THE COLLEGE OF VETERINARIANS OF ONTARIO college
Winter 2021 / Vol . 37 No . 4 ISSN 2370-5965
OUR COMPLAINTS PROCESS THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The College has been focused on modernizing our complaints process for several years . Our process is outdated and is not meeting the needs of veterinarians , the public or the College . The complaints process is defined in the outdated Veterinarians Act which leaves little room for agility and change without legislative reform .
The number of complaints has increased significantly in the last couple years which means the current number of complaints received annually is higher than our capacity to address them . The College continues to work towards legislative reform , but until this can be achieved , we continue to explore other options to make improvements and adapt .
We have been able to adjust the philosophy of how the College reviews identified concerns about practice . The College has been using a just culture approach to complaints in the last few years . This shift has allowed our Complaints Committee to focus the outcomes of the complaints on the level of risk involved .
This philosophy recognizes that people make mistakes and even mistakes with a bad outcome should be remediated , not disciplined .
Complaints with no risk are completed with no action being taken ( about 60 % of the time ). Complaints with
low or moderate risk are focused on remediation ( about 35 % of the time ) – either through written or oral advice or through a voluntary undertaking with a veterinarian . High risk complaints , those where there was reckless behaviour , bad intent , incompetence , or failure to remediate after repeated attempts , are referred to discipline for a hearing to determine if an act of professional misconduct or serious neglect has been completed (< 5 % of the time ).
Our Complaints Committee is made up of a public member of Council and nine veterinarians , all who work to ensure fairness in their decisions and to support the just culture philosophy . Committee members understand what it is like to be a practising veterinarian and balance that with a keen focus on the public interest .
The College ’ s investigations and hearings staff has grown to support the increased workload of preparing complaints for review by the Complaints Committee . This team is focused on moving complaints through the process as quickly as possible while ensuring that
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Council approves revisions to telemedicine standard
At its December meeting , Council reviewed its standard concerning telemedicine and approved the revised standard for publishing later this winter . Council ’ s ongoing work in telemedicine has been beneficial in enabling veterinarians to deliver services virtually when appropriate throughout the pandemic .
In recent meetings , Council has been considering potential changes to its policy focused on jurisdiction and prescribing . In making its decision , Council reviewed the input received through the recent public consultation on telemedicine and the proposed revisions to the telemedicine standard and the standard on prescribing a drug .
The revised standard and the accompanying guide will be published in the spring .
Further information on Council ’ s decisions from the December meeting can be found on page 3 .
Voices In 2 Council News 3 An Ethical Dilemma 4 Executive Committee 5 Learning in Practice 6 Discipline Summaries 7 Antimicrobial Stewardship 7 Facility Accreditation Emblem 8
Instilling public confidence in veterinary regulation cvo . org 1