October 2022 Legislative Reform Advocacy Update

Guelph, ON

As you may know, working with government to modernize the Veterinarians Act, the law which regulates the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario, has been a significant priority for the OAVT for many years. The current law, by failing to distinguish between RVTs and lay staff, limits RVT scope of practice and means that we are not permitted to apply our rigorous education and training fully and independently in the provision of veterinary medicine. At a time when Ontarians are experiencing increasing difficulty accessing veterinary services, modernizing the Veterinarians Act will allow Ontario’s more than 4,200 RVTs to be a part of the solution.

During RVT Month, we wanted to provide an update on the important work that we are doing with government, and in partnership with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) and the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) to modernize the regulation of veterinary medicine in Ontario.

What Has Been Done to Date?
We are happy to share that, with the support of many of our members, we have made significant strides towards our goal over the last 12 months, including the following milestones:

Fall 2021: Letter-Writing Campaign and Meeting with the Office of the Minister of Colleges and Universities
Last fall, we launched a letter-writing campaign for members of the OAVT and veterinary technology students to write to their local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) in support of increased utilization of RVTs in the provision of veterinary care. The campaign was incredibly successful, with more than 470 letters sent, reaching the majority of Ontario’s 124 MPPs.
In addition, we also initiated discussions with the Office of Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities (MCU) last fall, in order to explore how Ontario’s RVT workforce could be strengthened and supported through training and education initiatives. This resulted in a joint meeting between the OAVT, officials from the MCU Minister’s Office, and officials from the Office of the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). One solution discussed at this meeting, which MCU was keen to explore, was the potential to use micro-credential programs to upskill RVTs and fill unmet animal health care needs.

Winter 2021 – Spring 2022: Meeting with Lisa Thompson, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and strengthened relationships with OMAFRA and MCU
Over the winter and spring, as government’s focus shifted to the 2022 election, we focused on building our relationships with OMAFRA and MCU. As a result of this work, the OAVT is increasingly seen as a key stakeholder by government and was asked to provide a quote for a government announcement pertaining to the veterinary sector. The OAVT also had a follow-up conversation with MCU regarding new college offerings for veterinary technology.

Our relationship building with OMAFRA culminated in a very successful joint meeting between the OAVT, CVO, OVMA and OMAFRA Minister Lisa Thompson to discuss modernizing the Veterinarians Act and enhancing the scope of practice for RVTs. During the meeting, Minister Thompson committed to legislative reform in the government’s next mandate, following the election in June 2022.

Spring – Summer 2022: Election Advocacy and Hitting the Ground Running with the Re-Elected Government
In advance of the June 2022 election, the OAVT developed an advocacy toolkit to encourage our members to engage with local election candidates about the importance of the RVT profession, and how RVTs could offer a solution to the challenges Ontarians are facing with accessing veterinary care. Following the election, thanks to the hard work of our members, Ontario’s new and re-elected MPPs returned to the legislature this summer with a better awareness of RVTs and our role in veterinary care.
After June’s election, the productive relationships that the OAVT had previously built with key ministries, including OMAFRA and MCU, allowed us to hit the ground running with the re-elected government. We also spent the summer engaging with several new MPPs who were assigned portfolios that are relevant to our work, in order to further raise awareness of the RVT profession and the value we bring to veterinary care among a broader group of government decision-makers.

Fall 2022:
Through the late summer and into the fall, the OAVT and our legislative reform partners have been hard at work with OMAFRA to support the Ministry by providing background information and an industry perspective on changes to the Veterinarians Act. Since changes to legislation need to be driven by the provincial government, it will still take some time before a new Act is introduced. However, we have been given every assurance that OMAFRA is actively working on legislative reform and is receptive to the input of the industry. The OAVT will continue to advocate at every opportunity for better recognition of RVTs as a critical part of the animal health care team under the refreshed Veterinarians Act.

What Happens Next?
The OAVT, OVMA, and CVO are in the process of making recommendations for the government to inform a modernized Act, based on the 2018 concept paper Achieving a Modern Approach to the Regulation of Veterinary Medicine in Ontario. RVT voices will continue to be represented throughout this process, and the OAVT will continue to keep members updated on how you can be involved in the next phase of this work.

How do I become an RVT

Whether you are an Ontario student or internationally trained graduate, learn about the five steps it takes to become a Registered Veterinary Technician.

Job Board

Search through Ontario’s #1 source for animal healthcare jobs. New jobs are posted daily.

RVT Registry

The official Registry of Ontario’s Registered Veterinary Technicians. All RVTs in good standing can be found in this searchable Registry.