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B.C. eyes flexibility in registering veterinarians

Veterinarians and the British Columbia public have until Dec. 2 to comment on proposals that could create different classes of registered vets working in the province.

The provincial government is asking for input on possible changes to its 102-year-old, infrequently-amended Veterinarians Act. The proposals come in response to requests from vets and the B.C. Veterinary Medical Association (BCVMA) for changes in how the profession is governed in B.C.

Among its other proposals, the BCVMA is calling for “multiple categories” of registration of veterinarians, as well as “limits or conditions on the practice of veterinarians at the time of registration.”

Registration applications would also be subject to public hearings, the province said.

The BCVMA also calls for powers to suspend its members “when appropriate” pending the outcome of an investigation or hearing, or if they fail to produce records in an investigation.

The association also calls for amendments that would allow “searches and seizure of evidence without delay” as well as the ability to investigate and discipline “former registrants.”

As well, the province said, representatives from the BCVMA want to see “greater ability, when appropriate, to recoup the costs of investigations, inquiries and hearings from veterinarians who are disciplined.”

The association’s representatives have also called for protection of BCVMA staff from liability for “anything done in good faith under the authority of the Veterinarians Act.”

A section of the Act that allows 20 BCVMA members to force a general meeting, and a section that can force an inquiry process without a separate investigation, are proposed to be repealed, the province said.

Comments will be accepted until Dec. 2 online as well as by fax (250-356-6791) and by mail at the Strategic Land Policy and Legislation Branch of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Box 9303, Stn. Prov. Govt., Victoria, B.C., V8W 9N1.

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