Both Saskatchewan and Manitoba have announced funding for an additional 10 seats total for the veterinary program at the University of Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan will increase its annual quota from 20 to 25 seats for the 2023/24 academic year, while Manitoba will increase its commitment by five, to 20 seats for fall of 2023, with a commitment to support those seats going forward.
The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) accepts 88 veterinary students to its DVM program each year. Through the veterinary college’s Interprovincial Agreement (IPA) with Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia, each province has an annual quota of seats in the DVM program based on a cost-sharing formula.
In 2022-23, the Government of Saskatchewan will provide $11.9 million to the WCVM. The new commitment to add seats will mean an investment of $539,000 in 2023-24, increasing annually to $2.2 million by 2026-27 when fully implemented over the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.
The Manitoba government will increase its funding contribution to WCVM by $539,200 for the 2023-24 academic year to a total of $7,009,600, raising the number of Manitoba intake students to 20 from 15 and to a student quota – the number in the four years of the program – to 65 from 60. For the 2024-25 academic year, Manitoba’s contribution to the college will increase to $7,642,400 and bring the student quota to 70.
Manitoba’s increasing commitment will bring its intake to 20 seats every year until the province supports a total of 80 Manitoba students annually across the four-year program.
“We welcome this commitment from our provincial partners that will help to address Western Canada’s urgent need for more veterinarians,” says WCVM dean, Dr. Gillian Muir, DVM.
Several factors — a rapid increase in pet ownership, a rise in veterinary professionals reaching retirement age, and a limited number of graduates each year — have led to a shortage of veterinarians and registered veterinary technologists (RVTs) across Canada.
In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the shortage is especially apparent in rural communities where veterinary clinics provide essential services for livestock producers and the agriculture industry, the college says.