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Licensure FAQs

How do I submit my criminal record check to the College?

E-PICs completed online through Sterling Backcheck will be retrieved by the College directly through their secure system. If you are submitting a paper document obtained through your local police station, you may send the original to us via mail or in person provided it is authenticated with a police services stamp. The original paper documents will not be returned to you.

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How long does it take to obtain a criminal record check, and how long will it take the College to process?

If you obtain your criminal record check through Sterling Backcheck, your check will be available within 24 hours. If you obtain your criminal record check through your local police station, processing times may vary.

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How long does my criminal record check remain valid, and when should I complete one?

You must have completed a criminal record check within six months prior of the issuance of a licence. Since there is an expiry on criminal record checks, you may wish to consider completing and submitting your criminal record check after completing all other requirements.

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How much does a criminal record check cost?

The cost for an E-PIC from Sterling Backcheck is $34 plus HST. The costs to obtain a police background check from your local police station may vary, but are typically anywhere from $20- $50. Please note that the E-PIC fee through Sterling Backcheck is subject to change.

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I am a non-OVC AVMA-COE Accredited Veterinary Student, do I need a licence to complete an externship/placement in Ontario?

The Veterinarians Act in Ontario specifically exempts students in the DVM program at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) from the requirement of licensure, so that they may practise veterinary medicine for the purpose of completing program requirements (i.e. participate in supervised clinical placements at private practices within Ontario). Non-OVC students, however, are not given the same exemption. The College believes that the intent and spirit of the legislation is to facilitate the learning process for students enrolled in accredited veterinary medical undergraduate programs and to permit these students to participate in these placements/rotations/internships/externships under appropriate supervision without requiring licensure. The College’s “Supervision of Non-OVC AVMA-COE Accredited Veterinary Students” policy provides details on the process for non-OVC AVMA-COE accredited veterinary students to complete a clinical-placement in Ontario. This policy was adopted to protect the public interest and to ensure that both students and supervising veterinarians are aware of their obligations when engaging in any such practical placement.  

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I am already licensed with the College, do I have to submit a criminal record check?

No, if you are already licensed you will not be required to submit a criminal record check to move to a different category of licensure. Veterinarians are currently required to complete a declaration related to suitability to practise during annual renewal.

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I have already completed a criminal record check for another purpose (work, school, volunteer role, etc.). Is it still valid?

If the criminal record check was issued within six months of the issuance of a licence, you may submit it provided that it meets all of the requirement in the College’s Criminal Record Checks Policy Statement.

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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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What if my criminal record check reveals a past conviction or other relevant finding?

If your criminal record check reveals a past conviction or other relevant finding, then your application will be referred to Registration Committee for further consideration. A past conviction or finding does not necessarily preclude you from being licensed; all findings will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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What type of criminal record check will I need to obtain?

You may obtain an Enhanced Police Information Check (E-PIC) online through Sterling Backcheck or a Police Information Check from your local police station. The College will also accept a Police Vulnerable Sector Check from your local police station should you already possess a valid one.

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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.

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 is the College adding this as a new licensure requirement?

The College is committed to our mandate to regulate veterinary medicine in Ontario in order to serve and protect the public. Criminal record checks, along with the declaration related to suitability to practise, further supports the College’s due diligence in assessing applicant eligibility for licensure and the mandate to protect the public.

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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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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.