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News & Events

How Does the CVMA Shape National Policy and Legislation that Affect You?

July 26, 2019

The CVMA provides leadership and advocacy on behalf of Canadian veterinarians; one of its strategic priorities is advocacy for veterinarians across Canada. The CVMA provides crucial feedback on relevant legislative and policy issues that impact the veterinary scope of practice. How does the CVMA implement these desired changes?

• Engages with government and stakeholders to influence policy decisions
• Develops international relations and represents veterinarians across Canada
• Ensures that the media provide accurate information and promotes veterinary professionals
• Issues position statements regarding national veterinary issues
• Encourages member consultations on key issues
• Takes a lead role on antimicrobial stewardship and antimicrobial surveillance.

Below are some examples of how the CVMA supports Canadian veterinarians by generating policy and legislative changes.

CVMA Summit

The Annual CVMA Summit is a forum at which Canadian and international veterinary leaders share information on key issues in veterinary medicine. These Summit discussions have proven invaluable in exploring and adopting common approaches to challenges in our profession. All CVMA Convention delegates can attend this event, hosted during the CVMA Convention.

The 2019 CVMA Summit was on the The Gold Standard of Animal Welfare — Positive and Negative Impact on Animals and Veterinarians. This Summit included 3 separate sessions and speakers:

1. Global Animal Welfare: Challenges and Opportunities by Dr. Susan Hazel, senior lecturer, Animal Behavior, Welfare & Ethics — Australia.
2. What Do We Mean by One Welfare? by Dr. David Fraser, professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems — University of British Colombia.
3. The Gold Standard of Animal Welfare — Positive and Negative Impact on Animals and Veterinarians by Dr. Heather Bacon, Veterinary Welfare Education and Outreach manager at the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine.

National Issues Forum

The Annual CVMA National Issues Forum allows CVMA members an opportunity to express their views on a topic of national interest in the veterinary community. Forum discussions have proven invaluable in exploring and formulating positions on important veterinary issues. All CVMA Convention delegates can attend this event, hosted during the CVMA Convention.

The 2019 CVMA National Issues Forum discussed and explored issues and challenges pertaining to Telehealth and Animal Welfare — Pros, Cons and Implications for Veterinary Patients. This year’s panelists included:

Dr. Heather Bacon BSc (Hons), BVSc, CertZooMed MRCVS
Jan Robinson, registrar and CEO of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario
Dr. Lori Teller, Texas A&M University (for AVMA)

Government relations

The CVMA participated in an Ottawa forum discussing the prevention and control of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the
Americas in May, organized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), including 150 delegates from 15 countries, to collaborate on a global plan to prevent and mitigate the ASF risk in North and South America. The forum gathered government,
industry leaders, and decision-makers to discuss the ASF threat, learn from recent outbreak experiences in Europe and Asia, and
collaborate on concrete actions to mitigate the ASF threat in the region. The forum also began a collaborative framework development for managing the disease’s threat. The CVMA continues collaborations with the CFIA and stakeholders to prevent ASF from infecting the Canadian pig herd.

The CVMA created a dedicated web section to keep veterinarians up-to-date on the most recent ASF news.

In February 2019, Dr. Henry Ceelen, chair of the CVMA’s National Issues Committee, presented at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. The Committee was conducting a study on public perception of the Canadian agricultural sector. Dr. Ceelen stated the veterinary profession has an important responsibility to help ensure public perception of the agri-food system remains positive because of the high level of trust placed in veterinarians and the key role the profession plays in supporting producers and sustainable animal agriculture. He highlighted the relevance of a One Health approach, and the CVMA’s commitment to helping the Government of Canada respond to the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The CVMA continues to represent Canadian veterinarians on the topic of cannabis. The Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine (CAVCM) called on the federal government to make 2 cannabis regulations changes to better protect pets’ safety and health. The CVMA recently submitted a letter to Health Canada in response to its open consultation on cannabis edibles/extracts/topicals. The letter indicates veterinarians are now frequently fielding questions from companion animal owners, livestock producers, and others about the potential therapeutic benefits of using cannabis in animals for the alleviation of pain, relief of anxiety, and treatment of behavioral conditions. The CVMA submitted the following comments (originally brought forward by the CVMA in a letter to Health Canada in January 2018): 1) The CVMA strongly urges that Part 14 of the Cannabis Regulations — Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes be amended to allow veterinarians to provide necessary medication to their patients, while maintaining an armslength oversight on its dispensing. 2) The CVMA requests thata warning statement be included on THC-containing products (e.g., “keep out of reach of animals”). “Warning labels need to be changed to explicitly advise Canadians to keep these products out of pets’ reach and regulations need updates to permit veterinarians to consult with pet owners seeking cannabis use as a therapeutic treatment and authorize appropriate products and doses,” said Dr. Terri Chotowetz, CVMA president.

The CVMA created a dedicated web section to keep veterinarians up-to-date on the most recent cannabis news. The CVMA sent a letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau during the federal government’s 2019 pre-budget consultation noting that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was not top of mind in the upcoming budget. Canada previously committed to take action against AMR at the United Nations and G20. Such action requires a multi-sectoral One Health approach that considers humans, animals, and the environment as interconnected players in the development and spread of AMR. Currently, Canada’s response has been inadequate. The CVMA feels the federal government has an opportunity to reconsider future generations by supporting the Association’s efforts in tackling this important challenge. Read more in the News & Events section of the CVMA website.

International relations

The CVMA ensures Canadian veterinarians’ voices circle the globe. Food safety, drug supply, labor mobility, education, standards, and global trade are some of the international issues that impact the profession, the scope of practice, or practice standards. The CVMA ensures Canadian veterinarians’ involvement in these matters and provides leadership in global discussions.

The CVMA collaborates with various international organizations, including:

• World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) — Canadian delegation
• World Veterinary Association
• North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium
• North American Veterinary Leaders
• Commonwealth Veterinary Association
• World Small Animal Veterinary Association
• Pet Nutrition Alliance
• Partners for Healthy Pets
• International Veterinary Officers Council

Improving Antimicrobial Stewardship in Canada

The CVMA’s new Guidelines for Veterinary Antimicrobial Use provides Canadian veterinarians with world-class advice on decision support for selecting which cases require antimicrobial treatment and recommended treatments. All licensed veterinarians in Canada have full access to the platform until December 1, 2019, after which only active CVMA members will have full access. To access these guidelines, visit the website.

The CVMA National Issues Committee (NIC) reviews and monitors veterinary issues on an ongoing basis. The committeeresearches and develops position statements on issues or matters judged to be of member concern. Scientific evidence and/or ethics form the basis of the position statements.

The CVMA’s NIC Committee carefully considers member feedback and feedback from the provincial veterinary associations, regulatory bodies and stakeholder groups as it prepares a final draft document. Once final draft statements are prepared by the committee, they are presented to CVMA Council for approval and adoption.

The purpose of CVMA position statements is to serve as guidelines and principles addressing veterinary issues; they are meant to guide the profession and educate the public on the veterinary viewpoint on select issues. Positions provide a “forwardthinking” viewpoint on issues based on what is happening both within Canada and across the globe.

Please see the CVMA for actual position statements addressing a wide variety of topics. Some topics include:

• Vaccination of Animals
• Electroejaculation of Ruminants
• Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine
• Importation of Dogs into Canada
• Extra-Label Drug Use

The CVMA provides monthly updates on how we’re shaping national policy and legislation affecting you in our eNewsletter “Online from 339” and in our web news section.