Philanthropic work is generally done in remote communities, at a distance from most practices, and often in conjunction with animal assistance groups.
The CVBC regulates the provision of all veterinary services in BC, including such philanthropic activities. The fact that the provision of veterinary services might be for no or minimal charge does not attenuate the CVBC’s regulatory role. The Veterinarians Act confirms that the provision of services at no charge constitutes the practice of veterinary medicine and it therefore falls under the CVBC’s regulatory duty. Accordingly, we are all obligated to take reasonable measures to ensure that the public interest in a competent standard of veterinary practice is met in any such project. However, the CVBC’s regulatory role should not be seen as a barrier, nor should it have that effect.
Any registrant of the CVBC in good standing can seek philanthropic accreditation.
If the philanthropic activity is carried out by veterinarians through a small animal ambulatory or mobile practice already accredited by the PFAC, they should be able to provide services within their already-accredited scope of practice to clients in these communities with no further involvement of the CVBC. However, if an ambulatory/mobile practice wishes to expand its scope of services (for the philanthropic practice) to include major surgery and/or include species that were not previously approved at the time of accreditation, this does require PFAC approval.
Veterinarians who are not acting through an already-accredited practice that has ambulatory practice accreditation, should not commence any services until they have obtained PFAC approval.
The Accreditation Standards do not set out any different standards or criteria for delivery of services in a remote location or for services that are provided for free or at a reduced cost.
Having said this, the PFAC uses its discretion when determining the standards that must be met in any particular practice environment, considering all of the unique aspects and features of the specific project; ultimately, the requirements may be different from what is required in other, more urban locations.
If provisional accreditation is granted for a project, it will be temporary for a specified finite number of days, and to be completed within a given time period, which is usually set at one year. If after the expiry of the maximum number of days or the allocated time period, whichever comes first, the purveyor group wishes to repeat the project they must re-apply to the PFAC.
The PFAC will not require a report on the activities of a Philanthropic clinic after it has been held and completed its work, unless this is expressly and specifically required in the letter granting authorization.
The PFAC retains the authority to require a Practice Inspection be performed for the project.
The PFAC will likely require the applicant to provide the following:
Once the above has been submitted to the PFAC, the application will be considered at the next scheduled meeting. It is imperative that animal assistance groups provide reasonable time for the CVBC regulatory process to adequately address the requests, given that PFAC meets monthly and always has a very full agenda.
The PFAC will decide whether to grant accreditation and thereby approve the project. A relatively small number of deficiencies are not necessarily fatal. The PFAC, at its discretion, may decide if these are easily corrected, or do not need to be corrected, and that provisional accreditation of the project is warranted, and permit the group to proceed with the delivery of the veterinary services pending or without requiring correction of the deficiencies, as the case may be.
The CVBC and, more particularly, the PFAC wants to see such laudable initiatives undertaken successfully. Our purpose is to protect the public interest, in seeing that standards appropriate to the circumstances are met. These projects can be done, with planning and cooperation between the purveyors and the CVBC.