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Modernizing oversight of the veterinary profession 

The College Council welcomes the provincial government’s announcement on November 21, 2022 committing to the modernization of the regulation of the veterinary profession in Ontario 

The College Council has been working towards the modernization of its governing legislation for several years and forwarded recommendations to the province in 2018. The College, along with the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians and the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, are working collaboratively on modernization to strengthen public protection and more accurately reflect current veterinary practice. 

The College Council sees legislative reform as an opportunity to provide the public and the veterinary profession with: 

  • better protection of animal welfare 

  • clarity in the role of veterinary technicians and recognition for their skillset on the veterinary team 

  • a more streamlined approach to managing investigations and their resolutions 

  • improved access to low-risk health care options for animal owners 

  • increased accountability and transparency 

  • modernized and enhanced governance 

Responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs has oversight of the Veterinarians ActAs a regulatory college, the College of Veterinarians of Ontario has legal authority through its governing legislation, the Veterinarians Act. While the College can identify the need for legislative changes, it is ultimately the responsibility of the provincial government to revise the governing legislation. 

Recording of virtual townhall on modernizing the Veterinarians Act, March 2023

A recording of the presentation and question and answer session from the March 15, 2023 virtual townhall discussing the modernization of the Veterinarians Act. 

Podcast with CVO, OAVT and OVMA, February 2023 

In this podcast, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the College, Jan Robinson, is joined by John Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and Elise Wickett, Executive Director and Registrar of the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians. They discuss the ongoing consultation and progress towards the modernization of the regulation of the veterinary profession in Ontario.

In 2014, the Council appointed a Legislative Reform Oversight Advisory Group and three working groups. Each group included veterinarians, College Council members, government representatives, association representation, representation from other regulators and College staff. The current Legislative Reform Implementation Advisory Group includes the College, the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians, and Ontario Veterinary Medical Association. 

The College Council adopted key principles to guide the work of the legislative reform working groups, College staff, and Council through the legislative review process. 

Right Touch Regulation: Right touch regulation means utilizing the minimum regulatory approach required to achieve the desired result. The intent is to focus on identified and verified risks and simplicity in solutions. 

Agility: Agility in regulation means looking forward and anticipating change. The Act intended to provide for broad authority which permits a flexible approach to actual implementation and the opportunity to refine regulatory responses over time. 

Just Culture: A just culture ties discipline to an individual's intent or behavioural choices rather than the outcome of their actions. In promoting a just culture, we accept that mistakes occur. We consider both the individual and the system which gives rise to errors and seek to learn from incidents and errors. 

Collaborative self-regulation: Collaboration in self-regulation is demonstrated by an approach that views the public, veterinarians, government, and others involved in the safe delivery of veterinary medicine as partners in achieving quality practice outcomes. 

Risk Mitigation: Our regulatory solutions seek to mitigate risks in practice. Our processes support the measurement and evaluation of risk(s), and solutions which manage them effectively and responsibly. 

Transparency: The public needs access to information to trust that profession-based regulation works effectively. Transparency includes the provision of information to the public that enhances its ability to make decisions or hold the regulator accountable. Transparency, however, must balance public protection with fairness and privacy. 

For more information on the College's legislative reform activities, please review the noted reference materials.

Right Tough Regulation, Professional Standards Authority:

https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/docs/default-source/publications/thought-paper/right-touch-regulation-2015.pdf  


Achieving a Modern Approach to the Regulation of Veterinary Medicine in Ontario: 

Achieving a Modern Approach to the Regulation of Veterinary Medicine 2018.pdf 

Timeline towards Modernized Legislation

1877
1989
2014-2018
2018
2020
2022
2023
1877

Agriculture and Arts Act

Veterinary medicine regulated with the first Agriculture and Arts Act
1989

Veterinarians Act update

The most recent update to the Veterinarians Act was in 1989.
2014-2018

Legislative reform

Council approves recommendations for legislative reform through analysis and consultations
2018

A modern approach

College Council, in collaboration with the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians, sends 19 recommendations, compiled in Achieving a Modern Approach to the Regulation of Veterinary Medicine in Ontario to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
2020

Further recommendations

College Council continues research and consultation on further recommendations for legislative reform looking at Council composition, title protection, and defining incompetence.
2022

Regulatory changes

Province announces changes to Regulation 1093 relating to advertising and accreditation.
2023

Consultation

Province held an extensive consultation on a discussion paper.