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New rules would require upfront pricing for veterinary care

The Manitoba government will introduce amendments to the Veterinary Medical Act Wednesday that would ensure pet owners get a clear upfront price for veterinary care and would not face extra or unexpected charges when they pick up their pet, Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux announced.

“Pet owners love their animals and know they can’t put a price on their well-being, but they have a right to know what fees they are facing when they take their pet in for veterinary care,” Lemieux said. “Veterinarians provide life-saving animal care and we know the vast majority offer upfront pricing to their clients.  Our proposed legislation would ensure this practice is the rule for all veterinary clinics in Manitoba.”

The minister added the province has worked with the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association on the changes, which would also modernize the legislation and strengthen the MVMA’s regulatory role by:

• improving public protection by adding public representation to the MVMA council and strengthening the complaints and disciplinary process;

• increasing fines for breaches of the act;

• recognizing the role of animal health technologists and in October 2016, updating their title to veterinary technologist to be consistent with other provinces; and

• allowing veterinarians to incorporate their practice like other professions, and allow the MVMA to effectively regulate and license incorporated members.

“The MVMA is responsible for ensuring veterinarians and technologists meet high standards for care to ensure that Manitobans have access to qualified veterinary care,” said Roxane Neufeld, president of the MVMA. “We welcome changes to the legislation regulating our profession that would strengthen the MVMA’s regulatory role while also ensuring the business of veterinary care meets the standards Manitobans have come to expect from our members.”

The MVMA will work with veterinarians over the next year to create a pricing transparency bylaw that would ensure the new rules are fair for clients and practical for the nature of veterinary care, the minister added.

— Province of Manitoba

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