close search panel

Information for the Public

The College protects your right to safe, competent and ethical veterinary care. When you require the services of a veterinarian, you can expect to receive safe, quality care from a highly-trained licensed professional.

Filing a Complaint

The College is dedicated to protecting the public interest. In fulfilling this mandate, the College oversees the professional conduct of Ontario veterinarians. The College receives, investigates, and acts upon complaints made against its licensed veterinarians.

Anyone who believes a veterinarian has not acted or treated them professionally can submit a complaint to the College.

Before Filing a Complaint

We appreciate how important it is for you to understand our complaints process while considering filing a complaint against a licensed veterinarian. If you are thinking about filing a complaint or have any questions about the complaints process, please reach out to our Investigations and Hearings Navigator. Our Navigator will set up a time (that works for you) for a phone call to take you through the complaints process. 

Here are some ways you can contact our Navigator:

Email: navigator@cvo.org

Phone: (519) 824-5600/1-800-424-2856 ext. 2264

Any voicemails and email messages are monitored during regular business hours, and our Navigator will respond within two business days.

Our Navigator is here to assist you with:

  • Understanding the various steps of the complaints process,

  • Knowing what you can expect as possible outcomes from the process,

  • More information about current timelines, and

  • Any other questions about the process at any time when your case is active.

Please remember that our Navigator cannot provide:

  • Specific case-related information or status,
  • Legal advice or legal opinion, 
  • Medical advice or medical opinion,
  • Opinion about the conduct of a veterinarian as it relates to a complaint.

Filing a Complaint

A complaint is submitted in writing and includes the following information:

  • Name(s) of the veterinarian(s) & veterinary facility(ies)
  • Details of the complaint, including date of incident, name & species of the animal, supporting documentation (ie. photographs, audio or video recordings)
  • Names and contact information for anyone who could provide further information (ie. mailing address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses)
  • Complete contact information for the person filing the complaint

The complaint is submitted in writing to:

College of Veterinarians of Ontario
2106 Gordon Street  Guelph, ON  N1L 1G6
complaints@cvo.org   or fax to: 519-824-6497/1-888-662-9479

After Filing a Complaint

The College provides the veterinarian with a copy of the complaint. The individual filing the complaint receives a summary for verification. The College asks the veterinarian to respond to the complaint with a written explanation, relevant medical records, x-rays, logs, etc. The College provides the complainant with a copy of the veterinarian’s response and an opportunity to respond to the veterinarian’s explanation.

Each complaint is reviewed by College staff and, when appropriate, attempts may be made to resolve the concerns through mediation. If mediation is not successful or appropriate, the matter is reviewed by the Complaints Committee.

The Complaints Committee

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.

After reviewing the case, the Committee may decide it:

  • has no concerns with the member’s conduct and will take no further action.
  • has some concerns with the member’s conduct and the member is provided with advice and/or education.
  • has very serious concerns and refers the case for a hearing with the Discipline Committee.
  • views the complaint as frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith or otherwise an abuse of process.

If you have any specific questions about your complaint, including case status, please write to us at complaints@cvo.org or call 1-800-424-2856.


Sign up to receive the newsletter

Sign up for the College public newsletter to stay informed on topics related to the regulation of veterinary medicine in Ontario.

Ask a Practice Advisor

The College's practice advisors provide information on the regulations, policy and expectations associated with the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario.