OFA supports the government’s efforts to modernize the Veterinarians Act by addressing key areas including the scope of practice, oversight and authority, and the complaints and resolutions process.
Scope of Practice
OFA believes that the current legislation lacks clarity about what is and is not within the scope of practice of veterinarians. We support clarifying the scope of practice for veterinary medicine, including the procedures, services, and processes a licensed veterinarian, and other veterinary professionals, are permitted to perform in Ontario. OFA appreciates the government recognizing that veterinary care is delivered utilizing a team-based approach, and formally acknowledging the roles of veterinary technicians and other veterinary professionals within the system. OFA supports bringing veterinary technicians within the scope of professional oversight and formally acknowledging and regulating them under the Act together with veterinarians. OFA believes that Registered Veterinary Technicians and other trained professionals possess the knowledge and skill to deliver a wide variety of services within their scope of training. OFA requests further details on the future regulations as to the list of tasks that can and cannot be delegated, and other activities which can be carried out by non-veterinarian regulated health care professionals and other qualified practitioners in respect of animal care. OFA is hopeful that the proposed changes to the scope of practice will streamline care, and add opportunities for other trained individuals, other than veterinarians, to provide healthcare services to animals.
OFA strongly believes that the right to treat their animals for farmers, their family members, and their employees needs to be retained under the amended legislation. OFA requests assurance that this right would continue to apply under the modernized Act and its corresponding regulations.
Oversight and Authority
OFA supports having a more diverse membership on the Council of the College, to better reflect the nature of the modern-day veterinary profession. We support including veterinary technicians within the Council, and in committee membership. OFA also supports including on Council members from an Ontario post-secondary institution involved in providing veterinary and veterinary technology education for the profession. It is OFA’s belief that the process to become a member of the Council, including non-veterinarian public-interest appointees, needs to be transparent. It is also important to ensure that the ratio of non-veterinarian public-interest appointees does not outweigh the number of members (veterinarians) represented on the Council. OFA requests that the Council include large-animal or food-producing animal veterinarian representation as a mandatory requirement, to ensure the agricultural perspective is included in the decision-making process and in policy development, and to reflect the public interest.
Complaints and Resolutions Process
OFA supports a streamlined complaints process that is timely, efficient, and upholds public trust. We appreciate the creation of a new Screening Model to assess complaints that are deemed to be “frivolous and vexatious” at the outset, to focus on more serious claims and complaints against members and their practices.
OFA recognizes the importance of veterinarians and veterinary services in maintaining a sustainable and robust rural and northern Ontario agri-food sector. OFA believes a multi-faceted approach is needed to increase capacity, opportunities, programs, and incentives to address the shortage of farm-animal veterinarians in rural Ontario. OFA recommends measures to improve access to large animal veterinary care in rural and remote regions of the province. OFA believes timely access to appropriate veterinary care in rural and remote areas of Ontario is critical to the health and welfare of livestock, and contributes to food security, income generation, job creation, and economic growth.
OFA looks forward to participating further during the process and in regulation development to ensure timely access to appropriate veterinary care in rural and remote areas of Ontario.