The Alberta government is investing in the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) to help meet the increasing demand for veterinarians across the province.

The $7.2-million grant, allocated under Budget 2018, will improve access and learning facilities for students pursuing careers in veterinary medicine. The project includes a new animal laboratory and clinical spaces, an expanded surgery suite, new student and teaching spaces, and a large lecture hall.

The grant will also be used to ensure new state-of-the-art equipment, and that collaborative programs with institutions and veterinary clinics across the province are available to students. With the increased funding, more students across the province will have greater access to the program’s community-based practicum model, which connects veterinary students with rural practices to meet labour market demand and strengthen Alberta’s agricultural sector.

“Supporting the University of Calgary’s school of veterinary medicine helps us prepare more students in our province for good jobs as veterinarians. Our government has focused our support on this Alberta-based program so that our communities, our agricultural sector and our province can prosper, now and in the future,” says Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education.

This growth is part of the University of Calgary’s commitment to expand the veterinary medicine program, adding 80 additional seats by 2023 to bring the program’s capacity to more than 200 veterinary students. It is estimated that Alberta will need 1,100 veterinarians by 2023 to meet labour market demands.

“Building strong infrastructure is critical for fostering community, creating good jobs, and investing in the future,” says Sandra Jansen, Minister of Infrastructure. “I can’t wait to see the innovation that will come from the veterinary medicine program as it grows.” 

“In a short period of time, the University of Calgary has established a school of veterinary medicine that is ranked among the top 50 in the world. This increased funding provided by the government will allow more Albertans to study and train in their home province, as well as ensure that we meet the growing needs of rural and remote communities. I know that the future of this program is bright, and that our entire province will benefit from the program’s expansion,” says Elizabeth Cannon, president and vice-chancellor, University of Calgary.

“I appreciate the Government of Alberta’s continued support of our teaching and research programs at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,” says Baljit Singh, dean, University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. “This investment helps us reach our goal of expansion and increases our capacity to graduate local veterinarians to support the province’s diverse needs.” 

Photo: UCalgary Vet Med students and the school's horse, Nevada, show Minister Schmidt the “tail pull” test for neurological disorders.

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