On April 4 the provincial government announced a nearly $10.7 million investment to double the number of subsidized seats for BC students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) from 20 to 40 for the 2022-23 academic year.
This announcement reflects requests supported by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) board of directors as an important step towards addressing the significant lack of veterinarians in B.C.
The WCVM is the only veterinary school in Canada that accepts B.C. students, and the RDBN requested that number be doubled, citing the fact that there is a significant need for vets across B.C. and especially in rural areas. The RDBN first opened up a dialogue with the province about the issue back in October 2021.
According to a report by the Society of B.C. Veterinarians, the need in the province for vets is outstripping the demand by a gap of approximately 100 vets per year.
As a result of the government’s decision, the RDBN rural and agriculture committee sent a letter of appreciation to Anne Kang, Minister for Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
“We look forward to seeing the positive impact as doubled classes complete their studies in four years time and hopefully return to B.C. to practice. We look forward to collaborating on additional solutions to address the shortages in this vital industry. Ensuring that all 40 B.C. seats at WCVM are permanently subsidized for all four years of doctor of veterinary medicine training is a crucial consideration for increasing the number of practicing veterinarians in B.C.,” the letter stated.
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