General Information About the CVR

The CVR is a national membership of qualified Canadian veterinarians. Much like an army reserve, CVR member veterinarians are available to rapidly assist governments in responding to large-scale animal disease emergencies and other types of disasters involving livestock, pets and wildlife. The CVR membership program is administered and operated by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).

In general, governments lead the emergency response in large-scale emergencies and disasters. In Canada, as in most countries, governments (federal, provincial or territorial) may not have sufficient numbers of veterinarians on staff to deal with a very large animal health crisis. Governments maintain a base of resources that can respond to the most likely occurrences and look to other sources to assist on an as and when needed basis (referred to as surge capacity). The CVR was established in October 2006 to provide this veterinary surge capacity in Canada.

Events such as the rapid and global spread of Avian Influenza (2004) and Hurricane Katrina (2005) spurred the CVMA, CFIA, and veterinarians alike to establish the CVR.

Emergencies and the CVR

Emergency is defined as “A present or imminent event that requires prompt coordination of actions concerning persons or property to protect the health, safety or welfare of people, or to limit damage to property or the environment”.

Often referred to as an FAD, a foreign animal disease is an animal disease that does not currently exist in Canada. Examples of animal diseases foreign to Canada would be Foot and Mouth Disease and Newcastle Disease.

The lead role in an emergency response in Canada depends on the jurisdiction(s) in which the event takes place and the type of emergency. Federal government agencies, like the CFIA, have specific mandates to lead and to support in specific emergency responses. For example the CFIA is the lead responder in Canada for foreign animal disease.

The CVR classifies natural and man-made disasters and emergencies as “civil emergencies”.  Civil emergencies may also include animal diseases that are not on the CFIA FAD response list.

In civil emergencies, the response is usually led by the affected province or territory with federal government assistance available at the request of the province/territory. Subject to specific limitations, the federal government may assume the lead in specific circumstances where multiple provinces/territories are affected and/or when the provinces/territories are overwhelmed.

At the request of the federal government and/or provincial/territorial government(s), the CVR may be called to assist in responding to:

  • Foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreaks such as avian influenza virus, African swine fever, foot and mouth disease virus, and others, for which the emergency response is led by the CFIA, and
  • Civil Emergencies encompassing large scale-natural and man-made disasters/accidents involving animals that do not come under the umbrella of FAD. The emergency response is usually led by the affected province or territory. Examples of civil emergencies include:
    • Weather-related events
    • Geophysical events
    • Man-made events
    • Other animal diseases not under CFIA jurisdiction

Becoming a CVR Member

CVR Membership is open to those who have a: 

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and
  • A general practice licence in good standing as verified with the appropriate provincial Registrar

If you are a DVM and your general practice licence is in good standing, you may apply on this website. The CVR Application Form is found under the “Join the CVR” menu selection (at right). If you have questions contact the CVR administrator at or by phone at 1 800 567 2862.

Yes, if they have a Certificate of Qualification from the CVMA and a general practice licence in good standing.

Yes, if they have landed immigrant status to work in Canada and have a general practice veterinary licence in good standing.

No. Membership in the CVR is open to all qualified veterinarians in Canada.

Government employed veterinarians are eligible for CVR Membership but will be called up by the CVR for civil emergency responses only. CVR Members who are government employed veterinarians are not eligible for call up via the CVR for CFIA FAD training or to respond to a CFIA-led FAD emergency response.