Report on Consultation
Consultation Period: July 12 – August 23, 2019
Submissions: 31 responses using the survey tool, 5 responses on the public consultation tool, 2 email responses were received, 1 written submission from a stakeholder
Background on Consultation
The Code of Ethics was introduced by the College in December 2015. It outlines 6 core values that guide ethical behavior of veterinarians, including professionalism and competence. Based on a proposed conceptual framework that distinguishes professionalism from competence and ethics, the Quality Assurance Committee determined in August 2017 that work on the Code of Ethics to align it with the framework was needed. Since then, Council approved the Definition of Veterinary Professionalism in March 2018, and introduced the document, Guidance on Professionalism for Veterinarians. The College, through Strategy 2020, has placed a strong emphasis on promoting professionalism in the practice of veterinary medicine. Aligning the Code of Ethics with the Definition of Veterinary Professionalism supports this initiative.
In May 2018, the Quality Assurance Committee reviewed the Code of Ethics and identified areas needing revision. Several drafts of the Code of Ethics were subsequently reviewed, and a proposed draft version of the Code of Ethics was presented to Council in March 2019. The decision of Council was to direct the Quality Assurance Committee to continue to work on the draft.
On June 19, 2019, the proposed revised Code of Ethics was reviewed and approved by Council for consultation.
General questions were proposed as part of the consultation process:
- Does the Code of Ethics provide guidance to veterinarians to support ethical decision-making?
- Is the Code of Ethics clearly written and understandable?
- Does having this Code of Ethics protect the public interest? If not, please comment on what other ethics-based risks exist, and how they might be mitigated through policy?
- Are there any ethical principles not included in the Code of Ethics that would be helpful for veterinarians to guide ethical behaviour? o If so, what are they?
- Do you have any other suggested amendments or comments for Council’s consideration?
The prevalent theme in the feedback provided from respondents was that the revised draft Code of Ethics is clearly written, easily understandable, and supports veterinarians in ethical decision-making as well as protecting the public interest. A letter from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association also indicated general support for the direction that the Code of Ethics outlines and that the draft document sets a clear expectation from the College and provides protection to patients’ welfare and safety.