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Sask. government supporting rural veterinarians

Sask. government supporting rural veterinarians

The government is expanding a loan forgiveness program

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The Saskatchewan government is making more veterinarians eligible for loan forgiveness.

The provincial government announced an expansion of its Saskatchewan Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists program.

“Any Saskatchewan veterinary practice that offers veterinary services to livestock stakeholders from rural or remote communities is now eligible, which includes, but is not limited to, ambulatory service delivery,” a Sept. 6 release says.

The provincial government introduced the program in 2021 to attract more veterinarians to Saskatchewan.

The program forgives portions of Saskatchewan Student Loan debt for up to five years to a maximum of $20,000.

Canada is facing a shortage of veterinarians.

A 2020 study from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association indicated the next 15 years could see a vet shortage of up to 35 per cent.

That same study found between 10 and 16 per cent of surveyed veterinarians spend time with equine, beef cattle, dairy cattle or goats. Another 4 per cent spend time with pigs and 3 per cent with poultry.

Encouraging veterinarians to practice in Saskatchewan is important, said David Marit, Saskatchewan’s minister of agriculture.

“We recognize that the veterinarian shortages in rural Saskatchewan will take ongoing collaboration to resolve,” he said in a statement. “The Government of Saskatchewan takes this issue seriously and is committed to continuing to find additional solutions.”

Livestock groups welcome the program’s expansion.

Without the proper access to care, animals and the industry could suffer.

"Our industry, like many others, is facing a shortage of vets which can negatively impact our industry, our ability to expand, our need for an established vet/client relationship for access to drugs and even animal welfare,” he said in a statement. “We truly appreciate that they took our concerns to heart and made the necessary changes to allow clinics in larger centres such as Prince Albert, who also serve rural clients, to now qualify."


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