on their activity. Advisors will participate in ongoing training and have an annual performance review.

How is conflict of interest addressed in the Peer Advisory Conversation?

Each volunteer is provided with a list of Peer Advisors and asked to indicate if there is a conflict of interest with anyone on the list. Questions to guide this decision are:

  1. Have you had a working or personal relationship with this individual in the past (e.g. an acquaintance, a close friend, a competitor)?
  2. How close were your interactions?
  3. How long ago was this relationship?
Could you or the facility in which you work reasonably be viewed as a competitor to the licensed member/Advisor (e.g., for patients, clients, referral sources, etc.)?

How is the advisor chosen for my Peer Advisory Conversation?

There is an effort to match veterinarians with advisors who have similar experience. When this is not possible, advisors are made aware of the circumstances relevant to your scope of practice.

How many medical records will be reviewed and discussed during the Peer Advisory Conversation?

For those selected to participate in the Medical Record Review and Chart-Stimulated Recall (CSR)/Case Based Discussion, four medical records will be reviewed and discussed. See the Guidelines for Medical Records Selection for the details of these medical records.

If a client has a prescription from a veterinarian in another city, am I able to fill it on behalf of the veterinarian?

Yes, a veterinarian can fill the prescription of another veterinarian under the following
conditions outlined Section 33 (1.1) in Ontario Regulation 1093 of the Veterinarians Act:

  1. it is not reasonably possible for the client to obtain the drug from the prescribing member or a pharmacy;

  2. it is necessary in the interests of the animal to administer or dispense the drug without the delay that would  be associated with returning to the prescribing member;

  3. the member makes a reasonable effort  to discuss the matter with the prescribing member;

  4. the member conducts a sufficient assessment of the animal’s circumstances, which may not require a physical examination in every case, to ascertain that it is unlikely that there has been a material change in the circumstances since the prescription was given;

  5. the quantity of the drug dispensed is no more than would reasonably enable the client to return to the prescribing member for future prescriptions or quantities of the drug; and

  6. the member makes a written record of the transaction as otherwise required by this Regulation. O. Reg. 161/04, s. 19 (1).

Two owners are listed in my patient’s file. If one owner requests that the other owner be removed from the file, what should I do?

In order to remove an owner from a patient’s file, consent must be obtained from the individual whose name is being removed from the file. Alternatively legal direction may be provided. The change to the medical record must then be made in such a way that original content is maintained.

What happens after the Peer Advisory Conversation?

The advisor submits a written report to the College. College staff reviews the report and provides the veterinarian with the final report and a link to a Post-Conversation Evaluation Form.  Reports are confidential and information gathered through the Peer Advisory Conversation will only be shared with the Quality Assurance Committee in aggregate form. 
It is anticipated that participants will receive the report within five weeks of the conversation. Completion of the evaluation form allows the College to determine whether the program is meeting its objectives – your assistance in this program evaluation is greatly appreciated!

What information does the advisor receive prior to the Peer Advisory Conversation to help them prepare?

Peer Advisors receive the contact information and the practice information that the participant has provided on the Pre-Conversation Questionnaire.  For those selected to participate in the Medical Record Review and Chart-Stimulated Recall (CSR)/Case Based Discussion, the advisor is also provided with the four medical records that were selected by the participant for review and discussion. The advisor is not informed of previous history, complaints, any published discipline summaries or other College matters.

What is the timeline for conducting a Peer Advisory Conversation?

During Phases 1 and 2 of the Peer Advisory Conversation Pilot, conversations will be conducted during the months of January (Phase 1) and March (Phase 2) of 2017.

Who can volunteer to participate in a Peer Advisory Conversation?

Any licensed veterinarian in clinical practice can volunteer to participate.

Will information about the results of my Peer Advisory Conversation be shared with my employer?

No. The College does not share any information about a participant’s Conversations with his/her employer.

The Complaints Process

Can information gathered by the College be used in Court?

According to the legislation, no one who works at the College can be summoned to a civil court case.

Can the Complaints Committee’s decision be appealed?

Either party can appeal the decision through the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board.

How are complaints addressed?

The member is notified of the complaint in writing and provided with a copy. The individual filing the complaint receives a summary of the complaint for verification. The member then receives a list of issues and is asked to submit a written explanation, pertinent medical records, x-rays, logs, etc. to the College. The complainant receives a copy of the member’s full response and is provided with an opportunity to respond.

How does the complaints process begin?

Letters of complaint are reviewed by College staff and attempts may be made to resolve the concerns through the Mediated Resolutions Program. If those efforts are unsuccessful or not appropriate, the matter is directed to the Complaints Committee and the College staff begins the Complaints process.

What are the possible outcomes?

Possible decisions include:

  • The Committee has no concerns with the member’s actions or conduct and will take no further action.
  • The Committee has some concerns with the member’s actions or conduct which it feels can be addressed through re-education and/or advice.
  • The Committee has very serious concerns and has referred the case for a hearing of the Discipline Committee.
  • The complaint was frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith or otherwise an abuse of process.

Who is on the Complaints Committee?

As a self-regulated profession, the Complaints Committee consists of up to 10 members, including nine veterinarians and one public member who is appointed by the provincial government. To review complaints, usually five or six members of the committee meet as a panel.