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College of Veterinarians of Ontario introduces "good character" policy

May 05, 2014

Licensed veterinarians are expected to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine with honesty and integrity, which is why it is necessary to assess concerns about the past conduct of an applicant prior to licensure, says the College of Veterinarians of Ontario.

“Character and conduct are important to the practice of veterinary medicine, as they are for most professions. The College has recently clarified how it defines what is commonly known as the good character requirement for licensure,” said Jan Robinson, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer at the College.

Through the College’s application process, veterinarians are asked about any past criminal offences, incarcerations or fines. They are also asked whether they have been subject to a finding concerning impairment or conduct issues by another regulatory body. Applicants have been required by law to report such matters to the College for some time. As every case is unique, the College drafted a good character document to assure transparency in its interpretation of this requirement.

According to the policy, the Registrar refers applications from individuals who have findings, current proceedings or allegations against them to the Registration Committee. The Committee assesses the application to determine if issuing the individual a licence, with or without a limitation and/or a condition, is in the public interest.

“The Committee looks at the application with consideration to the seriousness of the incident, its relevance to practise, the honesty of the declaration, the applicant’s efforts at rehabilitation or remediation and whether further conduct issues have recurred. Protecting the public interest is at the forefront of the Committee’s decision-making,” said Robinson.

The College protects and serves the public interest through the regulation of the practice of veterinary medicine. Accordingly, veterinarians are licensed, facilities are accredited, standards and policies are developed and maintained, and an investigations and resolutions process is available. The College licenses approximately 4,500 veterinarians and accredits over 2,100 facilities in Ontario.