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I recently attended an historical event organized by the CVMA. The department of Human Resources and Skills Development of Canada (HRSDC) needed to see where the profession was with regard to the labor mobility of veterinary technicians. So, they funded a gathering of provincial registrars, provincial veterinary technician association presidents and the Canadian Association of Animal Health Technician’s (CAAHT) president for an afternoon of lively discussion on how each province deals with technicians.
Currently, the organization of veterinary technicians in the provinces varies widely; in some provinces technicians are covered under the veterinary act and they are members of the provincial veterinary association (Alberta), in other provinces there are self-regulated bodies with very little interaction with the veterinary associations (many provinces). Some technicians must graduate from CVMA-accredited colleges before they can be employed in a veterinary clinic in some provinces, while other provincial veterinary bodies have no real requirements for the employment of technicians at all.
Why is labor mobility important to veterinary technicians? Right now, Canadian technicians who graduate from a CVMA-accredited school and who have passed their board exams can travel and work across Canada and the United States. The CVMA has had a site accreditation program in place for many years, thanks to dedicated veterinary and veterinary technician volunteers, who travel to each technician school to evaluate a list of criteria from facilities to staff and curriculum. This, of course, maintains the quality of the technician graduates and is vital for veterinarians in practice.
We all know the value of a veterinary technician in a practice, and maintaining technician standards is definitely in our best interest. Standardized training and regulation regarding such things as scope of practice, common name and having a voice on our provincial veterinary councils will go a long way, in not only labor mobility, but elevating the status and credibility of the veterinary technician population. I applaud the veterinary technician associations and the provincial registrars for starting this conversation.
Recently, the CVMA office agreed to take on the administrative responsibilities of CAAHT in our newly expanded office at 339 Booth Street in Ottawa. This move further strengthens our strong alliance with this national body.
Our next annual convention in Calgary is a partnership with the Alberta Technicans Association, and the theme underscores the importance of the veterinary team; technicians are an integral part of all of our practices.
So, thank you HRSDC. You have helped to start the momentum of communication and collaboration. We may not have labor mobility for veterinary technicians now, but it gives us a goal to strive for in the future.
Use of this article is limited to a single copy for personal study. Anyone interested in obtaining reprints should contact the CVMA office ( gro.vmca-amvc@nothguorbh) for additional copies or permission to use this material elsewhere.