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Can Vet J. 2010 July; 51(7): 709–732.
PMCID: PMC2885112

2009 Annual Report of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

The CVMA is Canada’s only national multi-species organization and proudly represents the profession nationally and internationally. In many instances, without the CVMA, veterinarians would not be represented on critical national governmental and NGO committees and international organizations that deal with animal health and welfare. As one of the CVMA’s past-presidents said: “If you are not at the table, you may be on the menu.” Rather than leaving it up to others, veterinarians need to be involved in the shaping of policies that have an impact on the profession.

The following are just a few examples of how the CVMA acted on behalf of the profession in 2009:

H1N1 pandemic

In August 2009, amid fears that some provinces may not have sufficient health professionals to administer vaccines, the CVMA offered Dr. David Butler-Jones, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, the engagement of the Canadian Veterinary Reserve (CVR) reservists if needed.

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CVMA Council: Back row, left to right, Drs. Jim Berry, Ronald Dunphy, Nicole Gallant, Mike Sheridan, Jim Fairles, Mark Lang, Lisa Miller, Jean Gauvin.

Front row, from the left, Ms. Holly Spring, Mr. Jost am Rhyn, Drs. Julie de Moissac, Doug Roberts, Diane Frank, Lloyd Keddie, Deborah Haines, John Drake, and Ms. Ariane Bornais.

Own-use importation (OUI) of drugs

The CVMA was part of the OUI sub-committee that addressed the recommendations for closing the own-use importation loophole and replacing it with a permit system, an important factor in support of food safety.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

The CVMA approached Minister Gerry Ritz to discuss the possible involvement of veterinarians in improving the profitability of Canadian food animal producers. The CVMA is considering how veterinary services could support producers and the government in reaching the target of mandatory traceability by 2011.

National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Strategy (NFAHWS)

The CVMA represented veterinary practitioners in the development of this strategy, the objective of which is to establish a more harmonized and integrated approach to the management of the broad animal health and welfare program continuum and system in Canada. The CVMA has also been strongly advocating the inclusion of at least one private veterinary practice representative to sit on the new NFAHW Advisory Council.


The CVMA represents the interest of Canadian veterinarians’ on the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC). Its mandate is to ensure that veterinary education meets the needs of our changing society.

Labor mobility

In March and October 2009, the CVMA hosted meetings of the registrars and government officials to facilitate a common position and action plan in response to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), Chapter 7, as revised by the provincial premiers.

At the end of 2009, the CVMA had a total of 7079 members (6794 members in 2008). The non-tangible services offered by the CVMA, such as representation of the profession and animal welfare advocacy, have a significant value and are difficult to quantify. On the side of tangible member services, such programs as the savings offered through the CVMA insurance program and the complimentary journals subscriptions by far exceed the annual membership dues of $250.

In 2008, the CVMA hosted the World Veterinary Congress with a participation of 2100 veterinarians from over 80 countries. In 2009, the CVMA co-hosted the largest veterinary convention in Canada, together with the ACVIM. More than 3400 attendees and approximately 800 exhibitors participated in this excellent learning opportunity in Montreal, Quebec. The CVMA is proud to offer on an annual basis, the only national multi-species convention, where veterinarians from coast to coast to coast can meet and benefit from valuable continuing education (CE).

Since the fall of 2009, the CVMA is administering the business of the Canadian Association of Animal Health Technologists and Technicians (CAAHTT). For many years, CAAHTT and CVMA have been collaborating in providing joint CE during the CVMA Convention. CAAHTT representatives are also involved in the Animal Health Technologist/ Veterinary Technician Program Accreditation Committee, the Professional Development Committee, and the Canadian Veterinary Reserve Advisory Board. A close collaboration of veterinarians and veterinary technicians is crucial in private practice, and is useful and effective in delivering services to members of both of groups.

Please visit the CVMA Web site ( to learn more about, and to access, CVMA member services and veterinary news, and to participate in shaping CVMA positions.

The following is a summary of your CVMA’s 2009 activities.

Business Management

Suggested Fee Guides and Reports

For the 4th year, the CVMA has provided all of its members with complimentary suggested Provincial Fee Guides for small and large animal procedures, compensation and benefits reports for associate veterinarians, non-DVM wage reports, and provincial economic reports. The continuing participation of CVMA members in the annual surveys is crucial for the production of these valuable services. The support of the provincial veterinary medical associations and the sponsorship of Hill’s Pet Nutrition Canada Inc., Petsecure, Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health, and Scotiabank are greatly appreciated.

Practice management seminars in the provinces

The CVMA offered complimentary seminars to the veterinary practice teams in 3 provinces. The 2 seminars in Saskatchewan were offered under the title “How to survive and prosper in today’s financial crisis.” Two seminars were provided in New Brunswick under the title “Practice Management. It’s not just about fees!” One afternoon was offered to all CVMA members and their practice teams in Newfoundland & Labrador to consult with Darren Osborne on key findings from data collected through the practice surveys.

Practice management CE and business consultations at the CVMA Convention

At the CVMA 2009 Convention, hosted in conjunction with the ACVIM, the following business management CE was delivered:

  • What you need to know to introduce new services to clients
  • Open book management: How & why it will take your practice to the next level
  • Human resource process: How to fund, hire & retain support team members
  • Top human resource mistakes & how to fix them
  • The biggest management challenge: A system to hold your team accountable
  • Leadership & management roles in a successful practice.

Another benefit to CVMA members who participated in the annual convention was the 60-minute practice management one-on-one consultations with either Dr. Frank Richardson or Mr. Osborne.

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Knowledge through practice management articles

The CVMA published 6 veterinary practice management articles in The Canadian Veterinary Journal (The CVJ) with the following titles:

  • 2007 survey of veterinarians in alternative career paths
  • Budgeting your way through the recession
  • Comparing incomes across the country
  • Comparing associate wages
  • Hold on to the value of your practice
  • Timely improvements = timely data

All of these articles can be found, and are fully searchable, on PubMed Central (

NEW: CVMA economic hub

Economic data are now available at your fingertips through the CVMA’s Web site ( The site provides user-friendly access to current and past suggested fee guides, reports on compensation and benefits for associate veterinarians, non-DVM wage reports, and provincial economic reports for all provinces.

Employment guidelines

The CVMA provided “Guidelines for the Successful Employment of New Veterinary Graduates” to all 4th/5th-year student veterinarians. CVMA members can obtain a complimentary copy from the CVMA office.

Economic Forum

During its Convention, the CVMA hosted an Economic Forum with representatives from all provincial veterinary medical associations with the goal of better serving our members by further coordinating the production and delivery of economic surveys and reports.

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AHT/VT Program Accreditation Committee (AHTVTPAC)

The mandate of the AHTVTPAC is to identify the minimum standards for educating and training qualified personnel who may join the veterinary health care team. CVMA approval serves to ensure an acceptable standard of education and training for animal health technologists and veterinary technicians (AHT/VT). The graduates benefit by having their competence recognized and prospects for employment mobility enhanced.

In 2006, the CVMA completed discussions with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in view of a reciprocity agreement that would allow for the mutual recognition of our respective accreditation processes for AHT/VT programs. Such an agreement was approved by both the CVMA and the AVMA. The Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) of the AVMA is responsible for the accreditation of AHT/VT programs in the United States. A member of the AHTVTPAC represents the CVMA on the CVTEA and a member of the latter represents the AVMA on the AHTVTPAC.

In 2009, the AHTVTPAC held its annual meeting in April to discuss policy matters and finalize recommendations for accreditation. In addition, the Committee conducted 6 program accreditation site visits in Canada. At the end of 2009, a total of 18 AHT/VT programs were accredited or in the process of becoming accredited or renewing their accreditation status.

CVMA Convention/Profession Development

In June 2009, Montreal, Quebec hosted North America’s “Largest Happening in Internal Veterinary Medicine.” Montreal, the “Paris of North America,” renown for its culture, elegance and “joie-de-vivre,” was the site of this incredible event that combined the ACVIM Forum and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Convention. The ACVIM joined with CVMA to showcase the latest developments in research, treatment, products and innovations from across the North American continent.

The first ever gathering of the profession offered attendees an experience unlike any other. With 2 of North America’s leading veterinary medical organizations coming together, this unprecedented collaboration offered an educational experience beyond borders and beyond everyone’s expectations.

This meeting was not just for specialists! It offered generalist/ mainstream tracks for everyone, including technicians. The possibilities for CE sessions were endless.

The sessions offered ranged from internal medicine (companion animals, food, and equine), infectious disease, cardiology, neurology, oncology, business management, and animal welfare, to a whole host of special interest groups such as gastroenterology, liver disease study group, and pharmacology.

Additional highlights were an extensive technician program that included seminars on a variety of small and large animal topics; Business Management (a popular 1-day lecture series) that included discussions on the standard of care, liability and personnel benefits, and the CVMA series of Practice Management Lectures on topics including Human Resources and Open Book Management Systems, in addition to a 1-day program on animal welfare.

On Wednesday, June 3rd the CVMA Summit of Canadian Veterinary Leaders took place with the theme “Public Health Veterinarians: Challenges and Opportunities.” The CVMA Annual General Meeting and Awards Luncheon were also held that day.

In the end, all had the opportunity to explore leading-edge medical advances and innovations in animal health care.

If you like medicine, this meeting was definitely for you!

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As a result of a survey of readers and authors, a recommendation by the Editorial Committee, and CVMA Council approval, the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research (CJVR) moved to an electronic-only format with the January 2010 issue. This required much preparation in 2009, and some improvements to the process are still taking shape in 2010.

Another 2009 project that was showcased at the beginning of 2010 was a special feature in the January issue of The CVJ, which celebrated the journal’s 50th birthday. As the journal grows in age so do the number of submitted manuscripts.

The number of manuscripts submitted to The CVJ in 2009 was 241, compared to 218 in 2008, and 94 in 2007. The number submitted to CJVR in 2009 was 108, compared to 114 in 2008, and 59 in 2007. While this increase in submissions is good news indeed, it does stretch our human resources and gives rise to concern over keeping the time from submission to publication under control and reasonable.

An online submissions system called Osprey, has been in place for both journals since February 2008. The system has saved time in terms of administrative tasks, and succeeded in speeding up the publication process. The National Research Council is currently looking at replacing Osprey with another system and has promised that the change would be as undisruptive as possible for both journals.

Both display and classified advertising were down by a total of $51 000 in 2009 as a result of the economic downturn. It is interesting to note that The CVJ faired better than other publications and the predicted totals for 2010 seem positive at this time.

A reminder to readers and CVMA members that all issues of both The CVJ and CJVR can be found on the PubMed Central archive and are available to the public (; a link is also available through the CVMA Web site (

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Individual membership is the Association’s strength, giving the CVMA credibility and authority to advance critical animal and public health issues that affect veterinarians and the profession. With the support of its 7079 member and student veterinarians in 2009, the CVMA continued to provide many valuable benefits to members. The tangible member services such as insurance savings and complimentary journals subscriptions by far exceed the membership fees. Looking at the intangible contributions of the CVMA, such as advocacy on national issues and animal welfare, the value is hard to quantify, but is undeniably significant.

Support program for early-career DVMs

In June, the CVMA partnered with Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health to conduct a research study of early-career DVMs employed in private practice. The purpose of this study was to help the CVMA identify specific challenges faced by recent DVM graduates as they make the transition from student life to practitioner. The CVMA will use the findings from the study to help develop a new National Support Program for early-career veterinarians that would meet the needs of this new generation of DVMs.

Complimentary AAHA Leadership Workshops

The CVMA extended complimentary registration to its members to participate in 3 AAHA Leadership Workshops that took place in September/October in Montréal, Quebec, Guelph, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta.

The following is a partial list of some of the benefits enjoyed by CVMA members:

  • Subscription to The Canadian Veterinary Journal (The CVJ) and online access to the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research (CJVR).
  • Regular member e-newsletters, breaking news alerts, RSS news and Twitter feeds and member-to-member discussions on the CVMA discussion group and message board.
  • News, information and resources exclusive to members on the CVMA Web site (
  • Financial tools and services such as Provincial Suggested Fee Guides, Practice Diagnostic Reports and Valuations, Compensation and Benefits Reports for Associates, and Wage Reports for Non-DVM Staff.
  • Exclusive CVMA Insurance Program with immediate premium reductions and competitive group rates.
  • Annual CVMA Source Guide and Member Directory.
  • VetLaw OnlineTM — free general veterinary-related legal advice.
  • Reduced rates on CVMA Convention registration fee, classified advertising in The CVJ, Animal Health Week merchandise, and other CVMA promotional materials.
  • Preferred banking solutions with Scotiabank.
  • Professional development and networking opportunities.
  • CVMA’s leadership and advocacy initiatives on behalf of the profession.

Insurance Program

In 2009, the exclusive CVMA Insurance Program continued to enjoy high popularity.

Commercial Protected Self-Insurance Program (PSIP)

The Commercial PSIP experienced growth of more than 20%. Participants in the program enjoy reduced insurance costs while being provided more comprehensive policies. The unique PSIP model continues to provide a significant competitive advantage that open market brokers cannot match and enables members to take ownership of their insurance costs, without any risks to them.

Employee Group Benefits Program

The Employee Group Benefits Program experienced a 17% growth in 2009. A new Health Spending Account (HSA) was also introduced. The HSA is a top-up optional benefit available to those currently insured under the CVMA Employee Group Benefits plan, or to CVMA members who are self-employed business owners or sole proprietors. Employees enjoy a tax-free (except for Quebec) reimbursement of eligible medical/dental expenses not covered by their basic insurance plan. For employers, this is a tax-deductible corporate expense.

Affinity Program (Life, AD&D, Disability, Business Overhead Expense Insurance)

Rates for this program have remained stable over the past 3 years. Students of the CVMA and Graduates are also eligible for this coverage at very competitive premium rates.

Auto-Home Program

The Co-operators complement the CVMA Insurance Program with group automobile and home insurance products. This program experienced a 7% growth for automobile insurance and a 13% growth for home insurance.

The CVMA Insurance Program is designed for veterinarians and overseen by the CVMA for the better protection of our members.

Communications & Public Relations

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Animal Health Week

A successful Animal Health Week, with the campaign theme “emergency preparedness,” ran from October 4–10, 2009. The slogan “Care to Prepare” was adopted and “Animals are part of every emergency” was borrowed from the Canadian Veterinary Reserve to be used as a tagline on campaign materials. Valued campaign sponsors Iams Veterinary Formulas, Bayer HealthCare — Animal Health, IDEXX Laboratories, Medicard, and Scotiabank generously contributed a combined total of $26 000. Artwork for the campaign poster and 7 promotional products, including a window cling, balloon, pet first aid kit, magnetic dry erase emergency contact memo board, pet food lid, portable pet food/water bowl, cartoon animal temporary tattoo, and T-shirt, were designed by a graphic design firm in Ottawa, Ontario. Despite the uncertain economic environment that prevailed in 2009, clinic participation mirrored that of 2008. A post-campaign survey of participants was conducted with a response rate of 5%. Suggestions provided by survey respondents will be implemented during future Animal Health Week campaigns.

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CVMA and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Public Awareness Campaigns

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CVMA and Hill’s Pet Nutrition continued to encourage pet owners to visit veterinary practices across Canada by promoting the importance of veterinary care, building awareness of health issues and helping veterinarians enhance patient wellness. This ongoing partnership has been successful in building consumer awareness on specific pet health and preventative topics, while informing them of the health benefits of regular veterinary visits and feeding superior, science-based pet foods. In 2009, the CVMA and Hill’s partnership produced 2 annual public awareness campaigns to emphasize the veterinarian’s role as the best resource for pet health information and highlight the most common pet issues for the general public — pet dental health and obesity.

Media relations

A total of 95 media inquiries were captured in the CVMA media log. Topics of inquiry included euthanasia of companion animals, the costs of pet ownership, the effect of the recession on pet care and pet food regulations. In many cases CVMA members from the CVMA Spokesperson Roster gave interviews and provided relevant information on these issues. Trade publications were provided with relevant information regarding CVMA events and activities. Pet owner publications regularly publish animal health care information and articles provided by the CVMA communications team. News releases, media advisories and story ideas were pitched to various local and national media outlets on topics such as CVMA Convention & ACVIM Forum, 2009 CVMA Award recipients, and Animal Health Week. From January to December, 180 articles referencing the CVMA and/or its programs were tracked within the pages of Canadian newspapers, magazines and online news portals. Articles have referenced topics such as animal welfare issues, including puppy mills and euthanasia, CVMA & Hill’s public awareness campaigns, Animal Health Week, and CVMA Award recipients.

Public Web sites

Due to information technology vulnerability, the CVMA’s public Web sites and were temporarily taken offline in 2009. Animal health care information for pet owners will be restored in 2010 through a public portal on the official CVMA Web site (


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In June 2009, the CVMA went live on Twitter. Twitter connects the CVMA with other veterinary organizations and links us with veterinarians, industry groups, journalists and animal owners. The CVMA is gradually building a strategic online presence that enhances the public visibility of the Association and its programs, while promoting the work of individual members, clinics and other veterinary stakeholders and providing access to breaking news on topics such as pet food recalls and virus outbreaks.

RSS news

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Really Simple Syndication (RSS) functionality was added to the CVMA Web site, enabling those who subscribe to access new content from the News & Events section the moment it becomes available online.

CVMA-ACMV discussion group

In July 2009, the CVMA introduced CVMA-ACMV Discussions, an e-mail discussion group exclusive to CVMA members, delivered through Google Groups. CVMA-ACMV Discussions allows members to communicate with each other on topics of common interest and share valuable information in an efficient manner.

Students of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA)

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Holly Spring, 2008/09 SCVMA Council representative.

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The SCVMA provides veterinary students with a coordinated national presence and fosters communication between the CVMA and student veterinarians in Canada. The SCVMA represents almost 1500 student veterinarians and serves as a forum for veterinary student leaders to meet and exchange information with their peers, their national professional association and the profession at large. Almost $90 000 was contributed from the CVMA’s operating budget to fund initiatives for student veterinarians.

This funding takes the form of support for the annual SCVMA Symposium (sponsorship and online registration through the CVMA Web site;, 2 in-person SCVMA meetings, CVMA updates and resources for veterinary students including the Guidelines for the Successful Employment of New Veterinary Graduates booklet provided to students in their final year of studies, maintenance of and content development for the SCVMA section of the CVMA Web site, the presentation of a CVMA Award to a student veterinarian at each veterinary college, the CVMA Teacher of the Year Award presented to a professor at each veterinary college, the National Summer Job File, lunch presentations including the annual One Voice lecture that introduces student members to the CVMA, and the provision of lab coats and name badges for first-year students. The SCVMA organized the 22nd Annual Student Symposium in 2009, with outstanding support from an organizing committee of student veterinarians at Faculté de médecine vétérinaire. Sporting events, a trip to a local sugar shack, and a selection of lectures and wet labs were offered on topics such as swine necropsies, reptiles, and birds of prey.

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Dr. Gary Wobeser accepts award from Ms. Jill Harrison, WCVM representative on the SCVMA.

Student Liaison Committee (SLC)

Members of the CVMA SLC represent the CVMA at Canadian veterinary colleges and strengthen the link between the CVMA and its student veterinarian members. The committee is comprised of one faculty member from each of the 5 colleges. Members of the SLC provide guidance to SCVMA representatives at their respective colleges, participate in a joint meeting with the SCVMA Committee during the annual CVMA Convention and participate in annual CVMA initiatives at the veterinary colleges including the One Voice lecture, lab coat ceremony, and the SCVMA Symposium. Other activities include speaking to students regarding ongoing CVMA initiatives, promoting the importance of belonging to the national professional association for veterinarians, and welcoming students to the profession during graduation ceremonies.

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WCVM students, each one representing a province or territory. The students included in this shot are, from the left, Dean Jeffery of Saskatchewan; Heidi Pylypjuk of Manitoba; Carla Baker of Nunuvut; Anita Yee of British Columbia; and Lukas Kawalilak of Alberta.

Animal Welfare

The key initiatives of the Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) in 2009 include the following activities:

Position Statements

Four Position Statements were reviewed and revised where appropriate and approved by Council; Humane Training Methods in Dogs, Devocalization of Dogs, Forced Moulting of Poultry, and Electroimmobilization.

There are 4 Position Statements that are currently under review and are being circulated with stakeholders and experts in the field; Cutting Canine Teeth in Dogs, Use of Animals in Entertainment and Recreation, Pest Control, and Dehorning of Cattle.

Animal abuse legislation

The CVMA continues to lobby the Federal government to voice the profession’s concern over the lack of substantive changes to Canada’s animal cruelty legislation.

Shelter Euthanasia Survey Project

The AWC’s proposal to have a survey of shelter euthanasia methods in Canada has been advanced by the Atlantic Veterinary College and a Master’s project has been completed. A report on this survey has been submitted by Dr. Michael Cockram to The Canadian Veterinary Journal (The CVJ).

Animal welfare articles

Several animal welfare articles were submitted to The CVJ for publication during 2009. They included “The welfare of animals used in science: How the ‘Three Rs’ ethic guides improvements,” published in May 2009; “The human-animal bond: A benefit or a threat to the integrity of the veterinary profession?” published in July 2009; “Regulatory veterinary medicine, food safety, international trade and animal welfare assurance,” published in September 2009; and “Animal welfare position papers, puppy mills and you,” published in November 2009.

Cattery Code of Practice

The “Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations,” a parallel document to the 2007 Kennel Code of Practice, was finalized and printed in 2009. It was also posted as a PDF on the CVMA Web site. Hardcopies were distributed to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies for use by their members.

Animal Welfare Program at the 2009 ACVIM Forum & CVMA Convention

The CVMA Convention was held in conjunction with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2009 in Montreal, Quebec. The Animal Welfare Program featured 2 speakers; Dr. Carol Morgan spoke on animal welfare ethics and hurdles to promoting animal welfare in private practice; Dr. Michael Cockram spoke on issues surrounding animal welfare regulation in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Student involvement in the Animal Welfare Committee

In the fall of 2009, an AWC meeting was held at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Calgary Zoo. Veterinary students attended a noon hour presentation by Dr. Terry Whiting, former Chair of the AWC titled “The Case for Raising and Killing Animals for Food & the No-Kill Practice — A Benevolent Profession?”

Transport of animals regulatory amendment

The AWC has continued to provide input in regulatory amendments to the Transportation of Animals Regulations in Canada.

Cosmetic surgery poster

The CVMA, in collaboration with the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College, printed and distributed the poster “Every Dog Should Have a Tail to Tell and the Ears to Hear One!” This poster was developed by the CVMA AWC to help veterinarians bring awareness to their clients and the public about painful and unnecessary ear cropping and tail docking cosmetic surgery. This poster, along with the CVMA Position Statement on Cosmetic Surgery, have helped influence changes to some provincial veterinary bylaws deeming it unprofessional conduct for veterinarians to perform cosmetic surgery.

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National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC)

The CVMA is represented on the NFACC, a Council whose mandate is to deliver a livestock industry-led, nonregulatory approach to farm animal welfare with an emphasis on Code of Practice development. In 2009, the pilot Dairy Code of Practice was finalized, printed and distributed.

Corporate Partnership Program (CPP)

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The CVMA CPP is a comprehensive sponsorship program that was implemented in 2007 in order to better recognize company’s overall financial contribution to the Association The CPP takes into account the various programs and events that are corporately sponsored, and allows companies that sup port the CVMA in various aspects to get better recognition for their overall contributions. The 3 levels of sponsorship are Platinum (> $75 000), Gold ($45 000–$74 999) and Silver ($25 000–$44 999).

The CVMA would like to extend recognition to the follow ing sponsors for their overall contribution to the Association for 2009:

Platinum:Hill’s Pet Nutrition Canada Inc.
Silver:Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health

Canadian Veterinary Reserve (CVR)

The CVR, established in October 2006, is a cadre of Canadian veterinarians who work in partnership with governments to provide medical expertise in large-scale disasters and emergencies involving animals. The CVR is administered and managed by the CVMA with the financial support of the Government of Canada via the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


At the close of the 2009 calendar year, the CVR membership included 434 mostly private practice veterinarians (an increase of 8% over the previous year).

Collaboration and Cooperation

In 2009 the CVR Secretariat focused on building and expanding those relationships that would lead to the further development of the CVR and, in particular, its readiness to respond to emergencies of a civil nature.


Efforts continued toward establishing long-term relationships with the federal government agencies of Public Health and Public Safety. Veterinarians Without Borders Canada accepted the invitation to appoint a representative to the CVR Advisory Board.

The CVR was invited to join the Domestic Group on Emergency Management (DGEM), which operates under Public Safety Canada, and the CVR also joined the Animal Emergency Working Group (AEWG), which is a group established by Defence Research and Development Canada.


The CVR was invited to present to emergency management stakeholders in both Manitoba and Ontario with the objective of achieving a memorandum of understanding with each of these provinces. Experience with Manitoba and Ontario will lead to similar initiatives in other provinces and territories in 2010.


Meetings were held with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the United States Department of Agriculture to discuss training options and possible joint exercises.

CVR representatives attended an AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams workshop in Wisconsin to learn from the real life experience of AVMA-VMAT in responding to the needs of animals in disaster.

Discussions took place with Iowa State University in regard to their on-line training programs and how these might be adapted for Canada.

CVR Training

May–August 2009 — For the 2nd year in a row the Ontario Veterinary College hosted 2 student researchers on behalf of the CVR. Students reviewed and evaluated a wealth of existing emergency response training materials for the CVR to consider in future training development. Student insights and recommendations were taken into account in the development of a CVR Training Proposal presented to the CVR Advisory Board in November 2009. July 2009 — CVR representatives observed an emergency exercise simulating a major earthquake in an urban setting. The exercise, led by Toronto Heavy Urban Search and Rescue, was held in Ottawa to engage local first responders including Ottawa Urban Search and Rescue.

CFIA — Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) Response Training October 2009: In October 2009, an additional 47 members were trained by the CFIA in FAD response at the CFIA’s Fallowfield Laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario. By the end of 2009 the total number of CVR members trained in FAD response rose to 205.

Training Development and Delivery

A proposal for on-line training for CVR members was presented to the November 2009 CVR Advisory Board meeting. Discussion of the proposal led to the expansion of the CVR Training Subcommittee, which was assigned the task of reviewing the CVR approach to training and recommending a training strategy and plan that would meet the key objectives identified. The Training Subcommittee Report will be delivered in early 2010.

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CFIA lead trainers and facilitators, from left to right, Drs. Al Barton, Sonja Laurendeau and George Luterbach hosted the CVR FAD Response Training October 5th–9th, 2009 in Ottawa.

National Examining Board (NEB)

The NEB is responsible for the administration, in Canada, of a 3-part veterinary licensing examination process. Completion of the exams is a requirement to be eligible to apply for a license from any of the provincial veterinary licensing bodies. The NEB meets 3 times a year to consider appeals from exam candidates, as well as to discuss operational and policy matters.

NEB examination process

A graduate of a non-accredited veterinary school is required to complete all 3 parts of the NEB examination sequence in order to receive a Certificate of Qualification (CQ). A CQ is a prerequisite to apply for a license from any of the 10 provincial veterinary licensing boards in Canada. The NEB’s veterinary licensing examination process for graduates of non-accredited veterinary schools involves the following:

  • the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE);
  • the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE®); and
  • the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE).

A graduate of an accredited veterinary school need only pass the NAVLE within 3 attempts in order to receive a CQ. If such a candidate requires more than 2 attempts to pass the NAVLE, they must also successfully complete the CPE.

The BCSE is the first exam that graduates of non-accredited veterinary schools must pass before being eligible to proceed to the NAVLE and the CPE; it is owned by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), with which the NEB sign a contract to offer the exam to its candidates.

The BCSE is intended to assess the knowledge acquired during the first 3 years of a typical 4-year undergraduate program at a veterinary college in North America, which was not fully addressed by the NAVLE or the CPE. 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).

It is a computer-based exam consisting of 225 multiple-choice questions, many with graphics, which must be completed within a 220-minute test session. In addition, the 4-hour testing appointment includes a brief tutorial to introduce computer-based testing and an exit evaluation at the end.

In 2009, NEB candidates registered for a total of 289 attempts at the BCSE, including those with more than one attempt. In 2008, NEB candidates were registered for a total of 349 BCSE attempts.

During 2009, NEB candidates registered for a total of 522 attempts at the NAVLE, during a 2-week testing window in April and a 4-week window from mid-November to mid-December. NEB candidates registered for a total of 403 attempts in 2008 and 820 in 2007. The decrease in 2008 was the result of the new requirement that graduates of non-accredited veterinary schools must first pass the BCSE. Only 18 graduates of non-accredited colleges appeared for the NAVLE in April 2008, whereas 65 such graduates appeared for the NAVLE in November-December 2008. The rest were final-year students and graduates of accredited veterinary schools.

With regard to the CPE, which is the hands-on, practical portion of the NEB’s exam sequence, a total of 74 candidates appeared for it in full in 2009, compared to 61 in 2008. The Ontario Veterinary College was only able to administer 3 sessions of the exam in 2008, rather than the usual 4.

Candidates who failed one to 3 sections, during their initial attempt at the CPE in full, repeated approximately 82 sections during the course of 2009, the same number as in 2008. This includes NEB candidates who appeared for the full CPE at an exam site in the United States overseen by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) of the AVMA and wish to repeat failed sections at a test site in Canada.

In addition, in 2009 a total of 42 candidates of the NEB completed the CPE at test sites in the United States by registering with the ECFVG, including candidates who failed one to 3 sessions of the exam during an attempt at one of the sites in Canada. All were granted a CQ.

Relations with the United States

Members or representatives of the NEB participated in meetings of its principal counterparts in the United States, including the COE and the ECFVG, both of which are part of the AVMA, as well as the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME), which owns the NAVLE.

Exam development

NEB members and other representatives participate in meetings held by the ECFVG and the NBVME to write, review and validate exam questions for the BCSE and the NAVLE, respectively. Canadian representatives are also involved in panels convened by these agencies to survey and examine the state of the veterinary profession in North America. The purpose of the surveys is to set the overall outline or blueprint for the BCSE and the NAVLE to ensure that they remain valid assessment tools.

Veterinary college accreditation

The CVMA is a full, joint partner in the accreditation program operated by the COE of the AVMA. When the COE confers accreditation to a veterinary college, it is granted on behalf of the CVMA and the AVMA. The CVMA has a full, voting representative on the COE, which usually meets twice a year at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, to discuss and decide upon policy and the accreditation status of colleges.

In 2009, CVMA representatives participated in 6 site visits, including the University of Guelph in February and the University of Calgary in October, 2 in the United States and 2 outside North America, namely the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City and Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.

National Issues

The National Issues Committee (NIC) undertook initiatives in 2009 that included the following items:

Position Statements

The NIC has reviewed and revised, where necessary, 3 Position Statements: Surgical Procedures; Antimicrobial Use in Animals; and Microchip Implants. These Position Statements have all been approved by Council. The NIC is reviewing and drafting revised versions of 2 other Position Statements; Legislation Concerning Vicious Dogs, and Extra-Label Drug Use (ELDU).

CVMA Species-Specific Antimicrobial Prudent Use Guidelines

The species-specific antimicrobial Prudent Use Guidelines for Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle, Poultry and Swine were printed and distributed to all mixed and large animal practices in Canada; PDF versions of the Guidelines were posted in the member section of the CVMA Web site.

The NIC has begun to look for funding partners to develop a parallel set of antimicrobial Prudent Use Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.

National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Strategy

The CVMA is part of the steering committee that is developing the terms of reference for the advisory body (Council) for the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Strategy. The steering committee is also analyzing options for funding and for providing secretariat services for the advisory body of the strategy.

Environmental Advisory Group

The Environmental Advisory Group (EAG) has been advising the NIC on environmental issues that affect the veterinary profession. The EAG has begun work on a project to develop best environmental practices for veterinary clinics.


The CVMA is represented and consulted on regulatory issues such as maximum residue limits, the drug approval system, extra-label drug use and active pharmaceutical ingredients. The CVMA has been consulted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada’s Veterinary Drug Directorate on proposed changes to equine slaughter requirements for export to the European Union.

Food safety and public health

The CVMA is taking every opportunity to make representations to the federal government regarding the important role of veterinarians in public health and ensuring the safety of Canada’s food supply and is representing the profession in the following areas:

  • Canadian Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century
  • Canadian on-Farm Food Safety Program
  • Pork Quality Assurance Program.
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Articles from The Canadian Veterinary Journal are provided here courtesy of Canadian Veterinary Medical Association