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Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

The Province of Ontario has called a second state of emergency to last for the next 28 days, with the possibility of further extension. The province has enacted a stay-at-home order to commence Jan. 14, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., which will require individuals to stay at home except for essential purposes (e.g. groceries, pharmacy, health-care appointments), or to work if they're considered an essential service worker. Veterinary practices are still considered essential workplaces and can remain open. View shutdown details.

OVMA has also compiled a list of frequently asked questions about what this means for veterinary practices.

OVMA members may have questions about the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. The Ontario Ministry of Health is providing information on the following topics: 

  1. Status of cases in Ontario
  2. COVID-19 in Ontario
  3. How Ontario is responding
  4. Help stop the spread
  5. Self assessment tool
  6. Travelling and COVID-19
  7. Public Health Ontario resources

OVMA letter to the Ministry of the Solicitor General: veterinary medicine as an essential service.

OVMA letter to the Ministry of the Solicitor General: removing the "urgent care only" limitation. 

OVMA letter to the Ministry of the Solicitor General: second economic shutdown and preventive medicine

OVMA letter to the Ministry of Health: early access to COVID-19 vaccinations


COVID-19 screening template

As part of the provincial government’s ongoing fall pandemic plan, all Ontario businesses are legally required to screen all workers, contractors, volunteers and outside service providers for COVID-19 as a condition of entry to any workplace. While client screening is not required, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers have a duty to take every precaution to mitigate risks to their employees and to the work environment. To fulfill this responsibility, OVMA strongly recommends that practices also screen clients entering the workplace, especially those clients staying longer than a few minutes and/or entering examination rooms. OVMA has created a screening template for clinics to use.

Guide to Mitigating the Risk of Infection in Veterinary Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the pandemic continues, the situation and the transition of regions in and out of public health zones will remain fluid throughout the coming months. To provide members with the most up-to-date guidance, Dr. Scott Weese has updated OVMA’s Guide to Mitigating the Risk of Infection in Veterinary Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic (previously the Guide to Reopening Veterinary Medicine in Ontario) with information on how to best to protect the health of both practice staff and clients moving forward.

Companion Animal Practice Guide to Elective and Essential Services

In allowing veterinary practices to remain open, the province has placed tremendous trust in the veterinary profession to operate in a manner that, to the extent possible, prevents the spread of COVID-19. To that end, OVMA has worked with Dr. Scott Weese to develop a guide to practicing companion animal medicine in a manner that protects both veterinary staff and clients during the current pandemic. View the Companion Animal Practice Guide to Elective and Essential Services.

COVID-19 checklist for practices

The COVID-19 outbreak is necessitating significant changes in how veterinary practices carry out their day-to-day activities. It will also require practices to plan for possible contingencies, including the potential temporary closure of the practice. To assist members in this regard, OVMA has developed a checklist that sets out actions a practice should take to safeguard employees and clients and plan for the future.

Guide to keeping your practice afloat

OVMA has developed a step-by-step guide to help keep your practice afloat financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guide to keeping your personal finances afloat

OVMA has developed a guide to help keep your personal finances afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smart.Vet telehealth service

OVMA's new member service, Smart.Vet, allows you to offer clients remote consultations by text, phone or video via a telehealth platform branded for your practice. OVMA members receive a special discounted rate. Learn more about Smart.Vet or sign up for the service.

Practice supplies

Veterinary Purchasing has advised OVMA that it has no inventory of surgical masks, and that masks may not be replenished until this summer. The inventory of surgical gloves is also low.

  • Consider re-using masks to extend the lifespan of your current supply (see Dr. Scott Weese’s Worms & Germs blog on the subject).
  • Consider whether to postpone elective procedures that require use of a mask and gloves.
  • While practices should avoid hoarding products, ensure you have a reasonable supply of other essential products in case of supply chain interruptions.

OVMA has also received reports of surgical masks being stolen from veterinary clinics. Practices should keep masks in a secure location during the COVID-19 outbreak.



Shifting Gears - Strategies to Support Well-Being During COVID-19

As the pandemic wears on, its impact on us grows more apparent, placing strain on virtually every facet of our lives. In this webinar, Dr. Colleen Best helps you avoid burnout by focusing on well-being and strategies to navigate the day-to-day challenges of COVID-19. Watch the webinar

COVID-19 Recovery Plan - Strategies for Dealing with Post-COVID Clients, Finances and Production

As social distancing policies are relaxed, veterinary hospital staff will need to change directions, and figure out how to go from seeing half the people in twice the time to twice the people in half the time. This webinar discusses strategies for getting rid of the backlog of annual vaccines and non-urgent care procedures, how to deal with financially uncertain clients and how to protect your staff from burnout. Watch the webinar or view the presentation slides.

Telemedicine During the Pandemic and Beyond

The 45-minute webinar is presented by Dr. Sharon Quinn and Michael Parent from Smart.Vet, and highlights what clinic teams are doing now using telemedicine, what a telemedicine platform can do for you, why you should charge for virtual consults (and how to do it) and how to use telemedicine. Watch the webinar. Smart.Vet offers OVMA member pricing. Learn more about telehealth services or visit Smart.Vet.

Personal Finances - How to Keep Yourself Afloat During a Pandemic

This 45-minute webinar highlights the government programs available to individuals, and explores methods and strategies that individuals can employ to minimize their expenses, keep cash flow for essentials and maintain income as much as possible. Watch the webinar or view the presentation slides.

Practicing in a Pandemic - How to Keep Your Practice Afloat

The webinar discusses how to use wage subsidies, interest-free loans and other available tools to help offset and weather the decrease in revenues that veterinary hospitals may experience in the upcoming months. It also explores best practices such as implementing telemedicine, using MyVetStore and curbside parasiticide pickup, to help veterinary hospitals maintain their revenues while adhering to the directives to practice only urgent care. Watch the webinar recording or view the presentation slides.

You Matter - Taking Care of Yourself During the Pandemic

Whether you’re working in clinic or isolated at home, the uncertainty and stress can be overwhelming. In this 45-minute webinar, Dr. Colleen Best provides practical strategies and tools for taking care of yourself and coping with the uncertainty of the pandemic. Watch the webinar recording. You can also get your curbside bingo cards.

COVID-19 Employment Law

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a host of questions concerning veterinary practices' ability to take certain actions to stay afloat during the crisis. To address these questions and other issues, OVMA hosted a webinar on COVID-19 employment law featuring a presentation by Jordan Morelli and Tamara Ramsey from Dale & Lessmann LLC, which provides legal counsel to OVMA. Watch the webinar recording or view the presentation slides. For more questions and answers regarding employment law, visit our COVID-19 Employment Issues web page.


COVID-19 updates (NewsHound)

Jan. 12: Ontario calls state of emergency and implements additional lockdown provisions

Dec. 22: Provincial shutdown FAQs 

Dec. 21: Province announces 28-day lockdown

Dec. 17: COVID-19 update

Nov. 20: COVID-19 update, referring pets to emergency hospitals

Oct. 13: COVID-19 updates: employment law FAQs, federal programs

Oct. 8: COVID-19 screening FAQs

Oct. 2: Ontario implements mandatory masking policy, updated COVID-19 screening form

Oct. 1: COVID-19 staff screening form, winter curbside measures

Sept. 24: Masking and social distancing, a staff member may have been exposed - now what?, reminder of new federal COVID-19 benefits

Aug. 27: New federal COVID-19 benefits for workers: Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

Aug. 24: Stage 3 practice guide now available

Aug. 10: Update on Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan: Windsor-Essex

Aug. 6: Canadian Employee Wage Subsidy program updates

July 29: Update on Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan: Toronto and Peel

July 20: Update on Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan

July 16: OVMA nationwide COVID-19 survey results

July 13: Province announces Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan

July 6: Update on Stage 2 of Ontario's reopening plan: Kingsville, Leamington

June 24: Update on Stage 2 of Ontario's reopening plan: Windsor-Essex, OVMA nationwide COVID-19 survey

June 22: Update on Stage 2 of Ontario's reopening plan: Toronto, Region of Peel

June 17: CERB extension, COVID-19 resources for businesses

June 15: Update on Stage 2 of Ontario's reopening plan

June 10: Updated practice reopening guide for Stage 2, virtual JumpStart! Boot Camp

June 8: Province announces Stage 2 of Ontario's reopening plan

June 4: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave for workers

May 19: Continuing social distancing and curbside care, Canadian Employee Wage subsidy extended, practice survey #4 results

May 14: Provincial government lifts urgent care provision, Canada Emergency Student Benefit, COVID-19 testing in animals, practice survey #4, digital export certificates, virtual dairy summit

May 6: Practice Reopening Guide, save on car insurance during COVID-19, Equestrian Canada releases reopening framework

April 30: Great Ideas Conference cancelled, Farley Foundation expands funding eligibility criteria, webinar: COVID-19 Recovery Plan

April 27: Framework for re-opening Ontario, Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program, apply for the Canadian Employee Wage Subsidy Program

April 24: Telemedicine webinar today, LivFit Foods meal delivery expands to include groceries

April 23: Heartworm testing guidance, province extends closure of non-essential workplaces, two cats test positive, federal funding for students, webinar announcements

April 21: Apply for the Canadian Employee Wage Subsidy Program, upcoming webinars, mental health resources

April 20: Practice survey #3 results, cotton masks, revised companion animal practice COVID-19 guidelines, webinar on personal finances

April 17: Important update to to OVMA's companion animal practice COVID-19 guidelines

April 16: New Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program and other government program updates, save money on car insurance, webinar on personal finances

April 15: COVID-19 practice survey #3, OSAP payment and interest pause

April 13: Federal government passes wage subsidy program, webinar: Practicing in a Pandemic - How to Keep Your Practice Afloat, Canadian Veterinary Reserve call-up notice, animal infection study

April 9: Updates to the Canadian Employee Wage subsidy program, resources for equine practitioners, keep your practice afloat webinar announcement

April 7: Revised companion animal practice guide, sale of pet foods and medications, antimicrobial reporting deadline extended, wellness webinar

April 6: CERB applications open, provincial support for families, federal wage subsidy update, other help for businesses, wellness webinar

April 3: Province updates list of essential services: impact on veterinary practices

April 3: Wellness webinar, CFIA extension deadlines, resources for bovine practitioners, OIP office is moving

April 2: More federal wage subsidy details, watch our wellness webinar

April 1: Federal wage subsidy details, staff exposure, Canadian Emergency Response benefit, employment insurance, wellness webinar

March 30: Federal wage subsidy, employment law Q&As, free classified ads, request for ventilators, protecting farm biosecurity, practice survey #2 results

March 26: Employment law webinar recording, guide to keeping your practice afloat, federal and provincial assistance, protocol for staff falling ill, practice survey #2, well-being webinars

March 24: Veterinary services declared essential, COVID-19 employment law webinar, donating PPE

March 23: Resources for bovine and equine practitioners

March 20: Health and safety advice, CVO guidelines on after-hours service and records transfer, parasite season, practice survey results

March 19: Flea/tick/heartworm protocols, PPE, government funding, COVID-19 practice survey

March 17: Potential mandatory closure, MyVetStore for online ordering/delivery, practice finances

Other resources:

Dr. Scott Weese: With basic measures, the risk of contracting COVID-19 from your pet is exceptionally low

Dr. Scott Weese is providing updates on the coronavirus in pets on his Worms & Germs blog.

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario is providing updates on its Coronavirus web page.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is providing updates on its website and information about COVID-19 and animals in Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has produced an infographic on how the virus is spread and what you can do to reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease.

View travel advice from the federal government during the current outbreak. 

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has issued a statement regarding COVID-19.

Employers may have questions regarding employee travel during the outbreak. View answers to some basic questions. (source: Hicks Morley)

Tips to protect yourself and your loved ones. (source: Morneau Shepell)

Coronavirus frequently asked questions. (source: Medcan)

View Public Health Ontario's self-isolation guide for caregivers, household members and close contacts.

Use the Ontario Ministry of Health's COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

LifeLearn has created a COVID-19 resource kit to help veterinarians communicate with clients about COVID-19.

Additional information will be added as it becomes available.


420 Bronte Street South,
Suite 205,
Milton, Ontario L9T 0H9
Phone: 905.875.0756 / (toll free) 1.800.670.1702  



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