Français
OFC Logo

Study of Registration Practices of the
COLLEGE OF VETERINARIANS OF ONTARIO, 2007

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION
  2. 2. BACKGROUND OF THE REGULATORY BODY
    1. a. Legislation
    2. b. Protected Titles
    3. c. Definition of the Profession
    4. d. Labour Market/Economic Trends
    5. e. New Developments Within the Profession
    6. f. Staffing
  3. 3. REGISTRATION PRACTICES
    1. a. Registration Requirements and Application Process
    2. b. Documentation Required from Internationally Trained Individuals
    3. c. Credential Assessment (Third Party and/or Internal)
    4. d. Academic/Program Requirements
    5. e. Work Experience Requirements
    6. f. Examinations
    7. g. Language Requirements
    8. h. Fees
    9. i. Third Parties
    10. j. Typical Length of the Registration Process
    11. k. Accredited Programs
    12. l. Internal Review/Appeal Process
  4. 4. BRIDGING PROGRAMS
  5. 5. MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS
  6. 6. APPLICANTS’ INTERACTIONS WITH REGULATORY BODY
    1. a. Nature and Frequency of Communication
    2. b. Backlogs
    3. c. Complaints Regarding the Registration Process
  7. 7. CHANGES SINCE THE 2005 SURVEY
  8. 8. REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND STATISTICS
  9. 9. SOURCES

ISBN 978-1-4249-6480-2 [HTML English version]


1. INTRODUCTION

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) undertook a study of registration practices of Ontario's regulated professions during the fall and winter of 2007–2008. The purpose of the study was to understand each regulated profession's 2007 registration practices and to establish baseline data and information to enable the OFC to measure progress as it fulfills its mandate under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006.

This report reflects the registration practices of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) as of December 31, 2007. Information in this report was gathered from

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario also provided registration information and statistics for 2005, 2006 and 2007 through a standard spreadsheet designed by the OFC.

An analysis and summary of the findings for all of the regulated professions are contained in the OFC's Ontario’s Regulated Professions: Report on the 2007 Study of Registration Practices.

2. BACKGROUND OF THE REGULATORY BODY

a. Legislation

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario operates in accordance with the Veterinarians Act, 1989.

b. Protected Titles

Individuals cannot practise veterinary medicine or call themselves veterinarians without a licence; however, they can work with veterinarians as veterinary assistants or technicians. A veterinary assistant or technician must work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

c. Definition of the Profession

The Veterinarians Act states that “the practice of veterinary medicine includes the practice of dentistry, obstetrics including ova and embryo transfer, and surgery, in relation to an animal other than a human being.” The act also defines a veterinary facility as “a building, land or vehicle or any combination of them used or intended to be used as a place in or from which to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine.”

d. Labour Market/Economic Trends

The labour market for veterinarians is good. Overall, Ontario is well supplied with veterinarians but there are shortages in certain areas of the province.

An emerging trend is that younger veterinarians prefer to work in a hospital group practice, while many older veterinarians prefer to work independently.

The Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph is the only veterinary school in Ontario. Getting into the program is very competitive as only 110 students are accepted per year.

e. New Developments Within the Profession

Graduates from the Veterinary Skills Training and Enhancement Program (VSTEP), which is a bridging program, can obtain a restricted licence to practise under supervision. An undertaking is required between the CVO and a willing veterinarian who holds a general licence and who agrees to provide supervision, case reviews and reports. Once they have passed the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE), licensees are eligible for a general licence without restrictions.

The Basic and Clinical Sciences Exam is a new addition to the National Board Exams.

f. Staffing

The CVO staff consists of 12 full-time employees and three part-time employees, one of whom is a student. Four out of the 12 employees are involved in the registration process. The CVO does not have any volunteer staff.

3. REGISTRATION PRACTICES

a. Registration Requirements and Application Process

Definition of applicant. An applicant is a person who completes and submits an application form and provides the CVO with the required documentation.

i. Basic Requirements for Registration

To become licensed by the CVO applicants must provide all of the following:

Applicants become members of the profession once they have met all the above requirements.

ii. Steps in the Application Process

Step 1 - Review and Evaluation of Documents by the National Examining Board (NEB)

The NEB is a body set up by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) in Ottawa and is responsible for administering the NEB Examinations in Canada. The NEB reviews and evaluates all applications to sit these examinations. Applicants can send their documents to the NEB from overseas.

Step 2 – NEB Examinations

These include:

Step 3 – Provincial Licence and Exam

The CVO administers the Ontario Provincial Qualifying Exam (OPQE).

After applicants pass the applicable NEB Examinations and receive their marks, they can apply to the CVO for a licence by first contacting the CVO to request a licensure application package. The package contains an application form, a brochure about the OPQE and a copy of Ontario’s veterinary legislation. Once applicants have the application package, they must arrange an appointment with the CVO in Guelph, to present the documents listed below and to write the OPQE. Applicants can submit their licence application, documents and fees for licensing when they write the CVO exam.

The information sent to the NEB is not forwarded to the CVO, so applicants must bring the required documents when making a licence application.

b. Documentation Required from Internationally Trained Individuals

i. Standard Documentation

Before applying to the CVO for the provincial licence, internationally trained veterinarians should contact the National Examining Board (NEB) and present the following documents:

The NEB accepts copies of documents, but they must be certified by a notary public or commissioner for oaths or affidavits. If these documents are not in English or French, it is necessary to provide certified translations.

If after evaluating the documents the NEB approves the application, it will inform the applicant where and when to write the NEB Examinations. These exams can be written only in North America. After applicants pass these, they can apply to the CVO for a licence to practise in Ontario.

If applicants do not send all the information mentioned above, the application will be incomplete and will not be accepted. Applicants should try to send all the information together. If this is not possible, they can attach a letter explaining that some of the information will follow, along with an anticipated time.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has a list of the veterinary colleges throughout the world[1]. An AVMA-listed veterinary college is any non-AVMA-accredited college (“acceptable unaccredited school”) outside the United States or Canada that is recognized by the World Health Organization or by the government of its own country, and whose graduates are eligible to practise in that country. The list can be accessed at www.avma.org.

An internationally trained veterinarian who has graduated from a school on the list will be allowed to write the NEB Examinations. If an internationally trained applicant graduated from a school that is not on the list, he or she should contact the AVMA in Chicago to apply to have that school included in the list.

Internationally trained veterinarians who are preparing for the CPE are permitted to get practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian in Ontario, just as Ontario Veterinary College students do during the undergraduate program. The supervising veterinarian is responsible for deciding, in each medical and/or surgical instance, what he or she will allow the internationally trained applicant to do. As time goes by the internationally trained applicant should become more capable with less supervision, but in all cases the supervising veterinarian must be on the premises and must assume all responsibility for the applicant’s actions.

ii. Options for Applicants with Unavailable/Destroyed Documents

The college has not as yet had to deal with this situation, but should it arise the applicant would first approach the National Examining Board.

c. Credential Assessment (Third Party and/or Internal)

The National Examining Board verifies credentials as part of the application process to sit the NEB examinations. The original veterinary degree and undergraduate transcripts, and the applicant’s identification documents, are reviewed to ensure the degree was attained at a veterinary school on the AVMA/WHO list of recognized/listed veterinary schools. Original documents and identification are verified again as a double-check by CVO at the time of application for licensure.

d. Academic/Program Requirements

In order to be registered with the CVO, an applicant must have attained a veterinary degree from an accredited Canadian or American undergraduate degree program or have a veterinary degree from a school outside of Canada that is listed on the AVMA list of “Veterinary Colleges of the World.” Internationally trained veterinarians who are graduates of these schools will be allowed to write the NEB Examinations.

e. Work Experience Requirements

There is no work experience requirement in order to practise the profession in Ontario. Applicants are required only to have a veterinary degree and proof of having passed the examinations listed below.

f. Examinations

i. The NEB Examinations

Applicants may have to write three exams, depending on their training. The exams can be written in English or, if applicants are in Quebec, in French.

Applicants have to pass the language proficiency test before taking the NEB examinations. Applicants who do not have a good working knowledge of English or French as used in veterinary practice in Canada generally have difficulty passing the NEB exams.

The NEB exams previously consisted of two components: the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) and the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE). As of May 2007 in the USA and January 2008 in Canada, there is a new section, the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE), which is written by international graduates only.

The BCSE is designed to assess basic and clinical veterinary sciences knowledge. The knowledge level expected to receive a passing score on the BCSE is that of an entry-level veterinarian (i.e., a new graduate of an accredited veterinary school). The computer-based BCSE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, many with graphics, which must be completed within the 220-minute test session. In addition, the four-hour testing appointment includes a brief tutorial to introduce the candidate to the computer-based testing and an exit evaluation at the end. The BCSE must be completed before an applicant takes the NAVLE and the CPE.

The BCSE is available four times per year during one- or two-week test windows when testing appointments can be scheduled. The exam is administered at 300 Prometric Inc. testing centres throughout Canada and the United States.

Internationally educated veterinarians who have graduated from an acceptable unaccredited school of veterinary medicine recognized on the World Health Organization list must pass all three of the BCSE, NAVLE and the CPE.

The NAVLE is required for veterinary licensing in Canada and the United States. It is an eight-hour computer-assisted exam with 360 multiple-choice questions. Approximately 10 per cent of the NAVLE exam includes questions that use illustrations or graphs (for example, a photograph, radiograph or chart). It is administered at Prometric Inc. testing centres.

After applicants pass the NAVLE, they can take the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE), which is offered to a limited number of applicants at the four veterinary schools in Canada. The CPE exam can be also taken at seven locations in the United States. In this exam, there are nine sections of clinical work that require three to four hours each over the course of four days. It is a hands-on exam where applicants must treat animals. Applicants’ communication skills are also judged during this test. Applicants cannot take the CPE at the school where they took courses or were employed.

Applicants who fail the NAVLE must rewrite the full exam. Applicants who fail no more than three of the nine sections can apply to retake only those sections within one year. Applicants who fail four or more sections must retake the entire CPE exam after a one-year waiting period. During this year, it is strongly recommended that applicants do further training and upgrading.

Applicants have the right to appeal their exam scores to the NEB.

Applicants who graduated from a school of veterinary medicine accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association do not have to take the CPE unless they fail the NAVLE more than once. This twice-fail rule applies to licensing in all provinces.

Although the three NEB exams are standardized, applicants can request special accommodations for all exams, including the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE). Sample examinations are offered at a cost of approximately $100 (US) each from the Professional Examination Service in New York, NY.

An applicant who does not pass the NEB exams but who has a degree from a recognized veterinary school and extraordinary educational qualifications in a specialty field of veterinary medicine may request that the CVO Registration Committee review his or her application. The college will evaluate the documents and may consider the applicant for a licence with conditions and limitations.

The Registration Committee can grant exemptions for exams under specific circumstances. For instance, an applicant may be exempted from taking some of the sections of the CPE if he or she demonstrates advanced knowledge or experience in a particular area. Or, if the applicant holds diplomat status in one of the American specialty boards, he or she may be granted a licence restricted to the board-certified specialty.

ii. Ontario Provincial Qualifying Exam (OPQE)

This is the only exam administered by the CVO. The exam is two hours long and is made up of true/false questions. It tests for knowledge of Ontario’s provincial veterinary laws and ethical issues. Applicants may take the exam at any time during the year by making an appointment with the CVO.

The college provides preparation materials only for the OPQE, such as copies of the legislation applicable to the profession. This information is available online or in hard copy. For examinations administered by the NEB, CVO does not provide any preparation materials, but the NEB offers a bibliography of suggested materials for self-study in their Applicant Guide. Applicants can gain access to these materials by contacting the library of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.

g. Language Requirements

Applicants who come from a country where English or French is not the official language must pass an English or French proficiency test. They must write this test before they can write the Ontario Provincial Qualifying Exam and the NEB exams. The CVO will accept one of the following English-language proficiency tests and scores:

Applicants must bring their scores with them when applying to the CVO. Applicants may take these tests in Canada or write them before coming to Canada.

h. Fees

National Fee (payable to CVMA – includes GST)

Review and evaluation of documents

$397.50

NEB Examinations Fees

Basic and Clinical Sciences Exam

$151.20

North American Veterinary Licensing Exam

$874.50

Clinical Proficiency Exam

$6,890.00

Provincial Fees (payable to CVO – do not include GST)

Initial registration fee

$50.00

Application fee (non-refundable)

$50.00

Ontario Provincial Qualifying Exam fee

$100.00

Annual licence fee (after applicants are licensed), prorated quarterly

$675.00

The CVMA fees for the review and evaluation of documents can be submitted to the NEB with the application package before the applicant arrives in Canada.

The NEB examinations fees should be submitted only when applicants arrive in Ontario. The provincial fees are submitted to the CVO at the time of licensing.

i. Third Parties

Name of Third Party Relationship to Regulatory Body

National Examining Board of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

Administers NEB Examinations in Canada on behalf of all provinces. NEB also provides initial verification of credentials as part of the application to sit the national exams.

American Veterinary Medical Association – Education Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates

Administers national board examinations in the United States

j. Typical Length of the Registration Process

The length of the registration process for an international graduate is usually between two and three years.

k. Accredited Programs[2]

There is one accredited program in Ontario at the Ontario Veterinary College located at the University of Guelph. In Canada, there are three other accredited programs. These are the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec; and the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown. A fourth school of veterinary medicine will open in the fall of 2008 at the University of Calgary, Alberta.

Accredited schools overseas include the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, the Royal Veterinary College in England, the University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Massey University in New Zealand, and Murdoch University and the University of Sydney and University of Melbourne in Australia.

l. Internal Review/Appeal Process

Under the Veterinarians Act, the Registrar must issue a licence to any person who applies and meets the qualifications and requirements prescribed by the regulations. However, the Registrar can refuse to issue a licence if the applicant does not meet the qualifications and requirements, if past conduct of the applicant shows that he or she will not engage in the practice of the profession with honesty and integrity, or if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the applicant is impaired.

If the licence is not issued for any of the above reasons, the Registrar has the option to bring the situation to the attention of the Registration Committee for internal review. If the applicant does not agree with the registration decision issued by the Registrar, he or she has the right to appeal the decision to the Registration Committee. Under this circumstance, the Registrar must refer the file to the committee. If the committee directs the Registrar to refuse to issue a licence, or to issue one with conditions and limitations, the applicant can appeal to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB). If the applicant does not agree with the HPARB decision, he or she can go to divisional court as a last resort.

The Registration Committee is a statutory committee composed of five individuals: three from the elected council, one non-council member and one member of the public appointed by the Legislative Assembly.

An applicant can access all the information concerning the decisions made about his or her case. Further information about the appeal process appears in the Legislation section on the CVO’s website.

The relationship of the review/appeal bodies to the assessment and decision-making bodies in the registration process is an arm’s-length one.

4. BRIDGING PROGRAMS

i. Veterinary Skills Training and Enhancement Program (VSTEP)

The Veterinary Skills Training and Enhancement Program (VSTEP) is a joint venture of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and the Ontario Veterinary College of the University of Guelph. VSTEP strives to be the primary source of updated education and retraining for internationally educated veterinarians wishing to become licensed and to pursue a successful veterinary career.

VSTEP assists internationally trained veterinarians in preparing for and passing the NAVLE, preparing for CPE, and in becoming sought-after, successful and employable professionals who practise at a level that meets or exceeds Ontario standards.

VSTEP participants receive training in primary entry-level veterinary care, medical records management, clinical communications skills, performing physical examinations and interpreting test results. The program teaches specific technical skills relating to anaesthesia, surgery, medicine, pathology pharmacology and radiology. Emphasis is on treating dogs, cats, horses and cows.

VSTEP provides:

Tuition for VSTEP 2008 has been set at $15,500 for Canadian citizens and landed immigrants and $18,500 for all other applicants. All fees are subject to the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). Participants are also charged for materials (approximately $750). There may be additional costs for textbooks and other learning materials. Field placements occur throughout Ontario. Costs incurred for accommodation during these placements are the responsibility of the participant.

There were 20 participants in the VSTEP program in 2006 and all graduated. In 2007, there were 40 participants, 35 graduated, four did not, and one had attended voluntarily for retraining.

VSTEP graduates receive more hands-on experience than do local graduates. A new local graduate is legally able to practise after getting his or her licence from CVO, but may need additional mentoring in order to get additional practice experience.

5. MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS

The CVO has a national labour mobility agreement that includes every province and territory of Canada.

6. APPLICANTS’ INTERACTIONS WITH REGULATORY BODY

a. Nature and Frequency of Communication

CVO has frequent contact with the applicant throughout the process.

b. Backlogs

Currently there is no backlog in the registration process. There are some pending cases where applicants may be in the registration process longer than usual because they have not provided all necessary documentation or are seeking employment before completing the process.

c. Complaints Regarding the Registration Process

CVO has received few complaints regarding its registration process. Any such complaints are handled by the college’s Administrator of Registration and Incorporation.

7. CHANGES SINCE THE 2005 SURVEY

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration conducted a survey in 2005 to collect information about occupational regulatory bodies in Ontario. Since that time, the Veterinary Skills Training and Enhancement Program has been established.

The Basic and Clinical Sciences Exam (BCSE) is a new addition to the National Examining Board Examinations as of January 2008.

8. REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND STATISTICS

Definitions used in these tables:

Alternative class of licence: a class of licence that enables its holder to practise with limitations; additional registration requirements must be met in order to be fully licensed. Alternative classes of licence granted by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario are specified under the tables below.

Applicant: an individual who has applied to start the process for entry to the profession.

Applicant actively pursuing licensing: an applicant who had some contact with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario within the year specified.

Inactive applicant: an applicant who had no contact with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario within the year specified.

Member: an individual who is currently able to use the protected title or professional designation of “veterinarian.”

Languages in which application information materials are available
Language 2005 2006 2007
English

Yes

Yes

Yes

French

Yes

Yes

Yes

Other(s)

 

 

 

Countries where internationally educated applicants were initially trained in veterinary medicine
Applications received 2005 2006 2007
Largest number

India

India

India

Second-largest number

Egypt

Pakistan

Pakistan

Third-largest number

Colombia

United Kingdom

Australia

Fourth-largest number

Hungary

Egypt

Egypt

Fifth-largest number

Russian Federation

Sri Lanka

Romania

Staff employed by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario
Number of staff 2005 2006 2007
Involved in registration process

3

3

3

Involved in appeals process

2

2

2

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in veterinary medicine (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
Members Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
Total members

2,965

325

74

464

3,828

Non-practising members

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants processed by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario in 2005

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in veterinary medicine (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2005 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received

73

17

2

35

127

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Inactive applicants

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members

0

0

0

1

1

Applicants who became members

73

17

2

35

127

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence1 but were not issued a licence

0

0

0

1

1

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence1

0

0

0

4

4

1 Alternative classes are restricted licenses that are customized based on an applicant’s specific areas of work or specialty.

Applicants processed by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario in 2006

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in veterinary medicine (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2006 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received

78

19

54

26

177

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Inactive applicants

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members

1

0

2

9

12

Applicants who became members

78

19

54

26

177

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence1 but were not issued a licence

0

0

0

1

1

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence1

1

0

1

3

5

1 Alternative classes are restricted licenses that are customized based on an applicant’s specific areas of work or specialty.

Applicants processed by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario in 2007

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in veterinary medicine (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2007 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received

93

29

5

99

222

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

0

0

0

11

11

Inactive applicants

0

0

0

0

0

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members

3

0

0

14

17

Applicants who became members

90

29

5

67

191

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence1 but were not issued a licence

0

0

0

3

3

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence1

0

0

0

4

4

1 Alternative classes are restricted licenses that are customized based on an applicant’s specific areas of work or specialty.

9. SOURCES

American Veterinary Medical Association website. http://www.avma.org/default.asp. Last accessed: January 25, 2008.

College of Veterinarians of Ontario website. http://www.cvo.org/. Last accessed: January 16, 2008.

College of Veterinarians of Ontario and Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. “Access to the Veterinary Profession in Ontario,” Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration website. http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca. Last accessed: January 16, 2008.

Representatives of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario met with staff of the Office of the Fairness Commissioner on January 14, 2008, to provide further information for this study.



[1] The “AVMA-listed Veterinary Schools of the World” includes all schools listed by the World Health Organization in its 1991 World Veterinary Directory and in the 1983 Pan American Health Organization publication Diagnosis of Animal Health in the Americas. This list also includes additional schools that have come to the attention of the AVMA Education Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) for reasons related to the ECFVG certification program.

[2] To be accredited a school has to submit its curriculum and the qualifications of its teaching staff to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).This process may take up to one year. Then the veterinary school is physically inspected (with a main focus on teaching hospitals) by a team composed of members of the Council on Education of the AVMA and representatives from the National Examining Board of the CVMA. There is always at least one NEB representative on the inspection team. Schools are reaccredited every seven years.