by samantha_ashenhurst | March 24, 2023 11:55 am
Farmers and pet owners in Ontario’s Northern, rural, and Indigenous communities will soon have improved access to veterinary care, thanks to the combined efforts of the University of Guelph (U of G) and Lakehead University.
More than 14 months after launching a joint proposal to bring a new veterinary program to Thunder Bay, Ont., the schools have sparked a “historic investment” from the Ontario Government in support of a Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program in Rural and Northern Community Practice.
Specifically, Ontario is investing $14.7 million over two years in support of the program. The funding will allow the enrolment of 20 additional veterinary students per year, which will, ideally, address the shortage of animal health services in the North and help ensure livestock producers have the necessary veterinary services needed to expand operations.
The program will see students complete their first two years of study in Thunder Bay before moving to Guelph to finish the final two years of their degree.
“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,” says U of G’s president and vice-chancellor, Charlotte Yates, PhD, MA. “The collaborative DVM program will increase the number of veterinarians trained in Ontario for the first time in a generation and help address workforce shortages.”
The provincial funding will help expand facilities in Guelph, as well as build specialized labs and clinical facilities unique to veterinary science in the Thunder Bay region.
“Working with our partners in government and the agri-food industry, we will be able to provide much-needed additional veterinary care to the vital and growing agri-food sector in Northern, rural, and Indigenous communities across Ontario,” says Moira McPherson, PhD, MSc., president and vice-chancellor of Lakehead University.
To further increase veterinary capacity in under-serviced areas of Ontario, the government has also launched the Veterinary Incentive Program, via an investment of $900,000 over three years. This will provide student loan assistance for up to 30 recently graduated veterinarians per year to relocate to under-serviced areas and practice livestock veterinary medicine to address critical skill and labour shortages.
“By incentivizing large-animal veterinarians in under-serviced areas, the government is supporting student pathways for well-paying jobs in a high-demand sector,” Dr. Yates says.
Source URL: https://www.veterinarypracticenews.ca/14-7m-program-aims-to-close-ontario-dvm-care-gaps/
Copyright ©2023 Veterinary Practice News Canada unless otherwise noted.