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The College ensures only qualified veterinarians are licensed to practise in Ontario. To obtain a licence to practice veterinary medicine, applicants must meet specific requirements.

Applying for Licensure

Holding a licence to practise in the province is a privilege and as such comes with ongoing responsibilities. Only veterinarians licensed by the College are permitted to practise veterinary medicine in Ontario. Applicants demonstrate adequate knowledge and competency to meet entry to practice requirements.
Here to assist you 

We understand that applying for a licence to practice veterinary medicine is a significant step in your career, and we want to support you with clear information about our processes in accordance with our service commitment. When you submit an application for licensure, our staff review it carefully and will strive to contact you with information about the outstanding requirements within five business days. Once you meet all the requirements for a particular licence, it can be approved and processed within two business days. We look forward to assisting you with the licensing process and answering any questions you have. Contact our team at if you would like to make an appointment to meet with us.  

How to apply 

Please read through the licensure process information that applies to you. 

Holding a licence to practise in the province is a privilege and as such comes with ongoing responsibilities. Only veterinarians licensed by the College are permitted to practise veterinary medicine in Ontario.

Licensure Process Information

FAQs from Applicants

The Veterinarians Act exempts students in the DVM program at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) from the requirement of licensure, so that they may practise veterinary medicine for the purpose of completing program requirements (i.e. participate in supervised clinical placements at private practices within Ontario). Non-OVC students, however, are not given the same exemption.

The College believes that the intent and spirit of the legislation is to facilitate the learning process for students enrolled in accredited veterinary medical undergraduate programs and to permit these students to participate in these placements/rotations/internships/externships under appropriate supervision without requiring licensure.
The College’s Supervision of Non-OVC AVMA-COE Accredited Veterinary Students policy provides details on the process, including submission of an undertaking, for non-OVC AVMA-COE accredited veterinary students to complete a clinical-placement in Ontario. This policy ensures students and supervising veterinarians are aware of their obligations when engaging in a practical placement.
An applicant is permitted to review the file in person at the College office, or copies can be sent to them, as appropriate. Occasionally, applicants request that certain documents in their file be forwarded to another licensing body, and responses to those requests are honoured (within 1-2 days) at no charge. Please visit the College's Privacy Code for details. 
Once a student has completed the curriculum of the OVC undergraduate program they must obtain a licence with the College prior to practising veterinary medicine or holding themselves out as a veterinarian including the use of the titles Dr. or veterinarian. Until the licence is issued, that new graduate may only work as an auxiliary.  
An application and supporting documentation are valid for one year, once submitted. Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the Registrar retains the right to seek resubmission of any outdated materials. The need for resubmission of application materials is determined by the applicant’s current activities. If an applicant is asked to resubmit any part of an application, the application fee will not be charged again. 
Applicants can request access to their records by submitting a written request, with contact information and information to identify themselves, to the Registrar, College of Veterinarians of Ontario at or by regular mail. 

The Veterinarians Act exempts undergraduate students enrolled in the DVM program at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) from the need to be licensed with the College while engaging in the undergraduate curriculum of studies. The provision permits these students to participate in externships and other clinical activities under the immediate or direct supervision of a CVO-licensed veterinarian, both on campus during coursework and in clinical practice placements when placed in an elective rotation or in an externship. Students must be identified to clients as student learners. 

If a student is volunteering or working at a clinic outside of their DVM program, they are restricted to acting as an auxiliary and cannot practise veterinary medicine. 

An access to records request would rarely be limited or refused. This may occur when something in the record is a safety risk to the applicant or another person, if released. Legal advice specific to an application is, however, privileged, and would likely not be released to an applicant.

Language project

The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) is beginning its work on a project to benchmark the language demands (both French and English) of veterinarians in Ontario. The CCLB has been engaged by the College for the one-year project. To support the project, an Advisory Committee will be established to provide guidance, and a benchmarking team will collect qualitative and quantitative data through research. The research will include job shadowing and on-site workplace observations of authentic language use. Benchmark findings arising from the analysis of this data will be validated through focus group sessions with veterinarians and experts. 

The final report, expected in December 2024, will describe the benchmarks of the speaking, listening, reading, and writing tasks required of veterinarians in Ontario. It will provide a clear blueprint of the language requirements needed to work safely as a veterinarian in Ontario, based on Canada’s national language standards: Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) and Niveous de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC). A current language evaluation will allow the College to use the language benchmarks to set appropriate and consistent scores across all of the accepted language proficiency tests and the ability to easily adopt new language tests and set acceptable scores. 

Seeking veterinary practices for on-site workplace observation

Help inform the language demands of veterinarians in Ontario. Veterinarians work in a wide range of sites and situations and CCLB’s research team is interested in becoming familiar with all of these areas. To participate in on-site workplace observations, please email Lindsay Sproule, Principal Licensure at