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Recognition of Specialties

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Policy Statement

Published: November 2022


In order to practise veterinary medicine in Ontario, an individual must hold a valid licence issued by the College. Specialty recognition is distinct from licensure.  

Ontario Regulation 1093 provides that a member shall not use a term, title or designation which indicates specialization in veterinary medicine or represents to the public that the member is a specialist or is specially qualified in a branch of veterinary medicine, unless the member is qualified in a specialization approved by the College.  


This policy statement outlines the veterinary specialty organizations that are accepted by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and the process for licensed members to add their specialty qualifications to the public register. 


The Council of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario will allow those licensees who hold specialty certifications from an organization recognized by the College in this policy to use a specialist title in Ontario.  

The College recognizes the American Veterinary Medical Association - Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organizations and the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation – Recognized Veterinary Specialist Colleges as organizations that grant specialty certification to veterinarians.

Specialty qualification on the public register 

The Public Register identifies all licensed members who have approved specialty qualifications. Before describing themselves as a specialist, licensed members must provide acceptable documentation to the College in order to have their specialty qualifications added to the public register.


A specialist is a veterinarian who has been granted a specialty designation by an organization structured and recognized for that specific purpose. A specialty requires completion of additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and successful completion of an examination that evaluates and confirms knowledge and skills in that specialty area.


Veterinarians Act R.S.O. 1990, s. 19 
R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 1093: General s. 36 

College publications contain practice parameters and standards which should be considered by all Ontario veterinarians in the care of their patients and in the practice of the profession. College publications are developed in consultation with the profession and describe current professional expectations. It is important to note that these College publications may be used by the College or other bodies in determining whether appropriate standards of practice and professional responsibilities have been maintained. The College encourages you to refer to the website ( to ensure you are referring to the most recent version of any document.