Overview

The Veterinary Assistance Program (VAP) helps promote the viability of the livestock industry by supporting the provision of veterinary services to livestock producers. It does this by using conditional grants to offset the travel, locum, and continuing education costs incurred by participating veterinary representatives. Stakeholder organizations include the Northern Producer Animal Health Network and the Designated Area Veterinarians Associations.

Program definitions

For the purposes of these guidelines, the following terms have the meanings indicated:

“Act” means the Ontario Veterinarians Act R.S.O.. 1990, c. V.3 (as amended) and its regulations.

“call” means a single visit by a veterinary practice to provide veterinary services.

“conditional contribution” means a contribution made on a reimbursement basis in the amounts set out in this section below, that does not need to be repaid by the veterinary practice provided that the terms and conditions of the veterinary services agreement (VSA) are satisfied.

CVO means the College of Veterinarians of Ontario.

“DAVA” means the Designated Area Veterinarians Association.

“guidelines” means these program guidelines.

“isolated producer” means a producer whose place of business is located at least 70 kilometre (km) driving distance (one way) from a veterinary practice.

“isolated veterinary practice” means a veterinary practice that has been so designated by the Ministry in accordance with these guidelines.

“licensed practitioner” means a veterinarian licensed by the CVO pursuant to the Act.

“livestock” means horses, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, rabbits, poultry, bison, deer, or animals maintained in captivity for producing fur, velvet, or meat that are owned or in the care of a producer.

“Ministry” means the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.

NPAHN means the Northern Producer Animal Health Network.

OVMA means the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association.

“producer” means participating producer that is an owner or caretaker of livestock, which has a place of business located in the program area, has a client relationship with a veterinary practice and is a member of a veterinary services committee (membership as defined by the applicable VSC).

“veterinary practice” means a participating veterinary practice that:

  • has its practice name registered with the CVO
  • whose director is licensed under the Act
  • maintains an accredited Food-Producing Animal mobile (defined in VCO by-laws) throughout the program period, and
  • has entered into a veterinary services agreement, or
  • where with the approval of the Ministry, a veterinarian licensed under the Act that has an accredited Food-Producing Animal mobile that works as an independent contractor may also be considered eligible for a veterinary services agreement.

“practice” means the base unit component of Food-Producing Animal mobile as defined by COV. The address of this base unit is stated on the current Certificate of Accreditation Food-Producing Animal mobile.

“program” means the Veterinary Assistance Program (VAP).

“program area” means all areas in the province of Ontario north of and including the County of Renfrew, the County of Haliburton, the Township of Addington Highlands, the Township of Carlow/Mayo, the Township of Limerick, the Township of Wollaston, the Township of Georgian Bluffs, the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, and the District Municipality of Muskoka.

“program period” means the current Veterinarian Assistance Program period, which is from April 1 to March 31.

“substitute veterinary services” are services provided by a veterinary practice on behalf of another veterinary practice that is temporarily unable to provide the veterinary services required under its VSA with the Ministry.

VSA means the veterinary services agreement between the Ministry and a veterinary practice to provide veterinary services.

“veterinary services” means the provision of veterinary services to producers, by licensed practitioners in accordance with the terms of the program.

VSC means a veterinary services committee.

Roles and responsibilities

The Ministry

  • administers the program
  • consults with DAVA and NPHAN as required
  • responds to written correspondence in a timely manner
  • processes claims in a timely manner, and
  • appoints a staff contact person for NPHAN, and each VSC; the VSC contact person shall provide advisory assistance to the VSC and program coordinator as requested

NPHAN

  • serves as the first point of contact for veterinary practices with respect to the program
  • represents the interests of all participating veterinary practices as they relate to the program
  • recommends program changes to the Ministry
  • consults with the Ministry as required
  • advises the Ministry of contentious program issues in a timely fashion

NPHAN

  • serves as the first point of contact for local VSCs regarding the program
  • represents the interests of all VSCs as they relate to the program
  • recommends to the Ministry veterinary practices for inclusion in the program
  • recommends program changes to the Ministry
  • consults with the Ministry as required, and
  • advises the Ministry of contentious program issues in a timely fashion

VSC

  • serves as the first point of contact for local producers regarding the program
  • represents the interests of local producers as they relate to the program
  • recommends to NPHAN veterinary practices for inclusion in the program
  • recommends to the Ministry, via NPHAN when it would be advisable for more than one veterinary practice to share a designation and when it would be advisable for a single veterinary practice to be allocated more than on designation
  • recommends program changes to NPHAN
  • advises NPHAN of contentious program issues in a timely fashion
  • advises the veterinary practice(s) and the Ministry appointed VSC contact person of local VSC meetings in advance

Veterinarian recruitment policy

Subject to the availability of funding, we will reimburse one-third (33.33%) of your costs for an approved recruitment effort, up to a maximum of $1,000, on the following conditions:

  • NPHAN must notify the Ministry in writing that there is a distinct area within the program area where there are no veterinary practices within 70 km, and in NPHAN’s opinion there is a need for such services
  • the Ministry determines that the number of livestock farms in the area is large enough to support a veterinary practice, and
  • NPHAN and the VSC each provide funds to match the Ministry’s dollar amount for the advertising in each recruitment effort

The Ministry may, at its sole discretion, provide a greater contribution towards recruitment costs.

Isolated veterinary policy

The Ministry may designate a participating veterinary practice as an isolated veterinary practice under the following circumstances:

  • the veterinary practice is located north of the 48th parallel, and at least 70 km driving distance (one way) from any other veterinary practice, or
  • upon written request by a VSC, submitted through NPHAN, where it is demonstrated to the Ministry’s satisfaction that designation as an “isolated veterinary practice” is required to retain or attract veterinary practices to the program

Once designated as an isolated veterinary practice, the veterinary practice will remain designated for the duration of the program period.

VSC service designations

Each VSC has a specific number of service designations (a “designation”). Each designation represents the right to receive veterinary services pursuant to a VSA that will provide to a single veterinary practice.

Subject to:

  • receipt of a written request by a VSC, through NPHAN, that demonstrates to the Ministry’s satisfaction that splitting a designation is required to retain or attract veterinary services
  • a determination by the Ministry that there is sufficient program funding available to support any anticipated additional costs associated with the splitting of a designation, and
  • written agreement from the veterinary practices proposing to share the designation, the Ministry may approve a request to split the designation

Where a VSC has two or more designations, the VSC can choose to nominate a single veterinary practice to fill two or more designations, provided that the VSC is able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Ministry, that the single veterinary practice has the resources and capacity to fill two or more designations.

Similarly, a veterinary practice may enter into a single VSA to fill two or more designations of different VSCs, provided that the veterinary practice is able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Ministry, that it has the resources and capacity to fill two or more designations.

How to apply

New veterinarian must apply to the program before they submit claims. In order to participate in the program at the beginning of the year they must contact the veterinary service committee (VSC). If the VSC approves their application, the veterinarian is referred to NPHAN.

NAPHN approves all applications and communicates approval to Veterinarian Assistance Program (VAP) coordinator. The new veterinarian must provide the VAP coordinator with their business legal documents (AOI, MBL, legal names of sole proprietorship). The program’s legal team will conduct a complete business verification process. If the application is accepted, the legal team will confirm the verification process is complete and will communicate the information to VAP coordinator.

The new veterinarian must provide confirmation that they have the mandatory documents to participate in the program. The VAP staff will prepare and provide the EFT forms to the new veterinarian and they will complete the ARMS request.

The new veterinarian must complete the EFT forms and submit them. Once the documentation is received the VAP staff will prepare the case in TPON and notify the new veterinarian. The new veterinarian must register for TPON and complete necessary steps.

Veterinarian taking over another practice

A veterinarian taking over another practice mid-year from an existing veterinarian must inform the VSC. If the VSC approves the request, they will make the recommendation to NPHAN. If NPHAN approves the request, they will forward this information to the VAP coordinator. The veterinarian will be responsible for submitting their business legal documents (AOI, MBL, legal names of sole proprietorship). The program’s legal team will conduct a complete business verification process. If accepted, the program legal team will confirm verification process is complete and will communicates to VAP coordinator.

Veterinarian taking over another practice must:

  • provides the program coordinator with confirmation that they have the mandatory documents to participate in the program
  • VAP staff prepares the veterinarian service agreement and works with the veterinarian to execute the agreement and provide the EFT forms to the veterinarian
  • VAP staff will complete the ARMS request

The veterinarian must complete the EFT forms and submit them. Once the documentation is received the VAP staff will prepare the case in TPON and notifies the veterinarian. The veterinarian must register for TPON and complete necessary steps.

Eligible expenses

A veterinary practice that provides or causes to be provided veterinary services throughout the program period in accordance with the terms of the VSA will be eligible for expenses in accordance with the guidelines.

Travel costs for participating veterinary practices

We will reimburse your travel cost up to a maximum of $40,000 (per program period) to provide:

  • veterinary services
  • locum assistance (substitute veterinary services)

We will reimburse:

  • $1.20 per km for travel to producers within a 70 km driving distance (one way) of your place of business. Calls to producers located beyond 5 km of your place of business will have 10 km deducted from the total kms.
  • $1.20 per km, up to a maximum of 250 km, for travel to isolated producers whose premises are beyond 70 km driving distance (one way) of your place of business. Ten km will be deducted from the kms claimed.
  • $1.20 per km, up to a maximum of 250 kms per call, to provide substitute veterinary services. Ten kms> will be deducted from the kms claimed for travel to the producer’s premises.

We will not reimburse:

  • travel to calls performed within 5 km (one way) of the veterinary practice’s place of business
  • travel to a producer’s premises that is beyond 70 km (one way) unless the producer is an isolated producer

Travel costs for isolated veterinary practices

We will reimburse your travel costs up to a maximum of $40,000 per designation for the  program period to provide:

  • services to producers

We will reimburse:

  • Eligible travel to provide services to producers will be calculated using the following table:
Service calls completed during the program periodPayment
1 to 5$400/call
51 to 100$200/call
101 to 150$100/call
151 – 200$50/call
201 – 250$30/call
251 – 300$20/call
All additional callsNo payment
  • $1.20 per kilometre, up to a maximum of 250 kilometres per call, for travel by an isolated veterinary practice to provide substitute veterinary services. Travel to calls performed under this activity will have ten km deducted from the kilometres claimed for travel to the premises of the producer.  
  • Where two or more veterinary practices are splitting a designation and where one of these veterinary practices is providing substitute veterinary services for another veterinary practice under the same designation that substitute veterinary services will not be eligible for mileage but will be eligible for reimbursement based on the number of calls completed.

Continuing education

We will reimburse your cost up to a maximum of $2,000 (per designation) to attend continuing education courses (per program period).

We will reimburse:

  • travel cost up to 50 percent
  • accommodation
  • meals and non-alcoholic beverages
  • registration costs
  • $0.3375 per km up to 50 percent

We will not cover:

  • other travel costs related to attending courses (fuel, entertainment, etc.)

Travel Cost for Locum assistance

We will pay 50 percent costs during the first year up to a maximum of $3,000 (per designation) to arrange for substitute veterinary services to fulfil the obligations of the isolated veterinary practice.

All veterinary practices are eligible to provide this service.

We will not reimburse:

  • costs incurred by a veterinarian who is providing locum assistance for an isolated veterinary practice are only eligible under this incentive and will not be reimbursed otherwise.

Request for payment

Claims for reimbursement of eligible expenses shall be made in arrears for the following claim periods during the program period:

  1. April 1 to May 31
  2. June 1 to July 31
  3. August 1 to September 30
  4. October 1 to November 30
  5. December 1 to January 31
  6. February 1 to March 31

Claims for reimbursement of eligible expenses must be submitted:

  • received by the Ministry no later than 30 days after the end of each claim period
    (late claims may not be paid)
  • receipts for all expenditures

Claims for the February 1 to March 31 claim period must be:

  • received by the Ministry no later than April 4 (late claims will not be paid)

Claims are to be submitted via the Transfer Payment Ontario (TPON) application. You can access TPON at: TPON (gov.on.ca).

The Ministry at its sole discretion may holdback an amount not exceeding twenty percent of the payable for each of the claim periods. At the time of the final payment for the program period, the Ministry will either:

  • release to veterinary practice the total amount of the holdback, where the program spending based on claims submitted for veterinary practices would not exceed the program allocation, or
  • where program spending based on claims submitted for all veterinary practices would exceed the program allocation:
    • release the total amount of the holdback to those veterinary practices whose total claims for the current program period does not exceed $25,000
    • release a pro-rated amount of the holdback to veterinary practices that have claims disbursed in excess of $25,000; pro-rated amount will be calculated by determining the difference between the total claims disbursed and the funds allocated by the program for the program period; difference will be used to calculate a percentage that will then be applied to the holdback for each veterinary practices that has claims disbursed in excess of $25,000
    • Notwithstanding the foregoing, all payment reimbursed pursuant to the program are subject to the maximum amounts payable. Such maximum amounts payable are further subject to the number of designations or parts thereof, applicable to specific VSAs

Veterinary practices that are entitled under their VSA to providing veterinary services pursuant to more than one designation must complete and submit a separate claim form for each of the designations they are entitled to fill.