The Government of Saskatchewan announced in late September that they are taking action to help address the growing need for veterinarians across the province, particularly for large animal and mixed animal veterinarians in rural Saskatchewan.
In 2023-24, the province will increase the number of subsidized student seats from 20 to 25 at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
“This investment will see more Saskatchewan students receive a high-quality education in veterinary medicine, right here in Saskatchewan,” Advanced Education Minister Gordon Wyant said in a press release. “We’re grateful to have the WCVM right in our backyard to educate more students who will provide much needed veterinary services across the province.”
In 2022-23, the Government of Saskatchewan will provide $11.9 million to the WCVM. The new commitment to add seats will mean an investment of $539,000 in 2023-24, increasing annually to $2.2 million by 2026-27 when fully implemented over the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.
“Today’s investment in additional student seats demonstrates our government’s commitment to addressing the shortage of veterinarians across the province,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said. “This initiative along with the expansion of the Saskatchewan Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists, will ensure that ranchers have access to the veterinary experts they need to provide the highest level of care for their animals.”
The WCVM is an internationally-recognized centre for veterinary education, research and clinical expertise that’s located on the University of Saskatchewan (USask) campus.
“I’m really excited for the future of veterinary medicine in Saskatchewan. I think this is a great opportunity for our province, especially with the shortage of veterinarians,” said Jackson Goudy, second-year WCVM veterinary student from Stoughton, Saskatchewan, and president-elect of the Western Canadian Veterinary Students’ Association. “This is a great way to increase the number of vets delivering animal health care in Saskatchewan.”
“We welcome this commitment from our provincial partners that will help to address Western Canada’s urgent need for more veterinarians in both rural and urban communities,” WCVM Dean Dr. Gillian Muir said. “The province’s support allows more students from Saskatchewan to achieve their dreams of a career in veterinary medicine. It’s also a sound investment in protecting the health and wellness of all animals – from companion animals and wildlife to livestock that play a critical role in Canada’s agriculture industry and the country’s economy.”
“Further expanding USask’s capacity to train veterinarians will contribute to the sustainability of the profession and allow us to further enhance our leadership role in the veterinary sciences and in One Health,” USask Provost and Vice-President Academic Dr. Airini said. “The increase in provincial funding is so appreciated, and will allow us to deliver essential veterinary medical education, advance interdisciplinary collaboration and research, and amplify our contributions to the health and wellness of western Canadian communities.”