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Registration Practices Assessment Report 2012 - Veterinarians

​Registration Practices Assessment Report — Summary


Registration Practices Assessment Report — Revised Summary


In May 2012, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner assessed the way the College of Veterinarians of Ontario   registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.  

This summary of the assessment includes commendable practices that are under way and recommendations for improvement.

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario is subject to Ontario's fair access law, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006 (FARPA). The law spells out the college's obligation to have transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration methods and requirements.

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner

To encourage accountability under the fair access law, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) works with professions’ regulatory bodies to improve the way they register people who apply for professional licences. As a result of the OFC’s work, qualified people, no matter where they were originally trained, will have faster, fairer access to their licence to practise here.

In its work with regulators so far, the OFC has found that they have succeeded in streamlining their registration processes, but they need to do more. For example, regulators need to be more transparent and hold their assessment agencies more accountable for fairness.

To encourage, and hold regulators accountable for, continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices in a two-year cycle. This cycle includes recommending improvements where needed and monitoring the bodies’ action plans that address the OFC’s concerns. This approach benefits applicants, the professions and the province.

You can read more about the OFC’s strategy for continuous improvement and its guide for assessments elsewhere on this site.

For more information about this particular assessment, contact the OFC.

Note: The words license, register and certify all refer to authorizing a person to practise a profession.


Commendable Practices

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) is demonstrating many commendable practices, in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation.)


  • The current registration requirements are objective, transparent, and fair, and facilitate labour mobility.
  • The CVO notes that practical experience in Canada is valuable for applicants from non-accredited veterinary programs, who must pass the clinical proficiency examination (CPE). To help internationally educated veterinarians get practical experience before attempting the CPE, the CVO has partnered with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association to create the Veterinary Skills Training & Enhancement Program (VSTEP). VSTEP is a program of immersion in veterinary medicine as taught in Canada , with practical clinical placements. Applicants who pass the program are eligible for a restricted licence to practice for up to two years, under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian in good standing.
  • The CVO council passed a new policy document in 2011, Licensure of Internationally Trained Veterinarians, which expands on the VSTEP initiative in two ways:
    • requiring temporary licensing for VSTEP participants, in order to give them supervised experience during clinical placements
    • providing a pathway for internationally trained veterinarians who do not enrol in or pass the VSTEP program to obtain temporary licensing as well



The OFC recommends improvements in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation. Recommendations marked "Required" correspond to the practices regulators must demonstrate in order to meet the specific duties in the legislation. Recommendations marked "Good" correspond to the practices the OFC encourages a regulatory body to adopt in order to meet the general duty to provide registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.)

Information for Applicants

  • Add information about the following to the CVO website, as part of the website enhancement project:
  • acceptable alternatives to registration requirements [Required]
October 2012
  • appeals processes [Required]
June 2012
  • the CVO’s policy regarding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act [Required; Good]
March 2012
  • the CVO’s document-retention practices [Good]
October 2012
  • On the home page of the CVO website, add a short notice in French directing francophones to contact the regulator by phone, by email, or in writing. [Good]
March 2012
  • In the Registration section of the website, add information about how long the registration process usually takes, in a chart or list that outlines the timing for each step in the process. [Required; Good]
June 2012

Assessment of Qualifications

  • Develop a regularly scheduled review of the CVO's jurisprudence examination, to ensure objectivity, validity, and reliability. [Required; Good]


  • Identify training opportunities for individuals who apply any special considerations in the assessment of applicants (e.g., making accommodations for special needs). [Required]
April 2012
  • Identify training opportunities for staff members in the areas of cultural diversity and anti-discrimination. [Good]
January 2013

Access to Records

  • Develop a process and policy for considering applicants' requests for access to their records, and communicate the process and policy to applicants, particularly via the CVO website. [Good]
September 2012


  • Implement the CVO's Entry-to-Practice Review report recommendations that are related to the website enhancement project. [Good]
June 2012
Blank = Implementation is in progress.
Checked = Recommendation is implemented.
Acceptable alternative = Regulator implements acceptable alternative to this recommendation.

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