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A significant number of veterinarians choose to operate their practice through a professional corporation (“VPC”) under the Ontario Business Corporations Act and the Veterinarians Act. Once incorporated, a Certificate of Authorization from the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) is required for the professional corporation to practice veterinary medicine in Ontario. We routinely advise veterinarians on matters involving the incorporation, creation and maintenance of a professional corporation, to ensure regulatory compliance with the CVO, laws and regulations. The professional’s relationship with his or her professional corporation will be as an employee. We assist in preparing an employment agreement that will provide flexibility on choosing compensation arrangements. However, the veterinarian still has personal professional responsibility to his or her clients.

Incorporating a veterinary professional corporation can bring significant advantages, including being taxed at a lower corporate tax rate compared to a personal tax rate, the payment of dividends to shareholders,[1] and tax deferral strategies. We routinely provide advice to veterinarians about the types of shares that may be issued to shareholders. Only individuals who are licensed by the CVO may hold shares of a VPC. However, the shares of a VPC may be held by a holding corporation provided all shares of the holding corporation are held by individuals holding licenses issued by the CVO. We work directly with tax advisors and accountants to ensure that the most appropriate corporate structure is established in order to achieve long term goals.

Renewal Process for Veterinary Professional Corporations

The CVO requires that the Certificate of Authorization held by each veterinary professional corporation be renewed annually. A Certificate of Authorization is valid for one year, and the process to renew the Certificate of Authorization must be completed prior to the end of the certificate’s term. The veterinarian is required to complete the annual renewal application and provide the name and licence number of the directors, officers and shareholders of the professional corporation. The application contains questions that the veterinarian must answer with respect to their corporation in order for the CVO to determine whether the corporation continues to be eligible for a Certificate of Authorization. If the renewal is not complete or if the CVO determines that the corporation is no longer eligible for a Certificate of Authorization based on the information provided in the renewal application, the CVO will revoke the Certificate of Authorization.

We routinely assist our busy veterinarian clients with this process. We maintain a tickler system and reach out to our clients so they may authorize us to assist, should they wish.

If you would like more information on our services or how we can help, please feel free to contact us.

Incorporation to Retirement

A multi-disciplinary suite of services tailored to assist veterinarians

Purchase and Sale of a Practice

A veterinary practice is one of the most valuable assets a veterinarian may own and the decision to sell or purchase a practice is significant. There are many considerations that should be made with respect to the sale or purchase of a practice and we work closely with clients and their advisors to identify the most appropriate strategies to achieve the goals of our client.

Retirement and Succession Planning

The development of an effective succession plan for your medical practice is a key part of ensuring a smooth transition into retirement.

Estate Planning for Professionals

As you progress in your career, your estate plan may become more complex. Dual Wills may be used to protect certain eligible assets from estate and administration tax.

Other Legal Needs

As you continue to progress in your career, there are many other legal needs you may likely encounter in your professional and personal life

Our Team

Learn more about Katherine Serniwka.

Katherine Serniwka

Associate - Business Law