CVBC Complaints Process

What Does the CVBC Do?

 The CVBC is responsible for protection of the public and their animals by ensuring they are served by a competent and ethical veterinary profession. Under the authority of the Veterinarians Act and the CVBC Bylaws, the CVBC is responsible for the following:

  • Registering veterinarians in British Columbia to practice veterinary medicine.
  • Monitoring and ensuring compliance with veterinary continuing education requirements.
  • Receiving, investigating and acting upon complaints made against licensed veterinarians.
  • Accrediting veterinary practice facilities.
  • Taking action against individuals who are not registered veterinarians to stop them from performing, offering to perform, or implying that they are entitled to perform veterinary medicine.

Complaints Investigation Process

Please click on the link for a graphic explaining the Complaints Investigation Process.

Filing a Complaint

If you have concerns about the care your animal has received or the conduct of a veterinarian, you can submit a complaint to the CVBC for review.

The purpose of the CVBC complaints process is to evaluate the performance of a veterinarian against the standards of conduct and competence that the veterinarian is required to meet.  The CVBC can only take action on complaints that engage the Veterinarians Act, the CVBC Bylaws, and the professional practice standards. 

Please be aware that there are certain things that the CVBC cannot do, including:

  • Award monetary compensation, including:
    • order a veterinarian to reimburse or pay any amount of money to a client or other veterinarian; or
    • order a veterinarian to provide or pay for treatment for your animal.
  • Provide medical advice or treatment.
  • Refer you to a new veterinarian.
  • Give legal advice or assist you in legal proceedings against a veterinarian.
  • Address business disputes between veterinarians.

How Do I File a Complaint?

Please submit the following to the CVBC:

  • your full name and complete contact information (address and phone number);
  • the animal’s full name;
  • the animal owner’s name if it is not you;
  • the name of the veterinarian you wish to complain about, if known, and the clinic where they work;
  • the name of any other veterinarians or clinics that you have seen or consulted for the issue in question;
  • a detailed account of the events leading to your complaint, including dates; and
  • any medical records you may have for the animal.

Complaints may be submitted in writing to:

complaints@cvbc.ca

Or

CVBC Complaints Department                                                                                                        Airport Executive Park (Building 7)
10991 Shellbridge Way, Suite 210
Richmond, BC V6X 3C6

If you are unable to submit your complaint in writing because of a disability or a language barrier, please contact our office.  We can assist you by providing translation and transcription services.

Please contact the CVBC Office at the phone numbers or email address below if you have questions or require assistance with submitting a complaint.

To contact the CVBC Complaints Department:

Phone:  604-929-7090

Toll Free:  1-800-463-5399

Email: complaints@cvbc.ca

The CVBC has translated the Complaints Process into the following languages:
Arabic                                 Chinese                        Farsi                      French
German                              Hindi                             Indonesian            Italian
Malay                                 Portuguese                   Punjabi                 Spanish
Tagalog                              Vietnamese
 

What to Expect in the Complaint Process:

The complaints process can vary in time to completion depending on the complexity and seriousness of the case in question.  The CVBC will provide you with regular updates as a complaint proceeds through the process, but you are welcome to contact our office for a status update.

      1. Once you have provided complete information about the complaint, it will be reviewed by            the Investigation Committee which consists of veterinarians and public members.  At this              stage, the Investigation Committee will either direct an investigation or dismiss the                        complaint without an investigation, as described in the Veterinarians Act.

      2. A complaint may be dismissed without an investigation if the Investigation Committee                  determines any one or more of the following:

               a.  the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith;                                                   b.  the CVBC does not have jurisdiction over the matter;                                                                       c.  the complaint gives rise to an abuse of process;                                                                                 d.  the complaint is filed for an improper motive or purpose;                                                                 e.  there is no reasonable prospect that the complaint will be substantiated; and/or                         f.  the complaint has been appropriately dealt with in another proceeding.

      3. All complaints that are not dismissed following initial review by the Investigation                          Committee will be investigated.

      4. When there are serious concerns identified in a complaint that may require extraordinary               action to protect the public interest during an investigation of a veterinarian and pending               a discipline hearing, the Investigation Committee may:

               a.  impose practice restrictions or                                                                                                               b.  suspend the veterinarian’ registration.

      5. A complaint will be shared with the veterinarian(s) involved so that they can respond                     to the allegations in the complaint.

      6. A CVBC inspector will be assigned to gather any information, including medical records,              responses from the veterinarian, and your comments.

      7. The CVBC inspector will prepare a report with all of the information gathered during the               investigation, which will be provided to the Investigation Committee.

      8. After reviewing the inspector’s report, the Investigation Committee may:

               a. Dismiss the complaint with or without practice advice or recommendations to the                           registrant if:

      • the veterinarian’s conduct or competency is found to be satisfactory;
      • the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith;
      • the complaint gives rise to an abuse of process; (unjustified or unreasonable use of the complaints process)
      • the complaint is filed for an improper purpose or motive;
      • the CVBC does not have jurisdiction over the matter; and/or
      • the substance of the matter has been appropriately dealt with in another matter.
               b.  Take any one of the following regulatory actions against the veterinarian where                               there are concerns with the veterinarian’s conduct or competency:
                            i.  Request the veterinarian agree to remedial action by consent. An example of                                  remedial action may include the veterinarian completing educational courses                                  on topics where their conduct or competency was an issue.
                           ii. Request the veterinarian agree to a reprimand.
                          iii. Request the veterinarian to pay costs of investigation to the College.
                          iv. Request the veterinarian agree not to repeat the conduct in question
                           v.  Direct a citation.  After a citation has been directed, the complaint will be                                          referred to the Discipline Committee for a hearing.  Citations may be directed                                  for complaints that pose a high risk to the public or complaints where                                                previous attempts at remedial actions have been unsuccessful.
 
      9.  You will be notified in writing of the Investigation Committee’s decision.