Alta. veterinarians upset over legislative changes

A bill that angered Alberta veterinarians was passed last week in the legislature.

Bill 31, A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act, changed rules for ticket scalpers and automotive repair businesses, and also made changes affecting how veterinarians advertise and provide information on rates.

The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) took issue with the changes, which they say were made without consultation and could negatively affect animal care and welfare.

The changes include the option for veterinary practices to advertise their fees, a requirement that they disclose all fees before treating pets and that they acquire customer consent before undertaking treatment or procedures.

The ABVMA unsuccessfully called on Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean to withdraw the bill’s amendments to the Veterinary Profession Act.

Dr. Phil Buote, deputy registrar and complaints director for the ABVMA, said the legislation was not needed and some of the changes duplicate what veterinarians already do. They could also reduce the quality of pet care.

“We have been presented with no evidence that the ABVMA has not appropriately discharged its duties,” said Buote, adding the government did not provide information on why it thought changes were needed.

Service Alberta surveyed consumers on various topics this summer and some respondents expressed concerns about veterinary fees and the manner and timing of when they are revealed to pet owners.

The changes apply to dogs, cats and specific household pets but do not apply to veterinary care for livestock.

Contact barb.glen@producer.com

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