Legislative Reform

Background

The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT), the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) and the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) have been working collaboratively over many years towards a shared goal of modernizing the regulation of veterinary medicine in the province in order to strengthen public protection and more accurately reflect current practice.

  • This has included four years of policy research and consultations that culminated in the proposal Achieving a Modern Approach to the Regulation of Veterinary Medicine in Ontario, which was submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in 2018. 
  • CVO and OAVT, in conjunction with OVMA, established a Legislative Reform Implementation Advisory Group, to develop collaboratively the pieces of the reform. 
  • This has included proposed amendments to the legislation (Veterinarians Act) such as on council composition, where consultation has taken place, as well as early work to update regulations, including the registration regulation.

We will continue to post the latest updates and communications regarding modernizing Ontario’s Veterinarians Act here:

Want to join the OAVT in its advocacy efforts? You can email advocacy@oavt.org with questions.

Continue to check back for more resources to help you as the OAVT increases its advocacy efforts.

What will happen to the OAVT if the planned changes to the Veterinarians Act are implemented?

When the planned changes to modernize the regulation of veterinary medicine are implemented, the OAVT will transition to be the professional association for RVTs and the body that accredits RVT educational programs in the province in addition to other member services focused activities. Currently, the OAVT also regulates RVTs, ensuring only those who meet training, educational (including continuing education) and exam requirements are able to be registered and use the title Registered Veterinary Technician.

Why can’t we self-regulate and have the OAVT continue as our regulatory and professional association moving forward?

The OAVT will continue in its current role until legislative reform is able to be achieved. In order to realize our objective of seeing official recognition of RVTs in Ontario legislation and regulations, as well to more accurately reflect current practice and strengthen public protection, legislative reform is required.

How can we be sure that the RVT voice will be heard if our regulatory body changes and we no longer self-regulate?

The OAVT has worked collaboratively with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association through the Legislative Reform Implementation Advisory Group for the past two years, and for years before that, to ensure that the voice of RVTs is heard and represented as we work towards a new regulatory framework. Throughout all of this, RVTs have been involved. Going forward, the OAVT, as the professional association, will continue to advocate on behalf of RVTs.

Why do we have to change the Veterinarians Act? Are there any changes the OAVT can make without changing the act?

In order to see the changes for which the OAVT has been advocating for many years, including recognition of the profession in the province’s legislative and regulatory framework, the Veterinarians Act must first be amended.

We have heard about Legislative Reform for years. Why are we still not there yet?

The OAVT has been working towards the goal of legislative reform for many years, but as legislative change needs to be driven by government and in particular the governing elected officials, we need to put our best efforts in to make the case that the time is now. Let the OAVT know if you’d like to get involved and email advocacy@oavt.org

What will it take to make the necessary changes to the Veterinarians Act before the next election?

While we can’t control for the legislative priorities and other factors facing government right now, we can do the best job possible educating both government and other stakeholders that it will be a positive move to go forward with a more modern legislative framework for veterinary medicine.

Was the public and veterinary community asked about these changes?

Consultations with both the public and the veterinary community on a number of pieces related to legislative reform have occurred over the past number of years. For example, the College of Veterinarians of Ontario consulted widely on the legislative reform proposal, which can be found here. CVO has also led the consultations on other pieces including council composition and title protection.

Advocacy is…

  • Acting or speaking in favour of a cause, idea, or policy
  • Attempting to influence outcomes such as public policy and resource allocation decisions.
  •  Telling your story to someone in government so that they are compelled to do (or not to do) something.

For an association like the OAVT, advocacy means building relationships with members of provincial Parliament (MPPs) and other government decision-makers and educating them about priorities for RVTs in Ontario.

There is no one way to engage in advocacy. Rather, there are many ways you can include your voice and experience as an RVT in support of the OAVT’s engagement with the government. This could include writing a letter, meeting with an MPP or cabinet minister, or engaging on social media.

Why advocate?

The way the veterinary profession is regulated in Ontario is outdated and does not reflect the realities of current practice. For example, the Veterinarians Act, which regulates the practice, does not differentiate Registered Veterinary Technicians from other staff employed by a veterinarian, despite the specialized education and qualifications of RVTs. This has created an environment where RVTs are not recognized for their role as veterinary professionals.

The OAVT, along with the CVO and the OVMA, have been working collaboratively over many years towards a shared goal of modernizing the regulation of veterinary medicine in Ontario, including by proposing changes to the Veterinarians Act. However, information was recently received from government to suggest that amending the Veterinarians Act is not currently slated to move forward in this mandate. This was disappointing to the OAVT, the CVO and the OVMA, as updating the Veterinarians Act is the most efficient way to start the important changes to modernize the regulation of veterinary medicine in the province.

The priorities for the OAVT, which include seeing changes whereby animals are cared for by a team of regulated professionals and ensuring only registered veterinary technicians can use the title and perform authorized activities that more fully use their formal education and training, are not possible without amending the legislation.

With this in mind, the OAVT will be increasing advocacy efforts to see the legislative changes before the next election in 2022. Adding your voice and experience as an RVT will be important in helping us achieve this goal.

Other resources

  • February 2018 OAVT/CVO joint letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs- read here
  • April 2017 OAVT/CVO joint video discussing scope of practice consultations – watch here
  • May 2017 OAVT/CVO joint webinar (recorded): The Evolving Scope of Practice of Veterinary Medicine in Ontario – watch here
  • April 2017 OAVT/CVO joint podcast: The Evolving Scope of Practice of Veterinary Medicine in Ontario – listen here

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