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Licensure Policies

The College's licensure policy documents have been developed to increase the clarity of licence requirements, to assist veterinarians understand Restricted licensure and to outline the general expectation and processes for veterinarians engaged in a Registration Committee-imposed supervision arrangement. For more information about the College’s policies please review the individual policy documents below.

Restricted Licensure

Regulation 1093 under the Veterinarians Act permits the issuance of restricted licences. A restricted licence is defined as:

“a licence with conditions or limitations imposed by a committee”

A restricted licence may be requested by an applicant when an applicant does not meet any or all of the requirements for a general licence.

An application for a restricted licence is reviewed by the Registration Committee and is assessed on its own merits. In order for a review to be completed, the College must be in receipt of:

  • an application for licensure and payment of the application fee, and
  • a letter addressed to the Registration Committee outlining the request for a restricted licence and the reasons why the request should be granted.

If applicable, additional documentation may also be submitted:

  • a current resume detailing the applicant’s experience in veterinary medicine to date,
  • letters or employment support forms confirming the applicant’s employment and providing details of relevant duties and hours, and
  • any other information that the applicant believes would support his/her request.

The Committee reviews each application and all material received to determine if it will issue a restricted licence inclusive of any terms, conditions and/or limitations. Each decision is unique and made based on the merits of the application.

Terms, conditions and limitations are defined as follows:

Term – a specified length of time that the licence is active.

Condition – a requirement that must be met in order to practise (e.g. a course to be completed, level of supervision)

Limitation – a restriction that often implies avoiding certain actions (e.g. a limitation on practise scope or employment location)

The Committee issues a decision, inclusive of any terms, conditions and/or limitations, with its reasons. A decision of the Committee is appealable to Health Professions Appeal and Review Board.

(approved by the Registration Committee ‐ May 2014)

Transcripts Evidence of Basic Degree

The Registrar shall accept official transcripts sent directly from the educational institution as evidence of successful completion of the basic degree in veterinary medicine where the applicant is unable to produce the original degree for presentation to the College.

(approved by Registration Committee ‐ 2013)

English/French Language Proficiency

As per Reg. 1093, all applicants must demonstrate proficiency in either English or French to be eligible for licensure with the College. If the applicant’s primary and secondary education was conducted in English or French, or if the undergraduate veterinary education was conducted in English or French, the applicant is considered to have fulfilled the College’s language proficiency requirement.

If the applicant’s primary and secondary education and undergraduate veterinary education was conducted in a language other than English or French, the applicant can satisfy the language requirements by submitting evidence of proficiency to the College in one of two ways:

objective evidence of proficiency is demonstrated by satisfactory test results taken within the last two years in each area of language competence; OR, if test results have expired,

other evidence that he/she is able to communicate in English or French at a level of proficiency that is sufficient for the practise of veterinary medicine.

Acceptable Test Results

​The Registrar will generally accept one of the following sets of objective test results as evidence of language proficiency:

English Test Minimum Score Details
Internet‐based TOEFL (iB‐TOEFL)


Reading – 23
Listening – 25
Speaking 22
Writing ‐ 22


No minimum overall score is required. Must achieve at least the minimum passing scores for each of the four sections of the exam.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – Academic Version

Listening ‐ 6.5
Writing ‐ 6.0
Speaking ‐ 7.0

Must achieve an overall score of at least 6.5. Must achieve the minimum passing score for each of the three sections.

Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Listening – 60
Writing ‐ 50
Speaking – 60
An overall score of no less than 60 must be achieved.
Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) Reading – 85
Listening – 85
Writing – 85
Speaking ‐ 3
French Test Minimum Score Details
Exam of French of the
Office de la langue francaise (OLF) of the Government of Quebec
Writing – 60
Writing comprehension – 60
Oral communication – 60
Oral comprehension ‐ 60
No minimum overall score is required.
 Applicants must provide a score report for one of the language proficiency tests that is no more than two years old. Applicants must achieve the minimum scores for all required sections of a test on the same administration or attempt.

Test results must be submitted as follows:



Method of submission

What to do


Send scores directly to the College through the Internet

Visit and enter the College’s name into the search engine. The CVO’s institution code is 3981.



The College will verify results online through the IELTS portal.

Send a legible copy of test results to the College for verification. College staff must be able to read the Test Report Form number in the bottom right hand corner of the report.


Test scores must be received directly from the testing institution. 

Provide the testing institution with the College’s address.

Other Evidence

The Registrar will consider other evidence that the applicant is able to communicate in English or French at a level of proficiency that is sufficient for the practise of veterinary medicine.

The process of providing sufficiently persuasive information to establish to the Registrar’s satisfaction that the applicant has met the language proficiency requirement is substantially more onerous than that of taking one of the standard language proficiency tests. Nevertheless, individuals have the right under the legislation to have the Registrar consider other evidence should an applicant wish to do so.

There is no restriction on the type or amount of information that may be submitted by the applicant to support the application. The following is a list of examples of what might be submitted with a cover letter:

  • Evidence of having authored veterinary publications in English or French
  • Evidence from a professor/supervisor attesting to language proficiency over a period of time (such as a residency or graduate program in an English speaking institution)
  • Evidence of a long‐standing history of working in a veterinary‐related environment where services were provided in English or French (verified by regulated professionals or recognized academics)
  • Evidence of successful English or French language proficiency test scores other than those listedin this policy.

(revised by Registration Committee ‐ 2016)

Document Translation


(revised by Registration Committee ‐ 2016)

This policy has been developed to outline document translations requirements for documentation that is provided to the College of Veterinarians of Ontario for the purposes of licensure.


This policy will apply to licensure applicants whose documentation is not in English or French. Generally, this documentation is veterinary medicine degrees and letters of professional standing.


Applicants seeking licensure are required to provide acceptable documentation related to their intended licence type. There are instances where these documents have not originally produced in either English or French. In these instances, applicants are required to provide a certified English or French translation of the document to the College.


To ensure that all translations are submitted in a consistent and fair manner, the College has adopted the following requirements:

1. Unless otherwise specifically directed, the translation must be submitted in original hard copy and be completed by either:

(i) The Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate to Canada of the country that issued the document;

(ii) A Canadian Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate in the country from which the applicant emigrated;

(iii) A translator accredited by the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario;

(iv) A translator accredited by a federal, provincial, or municipal government in Canada; or

(v) When extenuating circumstances arise, another person or organization deemed acceptable

by the College’s Registrar.

2. At all times, the translation must be accompanied by an original hard copy of the translator’s statement that contains:

(i) The translator’s official stamp and/or ID number;

(ii) The translator’s address and phone number;

(iii) The date that the translation occurred;

(iv) A statement by the translator that the translation is accurate and a true representation of

the document; and

(v) The printed name and original signature of the translator.

(approved by Registration Committee ‐ 2018)

Difficulty obtaining required documents

Despite their best efforts, some applicants are unable to obtain the documents required to support their application due to circumstances that are beyond their control.

Examples of such circumstances include:

  • An institution (such as a school or governmental organization) is unable to provide the requireddocument because it no longer exists, is not functioning or has lost records due to war,upheaval, natural disaster or other crisis;
  • An institution is refusing to provide the required documentation for an improper reason;
  • Contacting an institution to request a document raises a wellfounded fear of discrimination o persecution for the applicant or his/her family.

This list of examples is not exhaustive and other circumstances “outside an applicant’s control” will be considered on a case by case basis.


Any applicant indicating that it is impossible to obtain documents will be provided with an opportunity to describe their particular situation for consideration.

1. When an applicant advises the College that documents are not available, staff will ask for a letter to be submitted detailing the reasons why the document is not available.

2. The Registrar will then determine whether it is appropriate to accept alternative documentation given the facts presented.

Alternative Documents

Alternative documentary proof from sources other than the originating institution might include:

  • a certified/notarized copy directly from the applicant
  • copies of documents from another institution (regulatory body, testing agency)
  • transcripts from academic studies in veterinary medicine
  • an affidavit, which is a formal legal document in which an individual describes circumstances or knowledge and swears that the information provided is true in the presence of a notary or lawyer.
  • affidavits from third parties (such as professors or colleagues) with personal or expert knowledge relating to the applicant’s circumstances, academic credentials or qualifications.


Applicants may appeal the Registrar’s decision by asking for a referral to the Registration Committee.

(approved by Registration Committee ‐ 2014)

AVMA‐COE Accredited School Graduand Exemption


Under Ont. Reg. 1093 ss 3 (1) (i), applicants for licensure must provide evidence that they have earned a basic degree from an American Veterinary Medical Association-Council On Education (AVMA-COE) accredited veterinary school or an acceptable unaccredited veterinary school by presenting the degree in a manner acceptable to the College.

Since degrees are not issued until the educational institution holds its convocation ceremony, graduands who have completed all degree requirements but who have not yet convocated are not eligible for a licence issued by the Registrar.  Therefore they must request an exemption to the requirement, which by law may be considered and decided by the Registration Committee only.


The Registration Committee will consider, in lieu of the degree, an original letter from the Dean (or equivalent) of the relevant AVMA-COE veterinary college – Canadian or otherwise - confirming that the applicant

  • has completed all degree requirements for the program, and
  • is expected to graduate at the stated convocation ceremony date.

In these cases the Registration Committee will generally direct that a General Licence be granted with the condition that official transcripts issued after convocation must sent to the College directly from the educational institution within 6 months of the licence date.  Upon receipt of official transcripts (or other acceptable documentation) stating that graduation has taken place and the degree therefore issued, the Registrar is then permitted to remove the condition from the licence.  If the College does not receive official transcripts (or other acceptable documentation) within 6 months of the licence date, the General licence will be revoked.

(revised by the Registration Committee ‐ 2022)

Licensure with Supervision Condition (imposed by the Registration Committee)


One of the objectives of a supervision condition on a licence is to facilitate access to clinical practice for a veterinarian who has not met all of the entry-to-practice requirements as outlined in section 3 of Regulation 1093.  In order to mitigate risk and protect the public interest related to entry-to-practice requirements that have not been met, the supervision process includes ongoing monitoring and assessment of the supervised licensee. 


Under paragraph 14 (6) (c) of the Veterinarians Act, the Registration Committee is authorized to direct the issuance of a licence subject to conditions and limitations, including levels of supervision. The level of supervision determined appropriate is based on the information and documentation submitted by the applicant.  Usually, a Restricted Licence is the category of licence that is granted when supervision is required. 

Some examples of when the Registration Committee might impose a supervision condition include:

  • applicants who have passed the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) but not the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE);
  • applicants with impairment issues;
  • applicants who are the subject of current disciplinary or incapacity proceedings;
  • applicants with previous discipline findings; and
  • applicants who are highly experienced in a specialty or scope of practice but not board certified (or otherwise trained beyond the basic veterinary degree). In this circumstance, there is often an additional limitation placed on the licence that specifies a particular place of employment or employment environment. 

Purpose of Policy

This policy sets out the College’s general expectation and processes for any veterinarian engaged in a Registration Committee-imposed supervision arrangement.  


Primary Supervisor: A licensed veterinarian who is approved by the Registrar to supervise another veterinarian who has a supervision condition imposed on their licence by the Registration Committee.  

Supervisor Accountability

The primary supervisor signs an undertaking which is submitted to the College and by doing so, the primary supervisor is accepting the obligations, as outlined in this document, for the oversight of the supervisee’s practise at a particular workplace. Providing supervision is a privilege and is not a right. It is a time-consuming activity that carries with it potential liability and should not be entered into lightly by any member of the profession.

Complaints regarding the conduct or actions of a supervisee could result in an investigation by the College of both the supervisee and the supervising member. Both supervisee and the supervising member will be accountable to the public and clients for their action, which may include responsibility for failing to supervise adequately.

Levels of Supervision

The level of supervision required may be specified by the Registration Committee and if applicable will appear on the undertaking that must be signed by the licensee and on the licensee’s record on the Public Register. 

Definitions of the commonly specified levels of supervision:

  1. Condition of Immediate Supervision: the supervising veterinarian is on the same premises as the supervisee and can see and hear the supervisee when the supervisee is engaged in professional activities.
  2. Condition of Direct Supervision: the supervising veterinarian is on the same premises as the supervisee and, although may not be present to see and hear the supervisee, is accessible to the supervisee in a timely and appropriate manner. 
  3. Condition of Indirect Supervision: the supervising veterinarian is not required to be on the same premises as the supervisee at all times but is accessible to the supervisee in a timely and appropriate manner and available to attend the premises if required

Qualifications of Primary Supervisors

A veterinarian who wishes to supervise a licensee must generally meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Hold a General Licence with no conditions or limitations
  • Has at least 3-5 consecutive years of full- or half-time practice experience
  • Has been in active practice in Ontario for at least the past two years
  • Has no discipline findings within the past 5 years
  • Must not be the subject of any current disciplinary or incapacity proceedings
  • Has no active undertakings
  • Is not under an active Registrar’s or Complaints Investigations
  • Has no current referrals from Executive or Complaints Committees to Discipline
  • Has no conflict of interest (any real or perceived), such as personal relationships (e.g, employment, family, dating, business, friendship, etc.) that may interfere with the supervision or objective evaluation
  • Has no other factors, such as but not limited to, a history with the College or reported concerns raised by past supervisees or employees, that, in the opinion of the Registrar reasonably demonstrates that the veterinarian could not provide a suitable supervision experience.

Responsibilities of the Primary Supervisor:

In addition to agreeing to provide the supervision (to the level specified in the undertaking) to the supervisee when they are engaged in any and all professional activities, the supervisor must also agree to:

  1. Provide sufficient supervision and ongoing monitoring at the level appropriate to the risk associated with the activity engaged in by the supervisee, that assures both supervisor and clients of safe practise;
  2. Only delegate supervision responsibilities to other General licence holding veterinarians and ensure that these other supervisors provide sufficient supervision and that they understand the current level of supervision to be provided;
  3. Understand the supervisee’s learning objectives and communicate their role to other staff and to clients;
  4. Orient the supervisee to the practice (including equipment, protocols and documentation requirements) and to the specific condition, needs and/or goals of individual patients/clients;
  5. Ensure that duties assigned are commensurate with the supervisee’s ability, experience, comfort level and learning style, as well as the complexity of the environment/practice setting;
  6. Provide an environment that will facilitate learning and clinical growth;
  7. Provide feedback to the supervisee after consulting with others who have provided supervision, regarding performance on a consistent, timely basis, based on the criteria established by the College and submit those reports to the Registrar as per schedule stated in the Undertaking (see attached assessment form);
  8. Ensure that that the supervisee describes themself as a “Veterinarian working under Supervision”
  9. Immediately notify the Registrar in writing if the following situations occur:
    1. There are reasonable grounds for belief that the supervisee has performed any act of professional misconduct or serious neglect
    2. There are reasonable grounds for belief that the supervisee is impaired
    3. There are reasonable grounds for belief that the supervisee’s practice may expose patients or clients to risk of harm or injury
    4. There are reasonable grounds for belief that the supervisee is practising below standard
    5. When the supervisor is unable to continue in the role, or unable to fulfill obligations on a timely or temporary basis, e.g., due to illness, vacation, personal emergency, etc.

Responsibilities of the Supervisee:

In any Registration Committee-imposed supervising arrangement, the Supervisee must:

  1. Accept primary responsibility for their actions. 
  2. Identify themself as a Veterinarian working under Supervision.
  3. Submit an undertaking to the College that is signed by themself and any/all members of the College holding a General licence who agrees to act as a primary supervisor and to supervise their practise, at any/all locations.
  4. Notify the College of any supervisor changes, as these changes must first be approved by the Registrar before a new supervision undertaking may take effect.
  5. Ensure that assessment reports are submitted to the College on time.
  6. Adhere to any recommendations made by the supervisor.

Approval Process

Prior to beginning supervised practice:

  1. each suggested supervisor is to be pre-approved by the Registrar prior to the licensee commencing work;
  2. the supervisee and supervisor must sign an individualized and situation specific undertaking to formalize the agreement with the College; and
  3. the Registrar must approve the agreement.

The Registrar has the authority to decline the supervisor of choice if any of the above supervisor qualification criteria have not been met, without needing to provide written reason(s) for such decision. The confidentiality rights of the proposed supervisor may in fact preclude the Registrar from advising the proposed supervisee of the reasons why a proposed supervisor has not been approved.

Termination of Agreement

The Registrar reserves the right to terminate the supervision arrangement and may disentitle someone to act as a supervisor if there are reasonable grounds for the Registrar to believe that that the supervisor is no longer an appropriate choice. 

If the supervisor or supervisee terminates the undertaking, they must do so by informing the College in writing.  The supervisee is not permitted to practise until the Registrar has approved a new undertaking signed by the supervisee and a new supervisor who is acceptable to the Registrar.

(approved by the Registration Committee ‐ September 2021)

Short‐Term Licence Policy


To obtain a Short‐Term licence with the College, an applicant must meet all legislated requirements and provide payment of appropriate fees. These fees are listed in the College’s By‐Laws and indicate that an applicant must pay a licence fee of $250.00 for each issuance of a Short‐Term licence.


Applicants who apply and obtain multiple Short‐Term licences will be capped at a maximum of four short term licences per calendar year regardless of the amount of time that each Short Term licence is approved for. If an applicant needs to apply for a licence after he or she has been issued four Short‐Term licences, he or she will be directed by College staff to apply for a General or Restricted licence.

Legislative Authority

R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 1093: Licences, s. 3(1)(f), s. 8 College By‐Laws, Schedule 2, fees

(approved by Registration Committee – September 2016)

Letter of Professional Standing


As per Regulation 1093, all licensure applicants, if they have previously practised veterinary medicine, must provide evidence that there has been no finding of, and that there is no current proceeding involving an allegation of, professional misconduct, gross neglect, or impairment. Licensure applicants fulfill this requirement through the submission of letters of professional standing.


A letter of professional standing must be provided from each regulatory authority, in any jurisdiction, with whom an applicant is currently or was previously registered or licensed. The letter of standing must include:

  • the dates the licence was held,
  • the type of licence held,
  • the current status of the licence (if the licence is inactive a reason must be provided), and
  • whether or not any investigation or disciplinary action has been taken against the licence holder.

A letter of professional standing must be sent directly to the College from the regulatory authority or from a recognized organization working on behalf of the regulatory authority. The College will receive the letter of professional standing by email, fax, or mail. Email is the preferred form of submission whenever possible.

Letters of professional standing provided to the College are only valid for six months from the date of issue. The College reserves the right to ask for updated letters at any time.

Participation in a postgraduate program of which clinical practice either as part or whole of the program (aka clinical program, e.g., residency, internship or combined degree or diploma program) is considered to be engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine and requires a letter of professional standing. If the jurisdiction where the program was completed did not require licensure, then a letter confirming the applicant’s standing during their residency or internship is to be provided to the College from the Dean of the university.

If an applicant is unable to obtain a letter of standing, they should refer to the College’s Difficulty Obtaining Required Documents policy. These circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

If the letter of standing is not in English or French, a certified translation must also be provided. Please refer to the College’s Document Translation policy.

Legislative Authority

R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 1093: Licences, s. 3(1)(d)

Competency Examination and Assessment Pathways

The College’s Competency Examination and Assessment Pathways policy informs applicants of the entry to practise examinations and assessments that have been approved by Council.  

Determining Applicant Suitability to Practise

The College’s Determining Applicant Suitability to Practise explains how the College assesses information about an applicant’s suitability to practise; and identifies the criteria that the College uses when conducting such an assessment.

Criminal Record Checks

The College’s Criminal Record Checks policy informs applicants when a criminal record check is required and the type of criminal record check that applicants are required to submit. 

Licensure 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.

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.