The PEI Veterinary Medical Association (PEIVMA) is the professional regulatory organization governing the practice of veterinary medicine in the Province of Prince Edward Island under the authority of the Veterinary Profession Act. The objectives of the Association are to serve and protect the public interest takes your complaint seriously. All complaints are reviewed by the complaints committee. Review of a complaint may take several months.
Professional Standards of Care and Conduct
Veterinarians are required in every aspect of the handling of a case, to meet the standard of care, skill, knowledge and conduct expected of a competent and ethical professional. They are also required to provide clients with a simple, complete and understandable explanation of the treatment recommended and ultimately provided for the animal, as well as an estimate of the anticipated costs before proceeding and an itemized account afterwards. They must provide the client with complete copies of all medical records for a reasonable fee upon the request of the client.
If you have a concern about the care your animal received or your veterinarian’s conduct, often the best first step is to discuss the matter with your veterinarian. Many concerns relate to misunderstandings that can be resolved by clear and forthright communication.
Role of the PEIVMA
The PEIVMA protects you and your animals by:
- establishing and maintaining standards of practice
- inspecting veterinarians’ premises to ensure clients are provided with a suitable environment and essential equipment for the care of animal patients
- investigating specific complaints about veterinarians related to the practice of veterinary medicine
- assessing applications for registration
- maintaining standards of competence through continuing education
- addressing concerns and complaints about the conduct or practice of licensed veterinarians
The PEIVMA investigates allegations regarding the conduct or competence of veterinarians. If an investigation raises concerns about a veterinarian’s conduct or competency, the PEIVMA takes a remedial and collaborative approach to resolving those concerns.
Any person who is or was a client of a member of the Association is eligible to file a complaint about the services, fees, or professional activities of a veterinarian, but only if such services, fees or professional activities affected such client directly and personally.
A complaint may be resolved by consent with the veterinarian, sent to a discipline hearing of the PEIVMA Council, or dismissed.
Complaints about Veterinary Bills
The PEIVMA may investigate and impose discipline for some types of bill-related complaints but does NOT have the power to direct a veterinarian to decrease the amount of a bill, give a refund or otherwise financially compensate a client. There is no mandatory fee guide or schedule for veterinarians.
The PEIVMA WILL investigate complaints related to billing if there is evidence of the following:
- charging for services that were not rendered
- failure to provide the client with a reasonable estimate of the cost for the recommended medical services failure to obtain informed consent for the medical services rendered and actions taken
- failure to provide the client with a fully itemized bill upon the client’s request.
Outline of the Complaints Process
The PEIVMA complaints process is confidential. Upon receipt of a written complaint, the registrar will attempt to mediate the complaint between the parties. If the registrar concludes that mediation is not a possible outcome, the complaint is forwarded to a complaints committee for preliminary investigation. The complaints committee consists of 3 practicing veterinarians, one public member, and the registrar. All members of the committee are volunteers appointed by council. During this time, pertinent records and information are gathered. The veterinarian in question is provided a copy of the complaint against him or her, and is provided an opportunity to prepare a written response to the complaint. The committee may also attempt mediation of the complaint. The complaints committee may terminate an investigation at any time if it is of the opinion that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, or there is insufficient evidence of unskilled practice of the profession or unprofessional conduct. The decision of the complaints committee can be appealed by either party to the council of the PEIVMA.
Upon appeal, or after referral of the complaint to the council by the complaints committee, the council shall determine if the complaint shall proceed to a hearing of council.
A hearing of Council
Complaints that are unable to be resolved will be heard by council, which has the authority to discipline a member for unprofessional conduct or malpractice. Both parties to the complaint may attend the hearing in person with or without counsel at their expense and may call witnesses such persons as they may deem advisable for the purpose of supporting their cause. Council may also call witnesses who may assist in determining the truth of any allegation, or otherwise assist in reviewing the complaint on its merits.
Council may report the name and details of a discipline action to any relevant discipline database of which PEI Veterinary Medical Association is a member.
Recourse if the complainant or the veterinarian is dissatisfied with the decision of the Council.
The veterinarian may appeal the decision to a judge of the court by submitting a notice of appeal. If the client is not satisfied with the decision made by the Discipline Committee, they may pursue action against the veterinarian though the court system.
Making a Complaint
You are entitled to a simple and understandable explanation of the treatment recommended for your animal as well as an estimate of the associated costs. Before filing a complaint, we encourage any person with a concern to first contact their veterinarian. Communication can be the key to resolving many issues and avoiding a lengthy complaints process.
Should you decide to file a complaint, please complete and sign the PEIVMA complaints form below, and mail to The Registrar, PEIVMA,
PO Box 21097
465 University Avenue,
Charlottetown, PE, C1A 9H6
Or email to the Registrar at: email@example.com
- The PEIVMA veterinarian in question will be provided an opportunity to respond to the concerns outlined in the complaint.
- PEIVMA will provide the veterinarian with a copy of the complaint and may share some or all of the information and documentation collected during the investigative process.
- PEIVMA may communicate with any person or persons who may be able to assist with the investigation of this complaint.
- Your name will be released to the PEIVMA veterinarian in question and the PEIVMA Complaints Committee for the purpose of conducting a thorough investigation.
- You will allow for a recorded interview (audio and/or video) with a SVMA-appointed Investigator, if requested to do so.