Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Victoria, BC – April 4, 2022 – More veterinary students from British Columbia will be attending the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) on the University of Saskatchewan campus this August, following an investment from the Province of BC to double the number of subsidized seats for the first time in more than a decade. 

“Increasing access and affordability to veterinary medicine education helps us to address the shortage of veterinarians in BC and build a robust workforce,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “In follow up to our government’s commitment to address BC’s labour market needs, we’re investing in seat expansions so that more students receive the quality training needed to support farmers, ranchers, and families throughout the province.” 

The Province is investing nearly $10.7 million to double the number of provincially subsidized students from 20 to 40 for the 2022-23 academic year. 

“Veterinarians play a critical role in supporting BC farmers and food security,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “The additional seats at WCVM will support farmers’ businesses and the welfare of their animals as well as ensuring we have a resilient food supply and food economy for the years ahead.” 

Dr. Gillian Muir, dean, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, said: “The Government of BC has been one of the WCVM’s provincial partners for more than 55 years, and we are very excited to see that strong commitment grow. This increased investment enables more BC residents to achieve their dreams of becoming veterinarians. It also allows the veterinary college to better serve the diverse needs of communities throughout BC, to support the health of companion animals and livestock, and to protect food safety and animal welfare.” 

Further training opportunities for a career in animal care in BC include veterinary technologist programs at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and Douglas College. TRU also offers an online program to enable students currently employed in veterinary clinics to complete the veterinary technologist program.  

Attending Veterinary School in Western Canada 

Veterinary schools in Canada serve defined geographic regions, and only students residing in those regions can apply to attend. 

Created in 1963, Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon is the only regional veterinary college to serve BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. 

The WCVM Interprovincial Agreement is a long-standing commitment from participating provinces to WCVM to ensure Western Canada has a steady supply of vets with in-depth knowledge and high-quality training.

The agreement upholds terms with respect to: 

  • provincial enrolment quotas; 
  • residency status of applicants to the college; and, 
  • the cost-sharing formula for funding the regional college. 

In both 2020 and 2021, 12 BC students were admitted to non-provincially subsidized seats at WCVM, requiring an additional $55,000 tuition fee per student. 

The Province is providing an additional $1.2 million in funding to the college, which enables the school to waive $55,000 in tuition fees for 24 previously admitted BC students who were not in a provincially subsidized seat.   

Click here to connect with the Province of BC.

Photo: Shutterstock/Thomas Koch