CVMA | News & Events | Council Report Spring 2021
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News, Events & COVID-19 RESOURCES

Council Report Spring 2021

June 3, 2021

As part of the CVMA’s virtual Committee Weekend, Council met in March to provide policy directions and make required decisions. Council is comprised of representatives from all provinces, veterinary colleges, veterinary students, and the Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada (RVTTC).

Position Statements

Use of Thermocautery for the Treatment of Lameness in Horses:

Council approved the following revised position statement:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is opposed to the painful treatment of lameness using thermocautery (‘pin firing’ or ‘firing’) in horses, as the practice is ineffective and is inconsistent with evidence-based medicine.”

Care of Neonatal Dairy Calves:

Council approved the following new position statement:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) supports restrictions contained in the Health of Animals Regulations on the age at which neonatal calves can be transported on long journeys and at what age they can be transported to auction markets. The CVMA recognizes that these changes may result in the retention of some surplus calves on dairy farms for a longer period than in the past. The CVMA maintains that producers have an obligation to provide the same appropriate standard of care to all calves on their farm irrespective of their economic value. Veterinarians should support their clients by providing advice on how to meet appropriate health and welfare standards, and if necessary, how to provide appropriate methods of euthanasia/humane killing.

Animals in Science:

Council approved the following revised position statement:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) recognizes that animals play an important role in scientific advancement. Science involving animals must be conducted within an ethical framework (including the principles of replacement, reduction, and refinement), and in compliance with animal welfare guidelines, including those incorporated into provincial and federal legislation and contractual obligations. It must also have the potential to contribute to the understanding of biological principles, or to the development of knowledge, skills, and products that can reasonably be expected to benefit humans, animals or the environment.”

Humane destruction/depopulation:

Council approved the following revised position statement:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) holds that when mass depopulation of domesticated animals is undertaken, methods used must be as humane as achievable in the situation. Mass depopulation must only be performed by trained personnel who are supervised by persons competent in depopulation and knowledgeable in animal welfare. Methods of restraint and killing must be adapted to the specific circumstances of the situation and the species, size, and age of animal. The CVMA recognizes the potential for emotional impacts on everyone involved in mass depopulation activities and strongly recommends that resources be available to support these individuals.”

Induced Moulting of Poultry:

Council approved the following revised position statement:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is opposed to moult induction by methods involving deprivation of food and/or water and recommends that induced moulting only be used in response to unforeseen emergency situations.”

Service Animals:

Council approved the following new position statement:

“The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) holds that the veterinary profession should contribute to the development and maintenance of a national standard for service animals. Furthermore, veterinarians should provide expert advice on the proper care of service animals to support animal health and welfare, and public health and safety.”

Extra-label Drug Use (ELDU):

Council approved the following revised position statement:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) holds that Extra Label Drug Use (ELDU) is an important and legally acceptable strategy for the effective treatment of animals only by a licensed veterinarian within the confines of a valid veterinary client-patient relationship (VCPR) and only in circumstances where an approved veterinary product or drug is not available or is not suitable.”

Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Medicine:

Council approved the following revised position statement:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) strongly supports antimicrobial stewardship by veterinarians to help protect the health and welfare of animals, public health, and the environment.”

Use of Lead Fishing Tackle and Lead Shot in Canada:

Council approved the following revised position statement:

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) strongly supports a ban on the use of lead fishing weights, jigs and lead shot because of the direct and indirect harm they may induce in humans, wildlife and the environment. The CVMA strongly supports the development and use of non-toxic materials for hunting and angling purposes.”

2021 CVMA Award Winners

CVMA Council chose to honor the following 2021 CVMA Award winners:

Small Animal Practitioner Award: Dr. Ameet Singh

Merck Veterinary Award: Dr. Claire Windeyer

Humane Award: Dr. Emilia Wong Gordon

Practice of the Year Award: Mountain View Veterinary Hospital (Dr. Renee Ferguson)

Industry Award: Dr. Walt Ingwersen

Life Membership: Dr. Wayne McDonell

RVL Walker Award: Ms. Svetlana Ponsin

President’s Award: Dr. Carlton Gyles

All CVMA members are invited to attend the virtual CVMA Awards Ceremony scheduled for Thursday, July 22.

Other Discussions

Veterinary Workforce: Council struck a Working Group (WG) with the following mandate: “Based on the CVMA Workforce Study 2020 results and recommendations, and the knowledge and experience of the WG members, make viable recommendations on how CVMA could help address the forecasted shortage of veterinarians in the best interest of the profession, the clients and patients.”

The WG submitted a report that included the following 10 recommendations:

1. The CVMA engages and collaborates with provincial veterinary medical associations (VMAs), regulatory bodies, and colleges to develop shared vision and strategy on domestic veterinary education in Canada. This initiative is a 2-part collaboration that includes drafting a “Veterinary Workforce White Paper” and holding a “Veterinary Workforce Summit.”

2. The CVMA supports provincial VMAs in efforts to increase funding of Canadian veterinary colleges.

3. The CVMA investigates the number of Canadian students enrolled in veterinary education at international schools to project return to Canada.

4. The CVMA maintains/expands/further develops CVMA student chapters at accredited colleges, and identifies a network of champions at these schools.

5. The CVMA promotes the new pathways to C of Q (clinical year option) to graduates of international non-accredited programs. Working with key stakeholders, the CVMA investigates training opportunities/bridging programs for graduates of international non-accredited schools, including funding.

6. The CVMA supports an inter-disciplinary team of researchers (medical, business, technology, behavior) to conduct research, make recommendations and promote veterinary healthcare delivery models that are efficient and sustainable (financially, emotionally, and physically).

7. The CVMA supports research that specifically addresses the utilization of unregistered practice staff in veterinary practice delivery.

8. The CVMA supports research that benchmarks how highfunctioning veterinary practices utilize registered veterinary technologists/technicians. 

9. The CVMA collaborates to promote optimal utilization of registered veterinary technologists/technicians in practice, recognizing that the barrier to optimal utilization of technologists/technicians is mainly culture and not regulatory.

10. The CVMA supports research to understand the factors associated with current practice models that make veterinary professionals susceptible to mental illness.

Council decided that the CVMA prioritize the following actions from the WG’s report:

  • Collaborate to promote optimal utilization of RVTs in practice, recognizing the barrier to optimal utilization is mainly cultural not regulatory. 
  • Support provincial VMAs in efforts to increase funding of Canadian veterinary colleges.
  •  Support research that benchmarks how high-functioning veterinary practices utilize registered technicians/technologists.

In addition, the CVMA will continue expanding its student chapters at international, accredited veterinary colleges; promote Canada as a welcoming marketplace for graduates from such colleges; continue providing an effective national exam process for internationally trained veterinarians, making them eligible to apply for licensure in Canada.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI): The CVMA appointed a Working Group (WG) with the mandate to “Make suggestions regarding the CVMA’s role regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion related to veterinary medicine.” The WG submitted a report and recommendations for Council’s consideration. From that report, Council prioritized the following items:

  • Short term: Focus CVMA social media and website content on existing diversity within the veterinary community in Canada instead of stock veterinary illustrations.
  • Medium term: Integrate concepts of DEI in CVMA’s Emerging Leaders Program, Convention, and Student Symposium.
  • Long term: Interact with educational institutions/policy makers at the elementary level, high school level, post-secondary level (post-secondary institutions and veterinary colleges), especially related to recruitment and admission.

2021 CVMA Convention: Due to COVID-19, and keeping in mind the CVMA’s social responsibility, and government directions and actions on the federal, provincial, and municipal levels, Council decided to host the 2021 Convention in a 100% virtual format. More than 80 RACE-approved continuing education (CE) sessions will be provided online live by 31 presenters. All sessions will be recorded and accessible on the CVMA website until the end of 2021.

CVMA Council decided to set registration fees for the full virtual program as follows: $49 for members and RVTTC affiliates; $149 for non-members.

The CVMA AGM will take place on Thursday, July 22, 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm EDT.

CVMA Summit: The virtual, live Summit, entitled Changes in Societal Expectations towards Animals, and Influence on Veterinary Team Wellness will take place on Thursday, July 22. It will be chaired by Dr. Louis Kwantes, President-Elect 

The CVMA National Issues Forum: The virtual, live National Issues Forum, entitled Veterinarians as Community Leaders on Adaptation to Climate Change will also take place on Thursday, July 22. The topic of the Forum is meant to initiate discussion on the role of veterinarians in Canada’s adaptation to climate change.

The CVMA ELP: The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) has secured a 3-year funding commitment from Royal Canin and the Atlantic Veterinary College. The renewed ELP concept will move the program from a single event to a 1-year journey that will include the in-person experience during the CVMA Convention, 2 in-person regional outreach events, plus 6 leadership webinars. In 2021, the in-person events will be provided virtually.

COVID-19: The CVMA maintains its participation in the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) FPT (Federal/Provincial/ Territorial) COVID-19 Advisory Group, allowing the CVMA to have input and obtain timely and credible information that it shares with veterinarians on the CVMA web-landing page. The CVMA also continues with the COVID-19 townhall sessions featuring Dr. Scott Weese and moderated by Dr. Enid Stiles.

Mental Wellness: The CVMA continues its annual mental health and wellness awareness campaign, plus quarterly seminars. These webinars are also being promoted to students. The delivery of a specific webinar for students on Imposter Syndrome is planned. The references to college and provincial VMA mental wellness services on the CVMA website have been updated recently. In addition, a group of volunteers, including members of the CVMA Wellness Advisory Group, is exploring the development of a peer-to-peer support program.

SAVI: The CVMA’s Stewardship of Antimicrobials by Veterinarians Initiative (formerly NVOS, Veterinary Oversight System for AMU) is underway through to March 31, 2023, and includes antimicrobial surveillance, stewardship, and communications activities for beef, swine, and poultry, and enhancement of the CVMA antimicrobial prudent use guidelines for food and companion animals. These enhanced guidelines are located on the new website. In future, they will be accessible via the new CVMA website. The guidelines will also be made accessible through an app later this spring.

Website: As per Council direction, the CVMA started the process of renewing its English and French website. The objective is to provide the CVMA, its members, and stakeholders with a new English and French website that is visually appealing, engaging, and easily accessible. The new website is scheduled to be launched in February 2022.

Importation of dogs: The CVMA leads the National Dog Importation Working Group that includes participants from Canadian Kennel Club, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada, Humane Canada, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, PHAC, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and canine rescue organizations. With PHAC funding, the CVMA conducted a study on public health implications of dog importation in the form of a qualitative risk assessment. The result will be published in the near future. The CVMA will continue its collaboration with PHAC and CFIA with the goal of data collection improvements on dog importation and developing best practices for importation. The CFIA invited the CVMA to discuss the proposed interim measures for the import of commercial dogs less than 8 months of age. The CVMA developed a dog importation checklist aimed at veterinarians and rescue organizations.

ASF: So far, African Swine Fever (ASF) has not been detected in North America. The CVMA has been working with the CFIA and other stakeholders to educate the public and producers on how to keep Canadian pigs safe from ASF. In partnership with the CFIA, the CVMA hosted a series of ASF webinars directed at veterinarians, which focused on disease overview and recognition, disease response, and prevention and preparedness. The CVMA has also offered the CFIA the assistance of the Canadian Veterinary Reserve (CVR).

Tick awareness: For the 6th year, in partnership with Merck Animal Health, the CVMA, declared March as National Tick Awareness Month and produced communication material and support tools to help veterinary teams highlight the unique seasonality of ticks, to provide pet parents with updates regarding the expansion of ticks across Canada, and to increase awareness of the One Health approach to tick control and Lyme disease prevention. The theme of the 2021 National Tick Awareness Month (NTAM) campaign, Could ticks be there? Be tick aware, raised awareness regarding the established and expanding geographic range of tick species throughout Canada, highlighting the common habitats where ticks can be encountered.

NEB: The North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) and Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE) will continue to be offered while observing public health and safety requirements. Because of COVID-19, the clinical in-person exams, Preliminary Surgical Assessment (PSA) and Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE) can only be offered on a reduced schedule. The National Examining Board (NEB) will pilot a PSA shortly with skin models that will address the difficulties of sourcing cadavers.

AHTVTPAC: Due to restrictions caused by COVID-19, the Animal Health Technology/Veterinary Technician Program Accreditation Committee is conducting site visits remotely.

(by Jost am Rhyn, CEO, CVMA)