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Helping livestock vets in B.C.

Helping livestock vets in B.C.

Funding will support placements for vets and vet tech students

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

B.C. vet clinics specializing in treating farm animals are eligible to receive extra help.

Ottawa and B.C., through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, will invest $300,000 into a pilot program to support wages and travel costs associated with bringing in vet or vet tech students for summer placements.

Eligible clinics are those certified by the College of Veterinarians of B.C. and provide services for livestock and farm animals like cattle, swine, sheep, poultry and bison.

Applications can be submitted until April 15, 2024, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, or until all the money has been allocated.

The program offers up to $6,000 per placement and is expected to support up to 50 students in 2024.

“This is great news for students, for farmers and producers, and of course for the animals. Food-animal health is a vital component of B.C.’s agriculture programs and of veterinary medicine,” Dr. Fraser Davidson, president of the Society of BC Veterinarians, said in a statement. “This new funding will facilitate students to learn on the job and will help support our hardworking and very busy large-animal veterinarians throughout B.C.”

British Columbia has been working to increase the number of veterinarians in recent years.

In March 2023, for example, the provincial government announced an investment of almost $22 million over three years to permanently increase the number of B.C. students attending the Western College of Veterinary Medicine from 20 to 40.

That year, the Society of BC Veterinarians estimated the province needs about 100 new vets each year to keep up with industry changes.

Canada could face a shortage of veterinarians in the years to come.

The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS), a suite of models from Employment and Social Development Canada, estimates that between 2022 and 2031, Canada will be short about 700 veterinarians.

“Over the period 2022-2031, the number of job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) for Veterinarians are expected to total 5,000, while the number of job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) is expected to total 4,300,” the COPS report says.


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