The New Brunswick Veterinary Medical Association (“NBVMA”) is the regulatory body for the veterinary profession in the province of New Brunswick. The NBVMA’s purpose is to advance and maintain the standard of veterinary medicine in the province, governing and regulating those offering veterinary care and providing for the welfare of members of the public and the profession.
A complaint is an original written, signed report or allegation, regarding the conduct, competence or capacity of a veterinarian. Any person, including a member of the public, may make a complaint. Complaints lodged with the NBVMA are usually of a very serious nature, such as professional misconduct and incompetence.
A complaint cannot be about a veterinarian’s fees as the Complaints Committee does not have the authority to deal with complaints concerning fees.
Lodging a complaint with the NBVMA should be used as a last resort and every attempt should be made to deal with the problem prior to lodging a formal complaint. If you have a concern about the care your animal has received, it is recommended that you first discuss your concern with your veterinarian. Most often, matters can be resolved by opening the lines of communication.
If the matter is still not resolved after speaking to your veterinarian, you can contact the NBVMA and discuss your concern with the Deputy Registrar by leaving a voice message at 506-693-9994. The messages are checked daily and you will be contacted within 1-2 business days. You can also request information on procedure and possible courses of action.
The two-step process for dealing with complaints is dictated by the Act and By-laws:
1. When a formal complaint is received, the veterinarian is notified immediately and given copies of the complaint and supporting documents. A meeting of the Complaints Committee is organized (a three-member panel consisting of practising veterinarians) to decide whether the complaint relates to a serious practice issue or if it should be dismissed. If the complaint is determined to be valid, it will be referred to the Discipline Committee for further consideration.
2. The Discipline Committee schedule a hearing (a four-member panel consisting of practising veterinarians) to consider the complaint. Both the veterinarian and the complainant may attend the hearing and the committee will receive testimony on the issue. Once all the evidence is received, the hearing ends and the committee meets privately to deliberate. The committee assesses credibility of witnesses, weighs the evidence, determines facts and considers what the accepted standards of veterinary practice are in the situation. If the committee decides that the facts prove the allegations in the complaint, it then considers the appropriate orders or remedies to be made concerning the veterinarian.
If your concern cannot be resolved directly with your veterinarian, and it is a serious matter respecting professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity (not fees), please send your signed formal complaint letter in writing to:
New Brunswick Veterinary Medical Association
c/o Dr. George Whittle, Registrar
PO Box 24063
Saint John, NB