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Partnership empowers veterinary college

University of Saskatchewan USask wcvm-birds-eye-view2.jpg
Western Canada renews commitment to Western College of Veterinary Medicine with $134 million financial agreement.

Three Canadian provinces announced Sept. 9 the renewal of their financial commitment to the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).

The agreement between the governments of Manitoba, British Columbia and Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan provides more than $134 million to WCVM for the next five years, an announcement from the provinces said. The agreement helps ensure that Western Canada has a steady supply of veterinarians with in-depth knowledge of animal health and public health, as well as an awareness of the standards and issues facing livestock, fowl and fishery producers and pet owners.

“The Manitoba government is pleased to renew our commitment to training in veterinary medicine and continue our long-standing partnership that provides high-quality education and training opportunities to Manitobans and helps meet labor market demand across the province,” Manitoba economic development and training minister Ralph Eichler said. “This is an important investment in Manitoba’s agriculture sector that aligns with needs under the Manitoba Protein Advantage Strategy. We need good veterinarians in place to help us practice safe animal welfare and keep growing animal agriculture in Manitoba.”

Saskatchewan minister of advanced education Tina Beaudry-Mellor added, “Ensuring that educational opportunities meet labor market expectations is a Growth Plan priority for our government. This agreement allows Saskatchewan, and our partner provinces, to communicate admissions’ priorities so they are in step with each province’s labor market needs.”

British Columbia minister of advanced education, skills and training Melanie Mark said, “There is an increasing demand for veterinarians and veterinary research across Western Canada. This agreement helps us focus on equipping students from the western provinces with the expertise to return and practice in their home communities, where they are in demand.”

University of Saskatchewan interim provost and vice president academic Melissa Just said, “WCVM is built on collaboration, and its people and programs strengthen the University of Saskatchewan’s impact in everything from agriculture and animal health to comparative medicine and public health. We’re excited to see what it will achieve with the renewed support of its provincial partners and our university.”

WCVM is a premier center of veterinary education, research and expertise in Western Canada and a key member of Canada's veterinary, public health and food safety networks. The internationally accredited facility includes a veterinary medical center, a provincial diagnostic laboratory and large-scale research facilities.

The college’s new interprovincial agreement is in place until 2025.

Since the mid-1960s, the unique WCVM Interprovincial Agreement has been updated and renewed by WCVM, its provincial partners and the University of Saskatchewan every five years. The agreement outlines the veterinary college’s responsibilities to its provincial partners in veterinary education, clinical and diagnostic services and research. It spells out the terms about provincial enrollment quotas, residency status of applicants to the college and the cost-sharing formula for funding WCVM, the University of Saskatchewan explained.

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