Ontario's Minister of Finance Fails to Recognize Veterinarians as Health Care Providers



    MILTON, ON, March 22 /CNW/ - Today's Provincial Budget has left Ontario
veterinarians feeling unappreciated and undervalued.
    In the 2005 Budget, the Province announced that it would be enabling
doctors and dentists to reduce the amount of tax they pay by allowing them to
include family members as non-voting shareholders in their professional
corporations. The legislation enabled the Ministry of Finance to extend the
tax benefit to all regulated health professionals except veterinarians.
Feeling confident that this oversight would be rectified in this year's
Provincial Budget, Ontario veterinarians were severely let down.
    "Every day, veterinarians are protecting Ontarians from animal-borne
diseases such as mad cow disease and avian influenza. These are huge concerns
for Ontarians, but the Province doesn't seem to recognize the role that
veterinarians play in protecting both animal and human health," says Dr. Reg
Reed, a mixed-animal practitioner from Mitchell, Ontario and President of the
Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).
    "The Province has budgeted for new meat inspectors, but it has obviously
failed to realize the value in assisting veterinarians to prevent animals from
becoming ill in the first place. The Province's money would be better spent
preventing the spread of animal disease than identifying it at the slaughter
house."
    In addition to ensuring that animal-borne diseases are not spread to
humans, Ontario veterinarians ensure that the meat, poultry and dairy products
Ontarians consume are safe to eat, and that the livestock and poultry sector
is protected from catastrophic disease outbreaks. Of course, veterinarians
also provide health care for family pets, so they can in-turn provide health
benefits to their owners. Through the OVMA, veterinarians also operate a
number of programs to assist animal owners in need, including the Farley
Foundation (assists low income seniors and persons with disabilities to access
emergency veterinary care for their pets) and the SafePet program (provides
temporary housing and care for pets belonging to women at risk of abuse
entering women's shelters).
    "Veterinarians work hard to protect Ontarians and have a positive
influence on their communities," adds Dr. Reed. "But we need the government's
support if we are to continue to be effective health care providers. With so
many MPPs in all areas of the province supporting the inclusion of
veterinarians in this taxation policy, we are struggling to understand why the
Minister of Finance decided to exclude us yet again."

    Founded in 1980, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association represents
more than 3,300 Ontario veterinarians in private practice, government,
academia, industry and public service. Its mandate is to advance and promote
excellence in the veterinary profession in Ontario, and contribute to the
betterment of animal health and the protection of human health.





For further information:

For further information: Angela Cerovic, OVMA Manager of Government
Relations, C. (416) 409-2128, or 1-800-670-1702, ext. 24, or
acerovic@ovma.org

Organization Profile

Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

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ONTARIO BUDGET 2007

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