Funding will support a new collaborative program for increasing the number of veterinarian graduates, and an incentive program to bring more large animal health care providers to underserved communities
Ontario’s government will invest in veterinary training expansion at 2 universities in the Canadian province, and an incentive program. This funding provides critical support for a new, collaborative veterinary medicine program at The University of Guelph and Lakehead University.
The Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program in Rural and Northern Community Practice aims to increase the number of veterinary graduates by 20% per year. The undisclosed amount of funding from the government of Ontario will help expand Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) facilities at The University of Guelph in Guelph and build specialized labs and clinical facilities unique to veterinary science at Lakehead University in the Thunder Bay region.
The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is an accredited professional program that is delivered through the OVC, which is currently ranked as the top veterinary college in Canada and fifth globally. As Ontario’s only veterinary college, OVC trains nearly one-third of all Canadian-educated veterinarians and provides clinical services for over 20,000 pets and large animals annually. According to the release, OVC brings to the partnership a wealth of faculty expertise, research excellence, and an exceptional record of training generations of veterinarians.
Lakehead University is a comprehensive and research-focused institution that provides access to higher education in northern Ontario, and aligns the university’s priorities with the region’s socio-economic needs while ensuring its students achieve their goals. With campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia, Lakehead University is working to develop the next generation of leaders and change-makers with the skills and experience required to address real-world problems, according to the release.
“By combining the unique strengths of the University of Guelph and Lakehead University, the Ontario government is supporting a new and innovative approach to training veterinarians. The collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program will increase the number of veterinarians trained in Ontario for the first time in a generation and help address workforce shortages,” said Charlotte Yates, PhD, MA, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Guelph, in an organizational release.
Additionally, Ontario’s Veterinary Incentive Program will provide loan assistance to recently graduated veterinarians to practice in underserviced areas and support large animal care. “By incentivizing large-animal veterinarians in underserviced areas, the government is supporting student pathways for well-paying jobs in a high-demand sector,” Yates added.
By expanding the number of veterinarians trained in Ontario who are practicing within northern, rural and Indigenous communities, the collaborative program will also support the economic growth of Ontario’s agri-food sector. Veterinarians help ensure livestock producers have the necessary animal health services needed to expand operations.
Moira McPherson, PhD, president and vice-chancellor of Lakehead University, echoed Yates’ message. “On behalf of Lakehead University and our partners and stakeholders in northern Ontario, I want to thank the government of Ontario for seeing the vision and investing in the Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program in Rural and Northern Community Practice,” Dr. McPherson said, in the release.
Ontario Government makes historic investment allowing University of Guelph to expand veterinary training, addressing critical workforce shortages. News release. University of Guelph. March 23, 2023. Accessed March 24, 2023. https://news.uoguelph.ca/2023/03/ontario-government-makes-historic-investment-allowing-university-of-guelph-to-expand-veterinary-training-addressing-critical-workforce-shortages/