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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Introducing Measures to Help Improve Access to Veterinary Services

TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government introduced legislation designed to enhance access to professional animal care.


The Enhancing Professional Care for Animals Act would, if passed, pave the way to formalizing the broad scope of practice for veterinary technicians that could result in an expanded role. The legislation would also streamline the complaints resolution process and increase penalties for actions that intentionally harm an animal.


“Continued access to safe and professional care is critical for pet owners and farmers which is why we are proposing to modernize the 35-year-old legislative framework regulating the veterinary profession,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This bill is designed to enable better access to veterinary services, recognize the important role of veterinary technicians, improve oversight of the profession and increase quality assurance through measures like continuing education.”


Following extensive public consultations with stakeholders and partners on ways to modernize the laws governing veterinarians and improve access to care in Ontario, the proposed new legislation would provide a number of important benefits, including:


  • Enabling the creation of a formal scope of practice for veterinary technicians that would allow them to perform to the full potential of their training and expertise.

  • New requirements for continuing education similar to other regulated professions.

  • An improved complaints resolution process to allow disputes to be addressed more quickly.

  • Increased penalties to better reflect the seriousness of actions that could harm animals.

  • Ensuring more public representation on the council of the regulatory college overseeing veterinary professionals to bring broader perspectives.


If passed, the new legislation would better align oversight of Ontario’s veterinary profession with other self-regulated health professions in the province.


Quick Facts


  • Through the proposed Enhancing Professional Care for Animals Act, the Ontario government is meeting commitments made in the 2023 Ontario Budget and taking action to reach the goals set out in the Grow Ontario Strategy.

  • The government is expanding veterinary capacity in underserviced areas of Ontario through the Veterinary Incentive Program which provides up to $50,000 for up to 100 recently licensed veterinarians who locate in an underserviced area to provide care to livestock and poultry in these communities.

  • The government is also working to increase access to veterinary care by providing $14.7 million over two years to create 20 new veterinary school spaces each year.

  • For more information about OMAFRA programs and services, contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre (AICC) by phone at 1-877-424-1300 or by e-mail at ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.

Quotes


"Today is a pinnacle moment, a significant step towards a robust and effective legislative framework to govern veterinary medicine in Ontario. This legislation strengthens public protection and more accurately reflects current veterinary practice. Our council and the licensed members of our college recognize that this legislation will support veterinary teams and enable us to serve the public with efficiency, transparency and accountability. This is good news for the public, for veterinary medicine, and for veterinary teams in Ontario."


- Dr. Wade Wright

President, College of Veterinarians of Ontario


"After nearly a decade of tireless advocacy, OVMA is pleased that the concerns of the veterinary profession, stemming from an outdated legislative framework, have been heard and that a new Act has been introduced. OVMA supports legislation that reduces the regulatory burden on the profession by recognizing the vital role of Registered Veterinary Technicians. The association remains committed to ensuring that outcomes are fair, balanced, and reflective of the current profession and meet the needs of pet owners, producers, and Ontario’s animals by providing a flexible framework that protects the public interest."


- John Stevens

CEO, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association


"This is a historic moment for Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs), and I am so proud of the work we have done together with Minister Thompson to get here. This new legislation will expand scope of practice for RVTs, positioning Ontario as a future-ready leader in the regulation of veterinary medicine by enabling RVTs to participate in team-based veterinary care to the full extent of their abilities and training. We look forward to continuing to work with the Ontario government to grow our profession."


- Kirsti Clarida

President, Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians


"The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society strongly supports allowing registered veterinary technicians to practice at a level reflecting their training and expertise. This is an important step to increase access to veterinary care in Ontario and we look forward to working with the province to further ensure all animals can get the care they need."


- Doug Brooks

President & CEO, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society


"The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is pleased to see the Ontario government’s modernization of the Veterinarians Act. Veterinarians play a critical role, promoting the health and welfare of animals and maintaining a healthy, safe and sustainable agri-food system. These proposed changes to modernize and streamline the Act will ensure Ontario farmers have access to modern and quality care for their livestock, a crucial component to the economic stability of Ontario’s rural communities."


- Drew Spoelstra

President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture


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