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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.

Licensure Overview

There are over 5,000 licensed veterinarians in Ontario. Only veterinarians licensed by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario are permitted to practise in Ontario. As part of its mandate to protect and serve the public interest, the College ensures only qualified veterinarians are licensed to practise in Ontario.

A significant requirement for licensure is to be a graduate of either an accredited veterinary school or an acceptable unaccredited veterinary school. Accredited veterinary schools are those recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association - Council on Education.

Another significant requirement is to successfully complete the required National Board Examinations. The national examinations consists of up to three examinations that measure 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) and the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE).

Those applicants from an unaccredited veterinary school will need to pass all three examinations. Those applicants from an accredited veterinary school will need to take the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) and pass it on the first or second attempt. If the applicant does not pass it in two attempts, he/she will have to take the Clinical Proficiency Exam (CPE) after passing the NAVLE as well.

For Licensure

The general requirements for licensure include the following:

  • has not been found guilty and that there are no charges pending involving an allegation of an offence relevant to the applicant's suitability to practise veterinary medicine;
  • has not been the subject of a finding of professional misconduct, gross neglect or impairment, in another jurisdiction;
  • is not the subject of a current professional misconduct, gross neglect or impairment, in another jurisdiction;
  • holds a degree in veterinary medicine from an accredited veterinary school or an acceptable unaccredited veterinary school;
  • demonstrates adequate knowledge of English or French;
  • successfully completes the required National Board Examinations;
  • has successfully completed the College’s local knowledge examination;
  • is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada or has received the appropriate authorization to practise veterinary medicine in Canada;
  • has not made false or misleading statements on the application

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