Background

The Veterinarians Act provides a framework for the licensing of veterinarians and the accreditation of the facilities where veterinary professionals, including registered veterinary technicians, practice. The Act also governs the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario and sets out the authority framework for the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO), which regulates the veterinary profession and includes public participation in decision making.

The last significant updates to the Act were made in 1989 and we recognize it may no longer reflect modern veterinary practice. We’ve heard from the veterinary community and the public that the investigations, complaints and resolution processes need to be more efficient. That’s why we are proposing updates to the current legislative framework to open the door to establishing a new standard of veterinary care in Ontario.

The proposed changes include the scope of veterinary medicine, improving accountability in the profession, and aligning oversight of the organization.

About the proposed changes

We are seeking input from the public on the framework for the regulation of veterinary professionals in Ontario.

We are looking for specific feedback on how we can better define animal care activities provided by veterinary professionals and how we can improve accountability and transparency. This includes:

  • the scope of practice for veterinary medicine, such as the procedures, services and processes a licensed veterinarian or other veterinary professional, such as a veterinary technician, is permitted to perform in Ontario. We are also seeking to clarify in the Act the care activities, like massage therapy or animal rehabilitation, that can be provided to animals by individuals other than veterinarians and veterinary technicians.
  • how to improve accountability and transparency to make sure that powers, responsibilities and processes under the Act are clear to the public.
  • how to align oversight of the Ontario veterinary profession with other self-governing regulated professions in the province to ensure that the veterinary profession continues to be managed in the public interest. This could include, for example, altering the composition of the governing council to include a wider range of membership and voices (including academic representatives, additional public members and veterinary technicians).

By taking steps to solicit a broad range of input on the modernization of the Veterinarians Act, the government will be in a position to propose informed updates to the legislation that will reflect how veterinary care is delivered in Ontario in 2022 and in the future.

In Ontario, the regulation of the practice of veterinary medicine is delivered independently by the CVO of Ontario at arm's length from the provincial government. Anyone who believes that a veterinarian has not acted or treated them professionally can submit a complaint to the College.

How to participate

Send your suggestions and feedback in one of two ways:

  • by email: vetact.omafra@ontario.ca
  • by surface mail:
    Comments on the Modernization of the Regulation of the Veterinary Profession
    Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
    Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
    1 Stone Road West, 2nd Floor S.W.
    Guelph, Ontario
    N1G 4Y2

Your feedback will help inform a discussion paper that will be posted on the Regulatory Registry for public consultation in winter 2023. You can provide additional input through the registry at that time.

Your privacy matters

If you submit your comments via email, some of your personal information including your name may be shared. To submit anonymous feedback, please mail your submission to:

Comments on the Modernization of the Regulation of the Veterinary Profession
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
1 Stone Road West, 2nd Floor S.W.

If you provide contact information (including where the contact information is personal contact information), we may use it to follow up with you on your comments or to provide you with future consultation materials.

Your feedback is necessary in order to help the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs understand how specific animal care activities provided by veterinary professionals can be better defined, how accountability and transparency can be improved, and how the Veterinarians Act can be improved more generally. This feedback will be used by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to help develop a more detailed proposal for amendments to the Veterinarians Act.

Information collected as part of this consultation is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

For questions on this collection of information, please contact:

Michael Richardson
Senior Policy Advisor
Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch (FSEPB)
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Michael.richardson@ontario.ca