The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) was recommended to write letters to the Minister of Advanced Education and The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries in support of a request to increase the amount of available spots for B.C. students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
The request was made by the Society of B.C. Veterinarians chapter of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. The reason for the request was due to the fact that the WCVM, located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the only veterinary school in Canada that accepts B.C. students, and there are only 20 seats available per year. According to a report by the Society of B.C. Veterinarians, the need in B.C. for vets is outstripping the demand by a gap of approximately 100 vets per year, an and an aging demographic for vets means that the shortages are anticipated to become pronounced in the future.
The request is to double the amount of seats at WCVM from 20 to 40. It currently costs the Ministry of Education $8.3 milion to hold the 20 seats, so an increase to 40 would double the cost to the government.
The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries has offered support of the idea, but the Ministry of Education has not moved forward with any action prompting the recommendation to the RDBN for help.
The RDBN approved the recommendation to support the request, and cited a lack of local veterinary services, especially for larger animals and livestock. The discussion at the meeting revolved around the fact that there were only two vets in the area, one for small animals and one for large animals, and they are covering too large of an area to be able to provide efficient services. Upon investigation, Lakes District News discovered that there are currently two vets in Burns Lake, two vets in Vanderhoof, five vets in Smithers, and a veterinary hospital with at least one vet in Houston.
In Houston, bylaws are being prepared which would permit the construction of a new veterinarian’s clinic and pet crematorium.
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